After the torrential rains and destructive winds we received with a direct hit from Hurricane Ike last fall, the upper gulf coast of Texas has been experiencing a drought for the past few months. The farmers and landowners along the Katy Prairie normally flood many of their fields during the winter months, providing a nice haven for migrating waterfowl and waders that come our way. But the lack of water this year has made it hard to find many of these seasonal visitors.
Luckily, there are plenty of other beautiful things to watch in the area, even when many of them are hunkered down against a beating wind.
American Kestrel, female (Falco sparverius)
This female Kestrel was quite content to sit on her wire perch overhead. As I drove toward her, she turned to peer at me once or twice, but didn't seem to be bothered by my slow progression.
A quarter mile farther down the road, however, I spotted this slightly smaller, rufous-backed male that was not nearly so settled. He launched repeatedly from the metal cable, hovering over the fields for brief periods before battling his way against the wind to perch again in a new spot.
American Kestrel, male
For more great bird photos from around the world, check out Bird Photography Weekly #23.