Bird Brain Chronicles

Trailing Along



Every week, I do a video introduction to a Bible study I write on my Daily Enduring Truth Blog. This week, I decided to go to the South Texas Botanical Gardens so that I could do the video, and then walk the trails. I’ve generally seen a lot of birds along the trails here. I did the video in the Hummingbird Garden. Most of the flowers weren’t blooming yet and it’s been a little cold for hummingbirds, so we didn’t have the color background I hoped for, nor did we see any hummingbirds. My wife, Lucy, accompanied me and did the video work today. Imagine our surprise near the end of our visit we say the picture of the parrot named Lucy. So, my Lucy posed with their Lucy.


After that, I got a couple of nice scenery shots. I love the view of the creek and the view of the lake. I usually see lots of birds on the lake, but I only saw one today, a cormorant and I couldn’t get any good pictures of it.

Creek view
Creek View
lake view
lake view








Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

As I was leaving the lake, a Great Blue Heron flew past. Today, the birds seemed to be either out of range or they showed up when I wasn’t ready with my camera.





green winged teal
green winged teal


A little bit farther along the trail there’s a bigger lake also. I didn’t get any pictures of the lake, but a few pics of the birds on the lake. As best as I can tell, this is a green winged teal. It’s darker than the ones I saw at the Suter Wildlife Refuge, but the head and the little white chevron in the front were helpful in identifying it. Again, please feel free to corrct me if I’m wrong.




loggerhead shrike
loggerhead shrike

In a tree on the other side of the larger lake, I saw this Loggerhead shrike. Those birds fascinate me, and I love the mask around their face. This was one of the ones that was too far away to get a really good pic.







lesser yellow legs
lesser yellow legs

On the other side of the bridge (used to walk over the marshy, muddy edge of the big lake) I saw this Lesser Yellow Legs. I’ve seen a couple since I started shooting again even though I don’t recall seeing them before this time.






In Texas, you gotta see a mockingbird or two  whenever you go out birding…just because. This was one of the few birds I found as I followed a trail close by  Oso Creek.


Finally, if you remember, this is a botanical garden. While it was too early for most flowers, we saw a few beautiful flowers. We had planned to go today to take pictures. Just before we left, we got a letter reminding us that we needed to renew our membership. We did so gladly because this is one of the most beautiful spots in the area with both cultivated and natural beauty.




Bird Brain Chronicles, Daily Work

This One’s For the Birds! January 1-3 Pictures

One of my passions/hobbies is bird photography. As I looked at my work last year, I didn’t take much time for that. There’s nothing more relaxing to me than walking with a camera and finding a good bird to photograph. (Unless it disappears before I get the camera up…but we won’t go there.)

Since I live in Corpus Christi, which is the birdiest city in North America, or so I’ve heard. I though I would spend a little time each day taking bird pics and then telling you a little bit about them and the places I go to take them. After a while you may get some repeat info, but that’s ok. You can skip those parts. I’m hoping others will see these pics and want to follow my journey as well.

Since I didn’t start this on January 1, I’ll give a recap of those days.

January 1 was cold (for Corpus Christi) and overcast. This is the kind of day that the birds normally stay inside, huddled underneath a blanket, reading a good book while sipping a cup of hot cocoa. As I tried to think of where to go, I remembered that one place that there are always birds is the People’s Street T-Head. Shrimpers come into the docks there and sell off the boat. The birds are always around to help eat the culls from the shrimpers. So, I headed downtown. While we didn’t have an overwhelming number of birds, there was a good variety.

One bird you’ll generally see there is a brown pelican. Those guys are amazing flyers. I think they were the inspiration for the pterodactyls in Jurassic Park. I’m showing two pics here because I started chuckling, thinking we had the pelican version of Laurel and Hardy.









Another common bird on the bayfront is the seagull. Here’s a note, if it really needs to be said, is don’t feed the seagulls. I had a great laugh at the seagull in the picture below. We have a local restaurant chain called Boat ‘n Net. This seagull was on the back of a boat, tugging at a fish that was stuck in a net…so I accused him of eating at Boat ‘n Net.






Grackles are common birds in South Texas, and they tend to hang out around the bayfront as well. One thing you’ll never forget about a grackle is his eye. The eyes are beautiful!







Another bird I’ve come to love is the cormorant. I think this one is double crested. I’m still learning. These beautiful birds look like the Loch Ness Monster when they’re swimming on the water. Then they dive for food and come up 30-40 yards away. Here’s Nessie.






January 1 wasn’t a bad day, but it wasn’t a great day. January 2, though, was cold and rainy. I stopped short of my original plan and went to Lakeview Park. There’s always something around there. On the second, there wasn’t much, but we still saw domesticated ducks, which I didn’t really take pics of, Northern Shovelers and American Coots. My children think the Coot should be my spirit animal. I’m not gonna overload you with pics, since they were both swimming together.






January 3 started off cold and damp like the first two days of the year. After I got back from my picture taking expedition, the sun came out and would have been much better for shots of birds flying. (Faster shutter speed.) But, I finally got some good pics of Sandhill cranes! The first time I saw them, I stumbled on them by accident and they flew away before I could get the shots. The second time, they were too far away to get any good shots. Today they were within 100 yards of the path I was taking in the Oso Bay Wetlands Preserve. I was told that they’d plowed the field the other day and the sandhills descended on it. There were probably about a hundred cranes there. (Hard to count because of the intervening trees. They are beautiful, majestic birds and I loved looking at them and shooting them…on camera that is. This pic has an adult and a juvenile. (I coulda used about 20 others.)







I saw a few turkey vultures and a caracara flying around, but didn’t get any shots of them. I did see what looked like Roseate Spoonbills teaching a Snowy Egret (I hope that’s the right ID) how to eat. Two Roseates and the Egret were palling around and sticking closer than brothers! Here’s one of those pics.







Later, a godwit (again, I hope it’s the right ID) came by and sat down next to them.






I saw a group of black birds and almost turned away when a couple of ladies who were bird watching also noted that they were Groove Billed Anis and not grackles like I supposed. I don’t know that I ever saw them in the wild and I know I didn’t have any pics of them, so I was happy to get a few pics. Here’s one where you can see the grooves in the bill that give it its name.






Even in a group of slow days I saw almost 20 different bird types. Corpus Christi is an amazing place to go bird watching. Stay tuned for more!