Tuesday, February 7, 2017

First Day in Texas

After a marathon drive, one flat tire and hundreds of roadside Red-tailed Hawks, I've made it down to Houston. Mark Dorriesfield, Todd Hagedorn and I are touring the southern part of the state for the next little while, and today was our first birding day. Temperatures are unseasonably (and uncomfortably) warm, but we've still been seeing lots of birds and other wildlife.

A variety of raptors reach the northern extent of their range in southern Texas, including White-tailed Hawk. These raptors share the habitat with familiar northern species like Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks.

Loggerhead Shrikes are endangered in Ontario but common down here.

I am very excited to be seeing American Alligators. Although once nearing extinction this species is now widespread and common.

We came across this "Wild Boar" skull. These animals are the descendants of escaped domestic pigs that have in many ways reverted to the ancestral wild form.

Scavengers are abundant here. Black and Turkey Vultures are everywhere, as well as good numbers of the smaller Crested Caracara. Despite their appearance, caracaras are related to the agile and aerial falcons and not to other raptors.

More to come!

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