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      Nature Report: Dry Spring 2013

      Dry Spring 2013
      It may be an exceptionally dry spring in the South Texas wildlands, but that does not preclude this curve-billed thrasher from spirited morning song. Despite the arid conditions, the creatures of the chaparral are busily foraging for food and preparing to procreate. Last year was also very dry, and it was not a banner nesting season for brush country birds. However, the denizens of the chaparral are well adapted to periodic droughts and will make the most of challenging conditions. This golden fronted woodpecker is busily drilling into a yucca for sustenance, and a colorful green jay has found a seed of some sort to pry open and devour. A pyrrhuloxia stands out in the sparse brush, its jaunty crest blowing in the breeze, while a bright red cardinal stakes out its territory from a tall perch. A ground squirrel climbs atop a horse-crippler cactus, and scavenges for any available nourishment, while a green jay scolds from an adjacent limb. A hardy covey of scaled quail emerges from the brush and aggressively attempts to scratch out a few seeds from the dusty soil. Fortunately, for the quail and other wildlife there is a small pond nearby where they manage to quench their thirst. Although, the land is parched a remarkably beautiful cactus bloom brightens the desiccated brush with a glowing pink bloom. The startlingly bright Wilcoxia flower emerges from a spindly stem supported by adjacent foliage and attracts a bee to spread its pollen. Despite the drought, birds are clad in their spring plumage and an occasional bloom brightens the dreary landscape. While the plants and animals of deep South Texas are extremely well adapted to tough times, a little rainfall would certainly be welcome. With your Nature Report I'm Richard Moore