RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas – From the brush country to the bay, 2019 was a remarkable year in the South Texas outdoors.
A river of migratory birds flowed through burnished gold dawn of the New Year, settling onto tranquil waters of the big lake at Laguna Atascosa.
While along the coast, visiting white pelicans celebrated early 2019 savoring a little Tex/Mex surfing at the mouth of the Rio Grande.
Early spring rains provided magic elixir, and a profusion of wildflowers erupted from richly hued wine cups, bright lazy daisies and lovely meadow pinks.
It was an exceptional year for pitaya cactus, and neon purple blooms glowed throughout the brush country.
Springtime also revealed some impressive diamondback rattlesnakes like this one coiled up next to a recently shed antler. While this imposing specimen did not hesitate to slide right over the stickery pitaya patch as six feet of deadly serpent slithered silently away into the chaparral.
Out on the vast coastal prairie, a rare aplomado falcon selected sharp-tipped yuccas for its protective abode.
However, you didn’t have to venture far afield to enjoy South Texas wildlife, as that backyard feeder was a favorite spot for red-crowned parrots.
A highlight was witnessing the fascinating gathering of alligator gar at a remote spawning site, and there were some muy grande catan lurking in the secluded backwaters.
A fine summer fawn crop was in evidence, as these triplets rested in lush grass, and by fall bucks were aggressively scraping off velvet from newly hardened antlers.
With the year on the cusp of coming full circle a handsome buck prowled the foggy dawn, and I can hardly wait to see what the new year will bring in the South Texas wildlands.