It's that time of year again. That's right, it was prime Bluebonnet season again a few weeks ago here in Texas and if you drove out into the country in the past few weeks you probably saw different types of wildflowers out in farmers' fields or even just on the side of the road. Before they go out of season I went up to the Brenham area, about an hour NW of Houston, to try to get some shots.
Of course I wasn't the only one with the same idea that weekend, and on the north side of 290 right when you get to Chappel Hill there's a ranch that had some decent fields of Bluebonnets. Cars were parked on the side of the road and people we getting out to take photos of the fields, individual flowers, or the classic shot of themselves sitting in the flower beds. The ranch gate was closed, but that didn't stop pretty much everyone who stopped off from climbing his mostly decorative fence onto his property. I stopped on the side of the road and got a few shots from outside the fence, but I always try to find fields with no one around so I left to see what else I could dig up.
My ideal flower fields are just that, an entire field of flowers filling the whole frame with no people in them. A few years ago I found my ideal spots, and I check those fields every time I want Bluebonnet shots, but every time I go back to those locations they don't have any flowers so I guess I was lucky on that one trip.
After I left the ranch on the side of 290 I went into Chappel Hill proper and there was some sort of festival going on hat weekend so I couldn't check one of my usual fields that's just north of the town. Since that location was a no-go I went northeast onto some of the country roads and found a Bald Eagle, Vultures, a ton of hawks that I couldn't positively ID, a Crested Caracara, and a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. I camped out on the side of the road aimed at a field where a wild hog carcass was and got some ok shots, but the Eagle and Caracara were too skittish and every time I brought my camera back up they got spooked and flew away. Since I was burning daylight I went back to the main objective of the day and started driving around for more wildflower fields.
I drove up to Brenham and after exploring the town a bit I found some fields on the south side of 290 in some industrial parks. These fields weren't exactly what I was looking for, being relatively small and patchy, but I had to make due with what I could find and ended up with some decent shots.
March is usually the beginning of the mating season for a lot of North American wading birds and one of the best locations in the area to photograph nesting sites is Smith Oaks Rookery, just north of Bolivar Peninsula. Smith Oaks is known mostly for the population of Roseate Spoonbills and various types of egrets that nest on the islands in the lake. This year was another late year for nesting and most birds were still constructing their nests and only a few of the spoonbills and cormorants had chicks already. There is one island right now which servers as the main nesting sight, but the Houston Audobon Society is working to create more islands in the lake. They have already dredged out the area between the shore and the island and began bringing in soil to build up new ones. Apparently raccoons and opossums were swimming across the water to eat the eggs and harassing the birds. The wider and deeper water is supposed to deter them from swimming across and so far according to the Audobon Society it seems to be working (I blame the alligators).
I'm going to end this post with a gallery of some miscellaneous animals. I'm going to list out the species below: