on the Lower Rio Grande, November

I crossed the river levee near Brownsville and drove through the Border Wall gate Tuesday morning without seeing a Border Patrol vehicle (trust me, they were watching from somewhere). The crisp autumn air was invigorating as I walked to the photo blind with a load of heavy gear… without sweating. As the sun climbed, I could hear migrating sandhill cranes high above, winging their way southward to Mexico for the winter. It was a perfect morning for wildlife photography.

After getting up at 5:00 AM, I photographed from daylight until 11:00 AM before heading home to edit images at the computer. Here are a few of the captures from the outing:

Great Egret and White Ibis next to black willow on Sabal Palm Sanctuary.
Great Kiskadees with a dragonfly breakfast.
Green Kingfisher searching for an unsuspecting minnow.
Green Kingfisher avoiding detection by a passing peregrine falcon.
With the falcon circling, the green kingfisher adopts a more agressive posture and the falcon leaves.
Cautious Least Grebes collecting some of the morning’s warmth under their feathers.
A drake Mottled Duck spent a half hour in front of my blind, drinking and preening.
My favorite shot of the day, a Ringed Kingfisher diving for small fish.

I’m hoping to get a few nice butterfly shots before Thanksgiving, so the next trip will be out to the National Butterfly Center south of Mission, Texas. Recently, butterfly watchers have identified a half dozen rare butterfly species along with hundreds of more common lepidopterans. It’s worth the trip if you can get there while the days are warm.