January 19, 2014 Galveston Island, Texas

Caracara pair in tree
Caracara pair

While cruising up and down the storm barrier on the east end of the island searching for my male northern harrier, I spotted a pair of caracaras sitting on top of the dredging fill piles a hundred yards away. I stopped and set up my tripod and put the 1.7 teleconverter on my 200-400mm lens to see if I could get any kind of decent shot at that distance, and the answer was no. I must have stayed there playing with the camera’s lens focusing adjustments and taking many images at all kinds of different adjustment settings, all the while the two birds just sat there staring directly back at me, but not making any attempt to fly off. Seemed odd.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Caracara in flight
Caracara in flight
Caracara landing
Caracara

 

 

 

 

 

Well, it turns out there was a dead possum about 20 feet in front of me, just down a slight incline so that I did not notice it at first, and directly in line with me and the caracaras. They weren’t staring at me, they were eyeballing lunch, and that is why they didn’t fly off. So I hopped back in the car and backed off down the berm a hundred yards or so, and sure enough, they instantly flew across to dine on the possum. I then carefully advanced very slowly until I was able to get some decent shots of this pair. The male is slightly more colorful, though they both have the same coloring, and he is just slightly smaller. He also was the more skittish of the two, flying off if I happened to move too quickly or if he heard a sudden noise. The female never flew off and ferociously tore at the carcass for the better part of 30 minutes while I shot away.

White tailed kite with dinner
White tailed kite

On the way back to the campground, I ventured out Stewart Road to where I often can find a pair of white tailed kites and managed to get one decent shot of one perched in the treetops without any branches in the way, for a change.

Caracara
Caracara
Caracara pair in tree
Caracara pair
Caracara landing
Caracara landing

 

 

 

January 10, 2014 Goose Island, Texas

White pelicans on Kelley Slough, N. Dakota
White pelicans

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Yesterday, drizzle and fog all day and night, today, more of the same….and then, at precisely 4 PM, a cause for celebration, the sun actually poked through, so off I went! Nothing in the pastures, not a single whooping crane to be found, so, not wanting to waste precious sunlight, I headed to Rockport to check the shore line and docks for whatever might be there.

White pelican yoga
White pelican yoga

 

White pelican takeoff sequence
White pelican takeoff
Brown pelican
Brown pelican

 

 

 

 

 

In Fulton Harbor, I spotted a small group of white pelicans standing and preening on the remains of an old cement bulkhead, just a few feet from shore. The setting sun was hitting them at just about the perfect angle, so I set up and decided to stay with them, hoping they would eventually take off and I might just get a decent flight shot.

White pelican in flight
White pelican in flight

I think I did!

White pelican takeoff sequence
White pelican takeoff sequence

This one is 4 images stitched together in Photoshop to capture flight takeoff.

 

Caracara
Caracara

On the way back to camp, I did one loop around the pastures and happened to spot a caracara atop a light pole at one of the docks on the bay and stopped to get a few shots.

Caracara
Caracara
Caracara
Caracara
White pelican in flight
White pelican in flight

 

 

 

 

 

White pelican in flight
White pelican in flight
White pelican in flight
White pelican in flight

 

 

 

 

December 7, 2013 Falcon Lake, Texas

Caracara pair in tree
Caracara pair

Misting, cold, dreary, so I made the 30 mile trip back up Route 83 to Zapata to get some groceries and another bird feeder to put out back at the campsite. During a quick run around of the campground, I noticed that the area by one of the restroom buildings where there was a feeding station for birds last time I was here, was not not being maintained. Don’t know if that is a budget cut kind of thing or if maybe there just aren’t any birds around this time of year. So I figure I will put a couple feeders out, some fruit and little jam for the orioles, and see what is out and about.

( Click on any image for a larger, sharper version )

I saw several caracaras on my trip to Zapata and on the road into the park on my return, there was a fresh carcass in the middle of the road that had attracted a Harris hawk, vultures, and a pair of caracaras.

Harris hawk on roadkill
Harris hawk on roadkill
Caracara on fencepost
Caracara

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Naturally, I had to stop and take a few shots.

Caracara flying off
Skittish Caracara

The caracaras seem very skittish compared to the other scavengers and they seem hesitant to stick around long enough to get any decent shots, although I do kind of like the pair in the tree.

 

 

 

Hopefully, one of these days, we will get some decent weather and blue skies again and I will be able to locate some of the colorful birds around here.

 

 

Harris hawk
Harris hawk
Caracara
Caracara