New Quiz – Which Kingbird is it??


Today I am giving you a quiz that is a bit more tricky.  It even had me stumped when I first saw it.  I like these, because it makes you get your bird guides out and study harder.  These photos were taken near Fort Davis, Texas on August 18, 2014.  Un-retouched except for a little sharpening.  You may click on the photo to see it enlarged.

I would love to hear more comments, too.

As usual, study the picture, then click your answer in the poll below.

What is this bird?

What bird is this??

Which Kingbird is this.

What bird is this??

Celebrating our 56th


Ann and I will be gone for a few days.  We are leaving tomorrow morning, August 17th for Fort Davis, Texas.  We getting away from our 100 degree heat for a few days.  We will be staying at the Davis Mountains Inn, a bed and breakfast.  Our 56th anniversary is Monday the 18th, but we will probably celebrate by doing a little birding and some photography at Davis Mountains State Park.

We are only going to be gone for about three days, but during that time we hope to drive the scenic loop that takes us around the Davis Mountains and near the McDonald’s Observatory.  In the past we have been able to see plenty of wildlife and see magnificent mountain scenery.  My camera will be ready.

We will be back home here in San Angelo sometime the afternoon of the 20th.  Hoping to bring back plenty photos to show you in future posts.  In the meantime, here is a recent photo of a Greater Roadrunner.   Enjoy.

Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner

Quiz result – Woodpecker species


Thanks to all participating in my latest quiz.  Click here to review it.  The bird is a Lewis’s Woodpecker.  It was photographed here in San Angelo, Texas.  It was really out of range for that species.  But, as sometimes happens, he wandered off course during migration, and ended up here.  He was observed for about three days, then he moved on.

I only had one shot at him.  We were driving through Middle Concho park, when Ann spotted high atop a dead tree branch.  After I took the photo, he then flew off into some other trees.  I never saw him again.

Lewis's Woodpecker

Lewis’s Woodpecker

Some Summer Odds and Ends


During the past few weeks, I was only able to get out for only a few short birding stints.  However, I did compile from those little trips, a few new photos.  The migration hasn’t begun down here yet, so I am seeing mostly just the usual resident birds.  These images show you a few of what we have here during the summer.  Enjoy and click on any image to see enlargements.

Curve-billed Thrasher

Curve-billed Thrasher

Canyon Towhee

Canyon Towhee

Male Black-chinned Hummingbird

Male Black-chinned Hummingbird

Northern Bobwhite

Northern Bobwhite

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron with fresh catch

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe

Northern Bobwhie

Northern Bobwhie

Common Nighthawk

Common Nighthawk

Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner

Juvenile Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Juvenile Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Brown Pelican in West Texas


Hot days and no new birds.  The migration isn’t here yet, although I have received reports that it has started up north, so they are on the way here.  I will welcome them.  Anyway, in the meantime, it is back to my archives to see what I have forgotten about.

Going all the way back to 2011, and what did I find.  A bunch of photos of a Brown Pelicans that made an out-of-the-way stop at the City Water Ponds down in Eldorado.  They are indigent to the gulf coast, but on rare occasions one will make it’s way to our warm climes here in west Texas.

On this particular occasion, our friends that live in Eldorado, only a few blocks from the ponds, called us immediately after they spotted him.  It’s nice to have friends in high places.  Anyway, we were down there within an hour.  Here are a few of the images that I was able to get.

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican

Look Ma!!!

Look Ma!!!

Brown Pelican in flight

Brown Pelican in flight

Brown Pelican in flight.

Brown Pelican in flight.

Click on any image to see some enlargements.  Hope you enjoy.

Beating the Summer Doldrums


Some people call it the dog days of summer.  Either way, it a somewhat boring time of the year for me.  The heat usually keeps me indoors and it keeps the birds from showing up.  Since I have had several weeks of trying to get my blood pressure meds adjusted, I haven’t been able to get out much.  But, after seeing my good doctor a couple of days ago for another adjustment, I think he has finally got it right.  I have been feeling the best that I have in two or three months.

Ann and I decided to finally do some serious birding yesterday morning.  For a change we drove down to Eldorado to visit our friends, Sid and Suzanne Johnson, and got them to go with us.

Our first stop was at the City Water Ponds.  It wasn’t a good time to be birding there, since it usually is home to all sorts of water birds, but of course, they are pretty much absent until the end of August or early September.  However, we saw some Red-winged Blackbirds in the reeds and an American Coot.  Around the outer fence line we saw a few Lark Sparrows but that was pretty much all she wrote.

So we then decided to drive out County Road 2596.  It a great birding road; no traffic to speak of, so we can creep along the shoulder at a slow speed, and there is great habitat on either side of the highway.  There we had much more success, and added two more birds to our 2014 Big Year list;  Bell’s Vireo and an Orchard Oriole.  That brings our current total to 172.  We should reach our goal of 200 by the end of the year.

There is a Crested Caracara nest a few miles out, but the birds were not  in the building.  Overhead we saw what we thought was a Red-tailed Hawk.  I took a long range photo, but when I got it magnified in the computer, I discovered it was a Swainson’s Hawk.  In all we saw a total of 32 species.  Not a specially great day, but the fun is in the hunt.

Here are a few photos from yesterday, and also from the past few small outings that Ann and I took.

Curved-bill Thrasher

Curved-bill Thrasher singing his song.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo - he can sing, too.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo – he can sing, too.

Bronzed Cowbird

Bronzed Cowbird

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal - female

Northern Cardinal – female

Cactus Wren

Cactus Wren

House Finch

House Finch

House Finch - femals

House Finch – female

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Black-chinned Hummingbird – female

Painted Bunting - getting a bath.

Painted Bunting – getting a bath

Hope you enjoyed the photos.  Click on any of them to see enlargements.  To see my entire gallery go to http://www.bobzellerphotography.smugmug.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Quiz and previous results


I have a new quiz for you, but first the results of the last quiz . What a surprise I got when I looked at the results.  I posted a photo of a Cactus Wren, (Yes, folks, it is a Cactus Wren).  Surprisingly, out of 133 votes cast,  it got only 8, as in eight, total votes.  I surmise that it was because the bird is from my area here in the southwest, and most of you are not familiar with it.  And apparently, most of you don’t own any bird guides.  But that’s okay, I got you to participate, and that’s what this all about.  Just having fun.  If I can get one or two you hooked on birding, my job will be done.

The Cactus Wren has a white brow, similar to the Carolina Wren, but there the similarity stops for the most part.  The Cactus has a varied spotted breast, barred wings, and streaked back. The lower breast is slightly buff, not as bold as the buff breast of the Carolina.

You done me good, by having 133 of you take part in the voting, and I am happy about that.  Here are the total votes of each bird offered.

Carolina Wren, a whopping 73 votes.

Rock Wren, was second with 42 votes.

Canyon Wren garnered 9.

Cactus Wren. 8 correct votes.

Bewick’s Wren, one vote.

Thanks to all for participating. :-)

Okay, now for the new quiz.  This one is a simple one.  Is this bird a Tufted Titmouse, or a Black-crested Titmouse.  Vote below and choose between the two titmouses listed.  Results posted next week.  Have fun!

What is this bird?

What is this bird?

 

Quiz – Do you know your Wrens??


Okay, I have a good one this time.  No funny stuff, and no trick questions.  Since this quiz has so many possibilities, I am going to let it run for a week to give you plenty of time to investigate your guide books, or to make your up mind as too which one you will take a guess at.

So let’s have at it.  What species of wren is pictured here?  Answer will be posted next Saturday, July 19, 2014.  You can click on the image to see an enlarged photo for closer viewing.

IMG_7734-net-wren-cactus-bob-zeller

New Page – New Photos


First, I would like to mention that I have a new, additional page that you can see at the top of this post.  It is “Yakkety-Sax Man”.  It is the story of my music career.  Some of you already know about it, but I decided to post it a manner where you can select the six parts individually.  Just click on the ‘button’, or this shortcut.

Ann and I got out for a couple of hours on Tuesday morning.  This is the proverbial dog days of summer.  Hot, not too many birds moving.  But a birder can find opportunities if he or she perserveres.  I lucked out and saw a Bronzed Cowbird.  They are somewhat solitary, not usually in large groups.  This one was all alone in the grass at Spring Creek Park, here in San Angelo.  I love the bluish iridenscent color of the wings, and of course, that flashing red eye.

Bronzed Cowbird

Bronzed Cowbird

Further along the way, I saw this pretty Northern Cardinal.  I must admit that I already have many, many photographs of a cardinal, and I usually just ignore them, looking for that photo that may be better than the others.   But with so few birds in our count, and needing some photos for my post, I gave it a shot.  Once I saw it in my digital darkroom, AKA my computer, I realized that it was one of my better ones, so I am glad I didn’t ignore it this time.  I hope you like it.

North Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

Click on either image to see an enlargement.  To see more of my photographs, click on the Galleries button at the top of the page, then click on my SmugMug gallery.

Latest Quiz Results of July 5


Wow!  Another fun quiz, and many more responders this time.  Click here to see original test.  I am glad to see so many people are enjoying these tests of birding identifications.  The photo is a Lesser Scaup.  For those that might have considered the Greater Scaup, I apologize for not saying that this bird was photographed here in San Angelo, Texas.  This area is far out of range for the Greater, although it has made a rare appearance in the past.

There were a total of 116 votes cast.  Lesser Scaup  67;  Common Golden-eye  40;  Ring-necked Duck;  8;  Redhead  1.  One person, at least, thought it was a Greater Scaup.  Perhaps I should have listed it as an option.  It certainly would have made for some great discussion.

Judy of Flights of Wonder, said it best in her comment, and I hope she doesn’t mind me using it.  Here is what she said:

“Hi, Bob. Ring-Necks have a blue bill with black tip and a little white ring around the black tip; plus a little white ‘stripe’ between the black chest and the greyish sides. Lesser Scaups have the black chest and black rear end with whitish/greyish back and belly, along with a ‘peaked’ appearance to the head, which has a purple irridescense. This guy’s a Lesser Scaup. (Greater Scaups tend to have a head with a greenish irridescense – though the lighting can play tricks with that one – and their bellies are more whitish than grayish. I worked on these guys a long time this past winter!!”

Now for the birds that it wasn’t.

Common Golden-eye

Common Golden-eye

Ring-necked Duck

Ring-necked Duck

Redhead

Redhead

Brunette AKA my wife, Ann when she was a brunette.

Brunette, AKA my wife, Ann, before I caused her hair to turn gray.

Click on any photo to see enlargements.  Stay tuned, I am working on another quiz to appear here soon.