RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — It is so hot in South Texas, that even the roadrunners are panting.
With temperatures soaring above the 100-degree mark and relentless drought prevailing, any available water source serves as a magnet for wildlife.
From baking birds of the brush country to thirsty Texas tortoises, all creatures of the chaparral are irresistibly drawn to shrinking water sources, including armadillos.
With late afternoon, a croaking chorus of leopard frogs greets the thirsty throng. Crouched in the shallow water, this bug-eyed amphibian monitors the parched parade of wildlife.
A Grooved-billed Ani dips from the tepid water, and where there is one Ani there are usually more.
Soon, a Green jay appears for a silent sip and then quietly departs, but when a pair of Scaled quail arrives, the male throws back his head and noisily announces their presence.
A bright Orange Hooded Oriole nervously attempts to slake its thirst, and it is always a good idea to be alert at the water, as you never know when a bobcat might arrive ready to pounce on unwary prey.
Both predator and prey frequent the life-giving liquid, and this sharp-eyed Cooper’s hawk takes a quick gulp before wetting its plumage and shaking its tail feathers.
A Harris’s hawk and the powerful raptor linger with their talons immersed in the shady pool.
With the hawk’s departure, a lone Cottontail rabbit appears, stretching out for a long satisfying drink. As the cottontail’s tongue busily laps up water, the bunny’s big brown eyes keep watching for any danger.
While it is not unusual to see an occasional javelina, it is quite remarkable to witness a herd of 12 quenching their thirst.
As shadows lengthen, a pair of does lower their muzzles, drinking long and deep.
Finally, in golden twilight, the roadrunner slips in one last time for a final sip before nightfall.