Okay, boys and girls, hang on to your hats. I have a brazilion photos to show you from our two day trip to Uvalde, Texas. At only about 195 miles south of San Angelo, it has much to offer in the way of birding.
First, I would like to mention that we arrived Wednesday afternoon at the Live Oaks Bed and Breakfast. Owned and operated by Pat and Gaye Morris, it is a perfect way to spend a few days. All the amenities that you would expect, plus a great breakfast. Four rooms inside the main house, and three individual casitas of which we stayed in one called “Treehouse”. No, silly people, we weren’t in a tree, but a wonderful little comfy cabin. Click the above link for more information.
We decided to come to Uvalde when a Facebook friend, Bob Shackleford mentioned that his place was nearly overrun with Green Jays. That really got my attention, as that was one bird that have dreamed of seeing and photographing for years. I contacted him and invited myself to visit him when we came to Uvalde. He has this delightful little bird blind, and sure enough there were more than enough Green Jays to satisfy any photographer.
Bob Shackleford’s bird blind
We were able to check in early Wednesday afternoon, so I called Bob and we decided to pay him and his wife, Marianne, a visit. He wanted us to try out the blind immediately, and for a few minutes, I was rewarded with photo opportunities right away.
We didn’t stay in the blind very long since it was very hot, and we wanted to visit with Bob and Anne (pronounced Anna) a bit longer, before we had to go check in to our little casita. Before we left, we made arrangements to return the following day which was my birthday, and spend the day. Anne, had already baked a cake for my birthday. How great is that?
The following morning, after a sumptuous breakfast, cooked by Gaye, we headed back to the Shacklefords. We headed right for Bob’s “Chicken House Bird Blind”. Of course, I first photographed another Green Jay, then a few others. Here are a few highlights.
Northern Cardinal, female
Yellow-rumped Warbler – Audubon variety
Later, after going back to our room for a brief nap, we returned to have supper with the Shacklefords. Wow! That man knows how to use a barbeque grill. He grilled some chicken breasts along with a bunch of veggies. Then to top it off we had some of Anne’s pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting and pecans. Fantastic!
After that, Bob mentioned that we should drive out along the highway, as we could probably find some various hawks. So we all piled into our little Ford Escape and headed out. Here are some of the highlights of that drive. There are many. I forgot to mention, click on any of the photos in this post and you will see beautiful enlargements.
Red-tailed Hawk in flight
Forgive the clipped wings in the above photo, but I thought it was too beautiful to leave out of this post.
Scaled Quail – in late afternoon light.
Two Crested Caracaras share a utility pole crossbar.
A drive along a country drive wouldn’t be complete with seeing one of these vultures.
Black Vulture surveys the landscape.
After saying goodbye to the Shacklefords, and promising to return in a few months we headed to our room, feeling great about our birding and photographic adventures. We had hoped to see a Great Kiskadee, but that will have to wait until the next time.
The next morning after another great breakfast, I began my first day as an eighty-year old, and we headed back to San Angelo. We were making good time, so we made a brief stop at the South Llano River State Park. They have wonderful bird blinds there so we had time to check out one of them.
Nashville Warbler photographed at South Llano River State Park
For the trip, we saw a total of 40 species of birds. We added two to my life list: Green Jay and Long-billed Thrasher. That life list now stands at 275. Maybe I can get to 300 before I turn 90.
For my 2014 Birding Big Year list, I added those two plus the Crested Caracara and the Harris’s Hawk, bring the total to 189. Only eleven to go to make my goal of at least 200 species seen this year.
I feel great and I think it is going to be fun being an 80 year-old. That is as long as I stay away from those senior centers and not let those old people influence me. :-)