South Texas is a dream birding destination, not only for its amazing resident birds, but also during fall migration when so many brilliant species pass through the area on their way to southern wintering grounds. The Rio Grande Valley, in particular, is a birding hotspot, and home to one of the most popular and extensive birding festivals in the United States, the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival.
Unfortunately, in this uncertain time of coronavirus, the 2020 birding festival has been canceled. As fall migration begins and the birds are on the way regardless of virus transmission rates, infection numbers, or social distancing precautions, however, there are ways to enjoy each feathered guest. Be Your Own Birder is happy to bring the birds and other wildlife of the Rio Grande Valley right to your home with this month’s giveaway!
The Book to Win
The Lens and The Land: Photographing South Texas Wildlife is a delightful compilation of winning photos from the third contest organized by the Valley Land Fund covering four counties in south Texas. While the book captures the beauty of the region’s wildlife and in particular its amazing birds, it is far more than just a book of photos.
The preface discusses the art of nature photography and includes perspectives from both landowners and photographers involved with the contest. The contest creates a unique synergy between nature photographers and local landowners designed to “promote awareness and conservation of wildlife and habitat on private land by providing economic incentives to landowners.” To that end, the prize money is divided equally between the photographers who created the outstanding images and the landowners whose wildlife-friendly property provided the exceptional settings.
The book is organized in several divisions for contest entries, and the “Birds” section is by far the most popular, with 44 pages of outstanding images. Among the birds pictured are many south Texas target birds, including green jays, altamira orioles, buff-bellied hummingbirds, green kingfishers, least grebes, scaled quail, and so many other types of birds, from wading birds and shorebirds to raptors and doves.
In addition to birds, the photography contest divisions include mammals, insects, reptiles, amphibians, and different scenic options. The Special Categories division features even more challenging and specialized entries, including action and macro shots, sunrises, sunsets, patterns in nature and more. Within this subcategory as well as the Scenics collection, readers will find more than 30 additional photos of birds.
Each of the winning photos not only presents an outstanding visual perspective of south Texas wildlife, but detailed captions include facts and information about the species pictured. Also included in the captions are proper credits to both the photographer and the landowner, as well as the technical information about how the photo was taken, giving an insight into the wide range of skills and expertise necessary for outstanding nature photography.
A total of 140 photographers representing 19 states and Mexico participated in the 1998 contest that created this volume of The Lens and The Land, capturing wildlife across 250,000 acres of privately owned land in south Texas. This specific volume can be difficult to find, making it an even more unique and beautiful prize!
Enter the Giveaway!
To win a copy of The Lens and The Land, you don’t need to visit Texas or take amazing bird and wildlife photos – you only need to answer this question in the comments…
What is the state bird of the
Lone Star State, and have you ever seen it?
You must include a valid email address to be contacted if you win, and the contest is only open to participants in the United States. One winner will be randomly chosen from all valid entries. The book will ship from Be Your Own Birder; by entering, all participants agree to the Giveaway Guidelines. Entries will close on August 27, 2020, and the winner will be randomly selected at that time. Good luck, and happy birding!
The entry period has ended and comments are now closed.
Stay tuned for the winner announcement!
State bird of TX is the Mockingbird. I have never been to TX or seen a Mockingbird, but would love to.
Texas state bird is the Mockingbird. I have see mockingbirds .
Thanks, for the contest, fun! Northern Mockingbird, and I have seen many, but never in Texas. It is also Florida’s state bird where I live, and they are plentiful! Someday I hope to see some of these Texas birds!
The Lone Star State bird is the Northern mockingbird. I was fortunate enough to host several mockingbirds in my yard in Tilmon, Tx. I had one that got fairly friendly with me after I started keeping the feeders filled with Bluebird banquet (a crumbly peanut butter suet. I put it out for the bluebirds but every bird in my yard tried it and most loved it. I called the friendly one Mister and always spoke to him when I walked past his perch in a tree or on the pyracantha bush.
Northern Mockingbird – don’t believe I have ever seen one.
The Northern Mockingbird. I used to see them when I lived in NYC, and thought I heard one singing in the wee hours for a few weeks.
Northern Mockingbird. I did not have to google that one. I have not seen one in person, but I have painted them several times.