Thursday, 28 March 2013

Texas - Day 6

We started today heading over to Quinta Mazatlan, having heard so many good reports about the place, saying how it was full of butterflies and feeders which attracted Hummingbirds, Green Jays and Parrots etc. We were a little disappointed to find so few birds and none of the feeders filled. We had some seed with us and after putting a small amount down we had attracted in one location 8 Chachalacas in around 10 seconds and other species followed. For our photography we found that being able to place the seed where we wanted, in the lightest areas, we were able to control where the birds came down and so allowing us to capture the best images.

Green Jay - Cyanocorax yncas

After out visit to Quinta Mazatlan we headed to the other side of Alamo to Estero Llano Grande State Park, here we were welcomed by the sound of birds calling, a promising sign. At the visitors center there was a decking area looking out over the lake where we saw a number of different bird species including Shovelers, Ruddy Ducks, Least Grebes and Black-necked Stilt.

Shoveler - Anas clypeata

We then headed over to the alligator lake in the hope of seeing the Common Pauraque. On our way to the lake we stopped off at the Grebe Marsh, where there were swifts perched on some branches in the middle of the lake which made for a good photograph. While we were snapping away a couple walked past and they explained to us where to see the Common Pauraque.

Chimney Swifts - Chaetura pelagica

After the short chat with the couple we headed over to the alligator lake to the location of the Pauraque, We arrived at what we thought was the location but after 5 minutes of looking we couldn't see it. Just as we were going to give up a friendly park warden came along so we asked him for his help and within second he had found us a Pauraque sitting hidden on the floor. It was so well camouflaged that even when he had been pointed out we often looked away looked back and had lost him again.

Common Pauraque - Nyctidromus albicollis

Moving on from the Paraque we headed to the top of the lake in search for the kingfishers which we had been told were to be found around that area. We looked for a few minutes before seeing a splash in the water and spotted a Ringed Kingfisher.

Ringed Kingfisher - Megaceryle torquata

Just as we were leaving I spotted a large black thing in the water through the trees, I looked through my camera and realised it was a Alligator with what we later found out was a Coypu/Nutria.


Alligator + Headless Coypu/Nutria

We moved around to get a better view and watched as the alligator held the Coypu/Nutria under water before taking a bite. Then suddenly he lifted it out of the water and threw it off to the left allowing me to capture the sheer power of the creature.

1 comment:

  1. Oliver, it was very nice meeting you at Estero Llano. Thanks for posting those alligator pics, they look much better here than on the little camera screen. I had to look up what a Coypu was as I had never heard the term. Turns out a Coypu is what we call a Nutria (invasive rodent from S America) in Texas and if that's a nutria, it's a darn big one. Great capture. You can see my Texas photos at: