RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas – Sometimes, you are just in the right place at the right time. Richard Moore shares a chilly morning encounter in the South Texas ranch land with a group of wild turkeys.
The sun is just beginning to peek over the fog shrouded brush country north of Raymondville. Ancient mesquites loom up out of the mist, and the dawn chorus of clucking turkeys greets the day.
As the sun burns off the cloaking vapor, a flock of wild Rio Grande turkeys appear in a secluded sendero bathed in brilliant morning light. The turkeys pause in the sunshine, soaking up the warmth.
A late season cold front has dropped the dawn temperature to a crisp 47, and the steam rises from the heat of the turkey’s bodies into the cool air. The stillness of the morning is broken only by bird song and the occasional cluck of a turkey hen that blows smoke when she calls.
The turkeys are in no hurry this morning and linger in the clearing. They seem to almost be smoldering as the steam drifts from their bodies while savoring the sun’s rays. The gobblers are content to leisurely fan their tails, and are not even bothering to gobble, but rather let the hens do the talking.
There is something almost magical in the way the gobbler’s tails are backlit by the early morning sun, highlighting the rich golden browns in their magnificent feathering.
As they slowly pace and pirouette in the sunlit glade, the razor sharp spurs on the gobbler’s lower legs glisten in the damp grass.
Sometimes, you are just in the right place at the right time, and it all comes together…a crisp cool dawn, morning’s magical back lighting, striking stillness, and being accepted in the intimate presence of wild creatures.