South Texas Quickens with Wildlife
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South Texas Quickens with Wildlife
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While many of the world's other destinations lose species,
the Brush Country's heart beats a steady rhythm. Nature
here still thrives along the full spectrum of the food chain
and today more wildlife roams per acre in the Brush Country
than anywhere else in the United States. In fact, South
Texas' rich biodiversity has made it one of North
America's liveliest places for nature-lovers and wildlife
photographers to visit.
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Distribution Date and Time: 2011-09-14 10:00:00
Written By: Jeff Parker
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South Texas Quickens with Wildlife
Copyright (c) 2011 Jeff Parker
Jeff Parker Images
Glance out your window as you head down into the South Texas
Brush County and you'll swear, just as Cabeza de Vaca did in the
1500's, that you've arrived in a barren no-man's-land. The
desolate and thorny landscape seems bereft of life.
But, in this case, looks truly deceive.
While many of the world's other destinations lose species, the
Brush Country's heart beats a steady rhythm. Nature here still
thrives along the full spectrum of the food chain and today more
wildlife roams per acre in the Brush Country than anywhere else
in the United States. In fact, South Texas' rich biodiversity
has made it one of North America's liveliest places for
nature-lovers to visit.
Yes, venture into the mesquite trees and fragrant huisache bushes
and rather than desolation, you'll find a world rich with
And no longer are birders the only ones flocking here. Wildlife
photographers from throughout the world now consider South Texas
a top pick for its ease in capturing critter images - winged to
tusked to musked to scaled.
In a region 95% privately-owned, selected landowners have created
sanctuary that includes water holes and feeding stations.
They've also created specially crafted photo-blinds so that
photographers can capture images of animals as they take
Here, the rainbow flash of a male painted bunting will quicken
your pulse with delight. You'll find them in many parts of the
state each winter, but spotting these cover-loving birds is
easier in South Texas than just about anywhere else because of
the nature of the terrain.
You'll find your pulse also quicken when you glimpse a giant
Texas indigo snake (also known as a "black indigo"). But, never
fear! These non-venomous reptiles are quite gentle. In fact,
their ease in handling is probably one reason they've been
classified as "threatened" ��� they're too nice for their own
good and have been brought home as pets too often. There isn't
an aggressive bone in their long bodies (the longest on record at
9 �� feet, or 2.74 meters!) unless you're a rattlesnake - one of
their favorite meals!
Here, the distant cry of coyotes and Harris's hawks will set
your spirits soaring.
You'll almost certainly hear the call of coyotes after dark as
they signal members of the family group (ranging in size from two
to five) that time's come to reunite after a stint of individual
hunting. Other howls let coyotes in the area know where the
boundaries lie between one group's territory and another's.
Coyotes eat primarily rodents and rabbits and are too small to
take down a deer unless it's sick, injured or very young (they
rarely hunt in packs like wolves). These canines come out during
the daytime, too, and photo ops abound at the right ranches.
Harris's hawks' cries billow throughout the day as these
gorgeous birds of prey arc overhead in the stark blue Texas sky.
As one of the Brush Country's most plentiful raptors, these
white and rufous colored birds eat rodents and even snakes.
Scientists recently discovered how these hawks act a bit like
pack animals in that they sometimes hunt in groups of two to four
and even divide nesting duties, combining eggs so that adults
share babysitting duties while others hunt.
And, of course, come to see a special South Texas legend - the
javelina (pronounced "have-ah-leena") - whose sharp tusks
deceptively give this rather gentle creature a vicious look.
These nearly-blind collared peccaries rely heavily on their sense
of smell and one another as they travel in herds. Primarily
herbivores, the prickly pear cacti and beans from the mesquite
that decorate the landscape make up most of their diet.
Here, with so much bounty in the brush, there's still the chance
to witness the coming together of the badger and the bobcat, of
the rattler and the roadrunner. Here, where it quickens with
wildlife, the possibility of watching authentic animal
interaction runs high.
On land that's been professionally planned for wildlife viewing
and nature photography, you'll be amazed as a diverse array of
wildlife passes closely by your lens, giving you an outdoor
experience like you've never had before. Be sure to add a visit
to the South Texas Brush Country to your "must-do" list.
Award-winning wildlife photographer, Jeff Parker, leads photo
tours, workshops, and critter crawls in South Texas on a regular
basis. Interested in photographing wildlife on a private Brush
Country ranch guided by someone with intimate knowledge of the
local wildlife and expert-level technical know-how? Visit Jeff's
website to learn more: http://www.JeffParkerImages.com/.
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