RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas – Ranch country ponds are a magnet for wildlife this time of year. Richard Moore shows us there is a constant parade of colorful birds at the wildlands’ oasis.
With South Texas summer temperatures soaring to the century mark, the birds of the brush country are flocking to ranch country ponds to wet their feathers.
From fiery red cardinals to shimmering green jays, the lure of a refreshing dip is irresistible this time of year.
This diminutive black crested titmouse initially arrives for just a quick sip, but soon returns for a cooling bath, and with feathers fluffed immerses itself for an invigorating splash.
This threesome of lark sparrows arrives together as there is safety in numbers, and while one tentatively bathes the other two look for danger.
Pyrrhuloxias are avid bathers and don’t hesitate to take the plunge, but they too are constantly on the lookout for danger.
A long-billed thrasher enjoys a cooling soak while peering about with its bright orange eyes and then suddenly bursts into flight.
There is of course good reason to be wary, as a large indigo silently slithers into the water in search of prey. The resident curve-billed thrasher is not too pleased with the snake’s arrival and after scolding the intruder escorts it away with a brave final lunge at the serpents rapidly disappearing tail.
Throughout the day the bathing birds come and go, and this mourning dove is relaxed enough to leisurely soak now that that pesky indigo has been evicted from the pool.
No avian visitor seems to enjoy bathing more than the red-winged black bird, and with glistening black feathers and gleaming red wing crest splashes enthusiastically.
But, no feathered creature adds a more vivid splash of color to the arid South Texas wildlands than the painted bunting.