This weekend my family and I traveled to Texas for a wedding. Time was fairly tight, so there wasn't any opportunity for strictly critter-related capering, but Mother Nature decided to deliver a treat.
My mom and I spent a morning shopping and, on our way back to the hotel, we saw a peculiar bird pounce on something in a field by the feeder road we were on. Those who know my mom will know that she has a natural reflex which attracts her to critters of all sorts, so our van was quickly diverted on to a questionable dirt "road" that lead to a place near where we had seen the bird go down.
This is the sight we were greeted with:This is a Caracara, more specifically a Crested Caracara (Polyborus plancus), a species of Mexican raptor in the same family as falcons (with a tasty rodent meal). I had seen one flying earlier in the trip, and had not known what it was. They are smaller and lighter than a bald eagle, but larger than a red-tailed hawk. From what I have been able to find, it seems that this was about as far north as one can expect to see this species. What a treat!