Since my last post of October 22, I have been complaining about the slowness of the birding. For the most part that is true. The high temperatures continue to hang around. But that never stops Ann and I from getting out and seeing what may surprise us. As you will see from the following images, there are still great subjects for photography. For all photos I was using my Canon 7D Mark II with a Tamron 150-600 super zoom telephoto lens. I will accompany each photograph with pertinent exposure information. Click on any image to see beautiful enlargements.
We have spent most of the week at Spring Creek and Middle Concho Parks. Both are city owned parks and are both are within the area of Lake Nasworthy.
On the morning of the 23rd we got up early, around 7:00 and headed to Spring Creek Park. A very rare Rose-throated Becard had been reported and we had hopes of spotting it. Of course, as our luck usually runs, it was nowhere to be see, and as far as we know it has left the building. So we will speak of it no more. However, there are three Great Kiskadees staying around and we always have a look for them. We didn’t see them this day, but I got lucky and spotted a Cooper’s Hawk. It flew past the car and settled for a few minutes on a tree branch. Much similar to the post the Red-tailed Hawk in my previous post.
Cooper’s Hawk – 1/500 sec. @ f6.3, -0.3EV, ISO 5000.
That was about it for that morning, but on the way out we saw this Osprey lurking near some wetlands, hoping to make a catch. As you can see, it was ‘photo-bombed’ by a Great Blue Heron.
Osprey – 1/11600 sec. @ f8, -0.3EV, ISO 3200.
The following morning of the 24th, we were up and at ’em again. Again, after stopping for a burrito and coffee to go, we got to Spring Creek Park. Again, we decided to see if the Kiskadees were still around. At the area where we had seen them in the past, we could here one singing. After a good look with our binoculars we spotted him high above on a tree top. A long distance, but I managed to get a fairly decent image.
Great Kiskadee – 1/1690 sec. @ f8, -0.3EV, ISO 2500.
Continuing on along the water, we spotted a Black-crown Night Heron.
Black-crowned Night Heron – 1/1600 sec @ f8 -0.3EV, ISO 6400.
We then spotted a Cooper’s Hawk again. Perhaps the same one that we saw the previous day, as it was in the same area.
Cooper’s Hawk – 1/1600 sec, @ f8m -0.3, ISO 4000.
I love the little Cattle Egrets. This one was with several others, but I managed to isolate him for a nice photo.
Cattle Egret – 1/2000 sec. @ f7.1, -0.3EV, ISO 180.
Back at it again on the 25th, still bolstered by our usual breakfast from Jack and Jill donut shop. No Kiskadees this time, although we did hear them again. We settled for another photo of a Black-crowned Nigh Heron.
Black-crowned Night Heron – 1/1000 sec. @ f6.3, +0.3EV, ISO 3200.
A Great Blue Heron was nearby.
Great Blue Heron – 1/1000 sec. @ f6.3, +0.3, ISO 3200.
On the 27th the pickings were pretty skimpy. (We took the 26th off. Man does not live by birding alone). Not much going on, but we got lucky with the Vermilion Flycatachers.
Vermilion Flycatcher – 1/640 sec. @ f7.1, +0.3EV, ISO 640.
Vermilion Flycatcher – 1/1250 sec. @ f7.1, -0.3EV, ISO 1250.
On the 28, we were accompanied by Jennifer and Jeff Koch, friends from Austin. Needing to make a good impression, we were on our best behavior. First stop was Spring Creek Park. Again things were pretty slow. However, a good shot of a Northern Cardinal impressed our guests.
Northern Cardinal – 1/1250 sec. @ f6.3, -0.3EV, ISO 6400.
We had enough there, so we headed to Middle Concho Park, and again on the way, we saw this Great Egret.
Great Egret – 1/1600 sec. @ f6,3, ISO 1250.
After arriving at Middle Concho Park, again there weren’t many of the avian species hanging around. Dang this heat. But nearing the end of that park we spotted a bird, really back-lit in the sun. We couldn’t make out what it was, but I decided to throw caution to the wind and try for a shot. Remember, I am trying to impress my guests. I boosted the Exposure Value by a stop and a half. When looking through the view-finder I had a hard time focusing because of the sun. Here is the result, after post-processing. Not fantastic, but pretty recognizable as a Western Bluebird.
Western Bluebird – 1/1600 sec. @ f6.3, +1.7EV, ISO 2500.
This morning, the 29th, after breakfast at Kenney’s Cafe with our local friends, Gene and Ethel Burger, we decided to go back for a couple of hours. Again, still not many birds in residence. But I got two great images that made the day. First, this image of a Belted Kingfisher is probably the best I have had of this species to date.
Belted Kingfisher, male. – 1/600 sec. @ f6.3, ISO 160.
While taking a final drive through Spring Creek Park, we spotted the image of a hawk type bird, far across the water, about 300 yards away and high in a tree. With the binoculars we saw that it was an Osprey. Stopping the car and turning off the engine, I put my bean-bag support on the window sill of our car. With the camera setting comfortably I was able to get the little focus point on the bird. The Osprey was within some branches and the wind was blowing. I had to time my shutter release carefully, as when the wind blew the leaves would cover the bird’s face. I had to wait for the breeze to subside a bit. Here is the result. I hope you like it as much as I.
Osprey – 1/1600 sec. @ f7.1, ISO 400.
So that’s all for this time. Check back soon for more.
‘Till then, Happy Birding!!!