THE OTTER SIDE
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THE OTTER SIDE produces and markets fine
gifts and products featuring birds, incorporating superb original
photographic images based on over 35 years of our own nature photography.
Our product line includes
customized Local Bird ID Cards,
Educational Flip Cards,
and other customized items.
We have featured soy inks and recycled paper for our standard color card
images since 1996 and recycled paper for ALL of our
cardstock since 1994.
In 1997 we switched our in-house desktop color printers (which we use to
print Educational Flip Cards, customized Local Birds ID Cards,
most of our Magnet/Mirror images, and all of
our Bookmarks) to equipment which uses water-soluble inks.
All our products are made in the USA with as little wear and tear on
the world as possible, in keeping with our
"Live in Harmony" motto, including the reuse of shipping containers
and packing materials.
We hope you'll enjoy browsing through the images and product descriptions on
our web pages.
Please let us know how you like them.
Send us your name and USPS (aka "snailmail") address, and we will
gladly send a copy of our latest wholesale product information to your
shop or organization.
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THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE OTTER SIDE
ERIK BREDEN takes all the pictures used for our products, prepares
the images for printing and for display on on our web site,
and also creates and maintains all of the web pages on our web site.
He started taking general nature pictures as a teenager (see photo at right).
His subjects included flowers, insects, frogs, turtles, snakes,
mammals...well, actually, anything that would stay still long enough to be
A frustrating attempt to photograph a Baltimore Oriole in a large
willow tree in his parents backyard was the catalyst that ignited his
passion for birds, and started him on a lifelong quest to photograph birds.
Erik has photographed over 975 species of North American, Central/South
American, European, and Asian birds (over 690 in North America alone!).
A number of these have been published as documentary photographs in:
- New Jersey Audubon's Records of New Jersey Birds,
- the American Birding Association's Winging It and
North American Birds (formerly known as
National Audubon Society Field Notes,
formerly known as American Birds),
- the British birdwatcher's magazine Birdwatch,
- and the Texas Ornithological Society's Texas Birds Annual
and Bulletin of the Texas Ornithological Society,
Erik provided slides to David Sibley for use in the preparation
of the highly acclaimed
Sibley Guide to Birds (David Allen Sibley, 2000).
He also contributed slides that are on file with
(Visual Resources for Ornithology) at the Philadelphia Academy
of Natural Sciences, and has donated slides for use in presentations
at the Cape May Bird Observatory.
In addition, his photographs can be seen in the following photographic
He has also donated photographs to
Manakin Nature Tours
for their Colombia Birdwatching Tours web site.
- The Sparrows of the United Sates and Canada - The Photographic Guide - James D. Rising, 2001
- Shorebirds of North America - The Photographic Guide - Dennis Paulson, 2005
- Identifying Warblers of the Upper Texas Coast (computer-based presentation and study guide) - Don Richardson, Houston Audubon Society, 2005
On previous birding trips to Texas, and since THE OTTER SIDE moved
to Texas in 1999, he has been documenting rarities for the TBRC
(Texas Bird Records Committee).
You can see photographs of many of these birds at the
Texas Bird Images Website,
and all of them in the
Complete Image Catalog
here at THE OTTER SIDE.
(Note: All the birds below are rare or uncommon in Texas,
and a number were chosen by the TBRC for documentation):
- after a 10 year absence from the RGV, a Ruddy Ground Dove stayed for several weeks at Bentsen Rio Grande State Park in Mission in January, 2020
- a striking female Elegant Trogon stayed at Estero Llano Grande State Park in Weslaco for over two months in January and February, 2020
- this was a slow year without many outings for me
- a fairly cooperative Juvenile Roadside Hawk at the Border Patrol horse barns in Mission in November, 2018
- a beautiful White-crowned Pigeon at the South Padre Island Birding Center in October, 2018
- the return (after an almost 15 year absence) of a Tamaulipas Crow to the Rio Grande Valley at the South Padre Island Birding Center in late November, 2017. It was almost an "invasion", as there were sightings of birds (sometimes 2 to 4 birds together) along the coast as far north as Galveston.
- a very rare Variegated Flycatcher at the South Padre Island Birding Center in late September, 2016
- a very cooperative Chuck-will's-widow at the South Padre Island Valley Land Fund lots on West Sheepshead Street in April, 2016
- a lovely male and female pair of Western Tanagers during Spring migration at the South Padre Island Convention Center gardens in April, 2016
- the adult Whooping Crane found during the
Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival in November 2015 along Paredes Line Road (CR 1847) near Laguna Atascosa NWR in Rio Hondo
- the juvenile Northern Jacana in September 2015 at Estero Llano Grande State Park in Weslaco
- the two Townsend's Warblers in April 2015 at the SPI Convention Center gardens on South Padre Island
- the potential first US record of a female Red-legged Honeycreeper in November 2014 at Estero Llano Grande State Park in Weslaco
- the first Texas record of Bar-tailed Godwit in August 2014 on the flats south of Ocean Drive in Corpus Christi
- the second US record (both records from Texas) of Collared Plover found by Dan Jones in August 2014 at a playa lake in Hargill
- the adult Brown Booby found by Scarlet Colley in July 2014 in the Laguna Madre at South Padre Island
- the adult Slaty-backed Gull in February 2014 at Lake Casa Blanca State Park in Laredo
- the first winter Glaucous Gull in January 2014 on the Boca Chica Beach near Brownsville
- the female Amazon Kingfisher found during the
Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival in November 2013 at the Route 100 resaca in Olmito
- the Fork-tailed Flycatcher in November 2013 in a field along Route 4 near Boca Chica
- the "hybrid" Rufous-capped Warbler X Common Yellowthroat? in May 2013 at Park Chalk Bluff in Uvalde
- the surprising Golden-crowned Sparrow discovered in May 2013 at the SPI Convention Center gardens on South Padre Island
- the female Crimson-collared Grosbeak in February 2013 at Sabal Palms Sanctuary in Brownsville
- the male Red-naped Sapsucker in February 2013 at Bentsen Rio Grande State Park in Mission;Texas
- the male Calliope Hummingbird in January 2013 at Russ Pitman Park in Bellaire
- the returning Painted Redstart that spent the winter of 2013 at the Route 281 Rest Area in Falfurrias
- the astounding Flammulated Owl that spent the winter of 2013 at the SPI Convention Center gardens on South Padre Island
- the first Texas record of Black-tailed Godwit in June 2012 at Brazoria NWR near Lake Jackson
- the amazing Surfbird in March 2012 at the Packery Channel South Jetty in Corpus Christi
- the Purple Sandpiper in January 2012 at Port Mansfield
- the long-staying Golden-crowned Warbler in January 2012 at Frontera Audubon in Weslaco
- the immature male Anna's Hummingbird in January 2012 at the Sabal Palms Sanctuary in Brownsville
- the first year Black-legged Kittiwake in January 2012 at Isla Blanca County Park in South Padre Island
- the returning Brown Jays in December 2011 at the bird feeding station in Salineno
- the stunning male Blue Bunting in November 2011 at the Casa Santa Ana Bed and Breakfast in Alamo
- the territorial Yellow-green Vireos in June 2011 at Sabal Palms Sanctuary in Brownsville
- the "two day wonder" Green Violet-Ear in June 2011 at a private residence in Ingram
- the male and female Masked Ducks in May 2011 at Sabal Palms Sanctuary in Brownsville
- the same? Black-vented Oriole as the one at Bentsen in April 2011 at Atol Street in South Padre Island
- the cooperative male Yellow-faced Grassquit in February 2011 at Goose Island State Park
- the long-staying White-throated Thrush in January 2011 at Estero Llano Grande State Park in Weslaco
- the long-staying Black-vented Oriole in January 2011 on the Bentsen Rio Grande State Park Christmas Bird Count in Mission
- the adorable Tufted Flycatcher in December 2010 at the Daniels Ranch in Big Bend National Park
- the unexpected Greater Pewee in December 2010 at the Roselawn Cemetery in McAllen
- the Rufous-backed Robin in November 2010 at the Laguna Atascosa NWR visitor center
- the immature male Rose-throated Becard in February 2010 at Bentsen Rio Grande Valley State Park in Mission
- the male Rose-throated Becard in January 2010 at Estero Llano Grande State Park in Weslaco
- the amazing Northern Wheatear found by a local farmer in January 2010 in Beeville
- the Brown Noddy in August 2009 at the south jetty in Port Aransas
- the pair of Masked Ducks in April 2009 at Alligator Pond in Laguna Atascosa NWR
- a female Blue Bunting at Bentsen Rio Grande Valley State Park in January 2009
- the amazing first North American Record of White-crested Elaenia (normally found only in South America from Chile to Ecuador!) found by Dan Jones. It spent two days at the Valley Land Fund's West Sheepshead Street vacant lots in South Padre Island in mid-February 2008. This bird's photo made the cover of the Winter 2008 edition of North American Birds!
- a Dusky-capped Flycatcher which spent the winter of 2007-2008 at National Audubon's Sabal Palms Sanctuary in Brownsville
- an Allen's Hummingbird which spent the winter of 2007-2008 at a private residence in Northwest Houston
- a cooperative Golden-crowned Sparrow on the 2007 Robert Lee Christmas Bird Count (only the 29th Texas record!)
- a surprising "Black" Brant in the beginning of November, 2007 in Andrews, Texas (only the 23rd Texas record!)
- a new Spring record for the upper Texas coast in late April 2007 - a Green-breasted Mango at the Texas Ornithological Society's Sabine Woods Sanctuary!
- the very cooperative Northern Jacana at the Estero Llano Grande unit of the World Birding Center in Weslaco in August 2006
- the elusive Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher which was present at the Texas Ornithological Society's Sabine Woods Sanctuary for a few days in April 2006
- an American Flamingo which wandered from its Yucatan Peninsula home to Aransas NWR in the late winter and early spring of 2006
- the very cooperative Fork-tailed Flycatcher at Hornsby Bend, Austin in October 2005
- the male King Eider at Port Bolivar in April 2005 (only the 2nd Texas record!)
- the Green-breasted Mango which stayed in the backyard of a McAllen neighborhood home over the winter of 2004-2005
- the [formerly] reliable Brown Jays at the DeWind's feeders in Salineno
- the unprecedented influx of Mexican birds into the Rio Grande Valley in the winter of 2004-2005 (including White-throated Thrush, Crimson-collared Grosbeak, and the first [fully documented] Texas and United States record of Social Flycatcher!)
- the Gyrfalcon in Lubbock in February 2002 (the southernmost Gyrfalcon record for North America!)
- the first Reddish Egret for the Texas Hill Country along the Guadalupe River, Kerrville in August 2001
- the amazing Yellow-billed Loon which spent the winter of 2000-2001 in the Laguna Madre (the bay side of South Padre Island)
- a Buff-breasted Flycatcher at The Nature Conservancy's Davis Mountains Preserve in June 2000
- a Black-whiskered Vireo at the Quintana Neotropical Bird Reserve, Quintana Beach in May 2000
- the Rufous-backed Robin at the Sarita Courthouse in February 2000
- a pair of Hook-billed Kites at Santa Ana NWR in January 1989
- the difficult "hide and seek" Crane Hawk at Santa Ana NWR in January 1988
- a male Blue Bunting at Bentsen Rio Grande Valley State Park in January 1988
MARY BREDEN originally set up the business side of the company and
was the creative talent behind many of our product designs.
She also created all the brochures and literature you'll receive, and
doubled as Erik's photographic assistant in the field.
Mary was introduced to birds when she met Erik.
Their first "date" was on a bitterly cold February day when
they went out looking (unsuccessfully) for a Le Conte's Sparrow that had
been reported from Sandy Hook, New Jersey.
That might have been enough to turn off anyone, but, Mary soon became
"hooked" on birds when, on another outing, a flock of
Cedar Waxwings descended from the sky and filled the bushes and trees
It was a magic moment!
Mary has since answered a calling to become a minister.
She attended Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and, after graduating
in June 2006, accepted a call to the Andrews Presbyterian Church in
Andrews, Texas in February 2007.
In August 2010 she and Erik moved to Harlingen, Texas to live in the
Rio Grande Valley.
She now serves as the Pastor of New Hope Presbyterian Church in La Feria, Texas.
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OUR GUARANTEE - We give you an unconditional guarantee on all of our
products. We hope you'll love them just the way they are! But, if
anything is not perfect, we want to know about it.
Just call us, fax us a note, or send email
right away, and we will remedy the situation.
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Copyright © THE OTTER SIDE
Last Updated: Friday July 30, 2021 - 14:59:07 CDT