Nothing could be finah, than to see a Carolina…..


A Carolina Wren.  That’s what I am talking about.  We have seen several over the weeks, but never was able to get a quality image.  This one posed quite beautifully for me on a fence post before moving inside the wire fence.

Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren

It was good day for birding.  We saw 28 species including our first of the year sighting of a Vermilion Flycatcher.  Yesterday we saw our first Bullock’s Oriole, a female at the north unit of San Angelo State Park.

Today, though, we headed to Spring Creek Park and that is where we saw the above Carolina Wrens.

Here are some photos from the past few days, since my last post to this blog.

Black-throated Sparrow

Black-throated Sparrow

Osprey

Osprey

Northern Flicker (red-shafted sub-specie)

Northern Flicker (red-shafted sub-specie)

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

How about another photo of an Osprey.  This time is being protective of that fish dinner he is working on.

Osprey

Osprey

So now the weather is more spring-like and I think we will be seeing more of the spring and summer species arrive.  Our 2015 Big Year list stands at 118 right now.  Our goal by December 31 is to reach 210.  With nine months to go it should be no problem……right??

Until the next post…….Happy Birding

Lewis’s Woodpecker and more


Ann and I got out of the house over the weekend to try to do some birding and hopefully get some photos.  We found that because of spring break, our local city parks are over-run with campers, fishermen, and just people enjoying the nice weather.  Also, there was a professional Disc Golf Tournament going on at Middle Concho Park.  But before I get to that, I would like to tell you about seeing the Lewis’s Woodpecker yesterday, Monday, morning at San Angelo State Park.

Anyway, one of our reasons to heading to SASP was to see if the Lewis’s Woodpecker was still in residence.  It was and is, with it being here since mid-November.  I guess he likes it here, far away from his usual range.  He is hanging around in the same copse of three trees.  However, the Lewis’s Woodpecker loves to perch up very high.  Here those three trees, are leafless near the tops and he can see quite far from about 35-40 feet up.  It also makes for difficult photographs.  He appears quite small in the viewfinder and dark against the blank sky.  This photo was hand-held with my Canon 7D Mark II and Tamron 150-600mm lens.  As much as I tried to adjust for the lighting, I still had to do a little brightening in my post-processing, not to mention some drastic cropping.

Lewis's Woodpecker

Lewis’s Woodpecker

After getting several images, we drove around through that portion of the park.  It may be because of the lateness of the day, but we didn’t see too many other bird species except for this Vesper Sparrow and…….

Vesper Sparrow

Vesper Sparrow

…….this American Robin.

American Robin

American Robin

Now here are some images from the prior three days.  Even though the parks were getting crowded I did manage to get a few usable photos.

Ring-necked Duck - female

Ring-necked Duck – female

A sleeping Great Horned Owl.

A sleeping Great Horned Owl.

Golden-fronted Woodpecker

Golden-fronted Woodpecker

Pied-billed Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe

Osprey

Osprey

Click on any of the images to see some nice enlargements.

Is Spring here yet?


Over the past few days Ann and I have made a few trips to the local parks to check for incoming migrants.  It’s probably a little early but what the heck, it keeps us off the couch.  Having said that, though, we saw our first of the year American Robin.  Is that a harbinger of spring or what?

American Robin

American Robin

This bird isn’t the one we saw yesterday as I failed to get a decent shot.  This photo was taken last year.  But here are a few images that we did get during the past few days.

Greater White-fronted Goose

Greater White-fronted Goose

Getting the Greater White-fronted Goose was a nice find, and an addition to our 2015 Big Year list.  This goose is rare around here, not appearing every year.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Herons are in great supply as they are year-round residents.  This one was just strolling, perhaps trolling, but I didn’t see him make any move towards catching anything.

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl

Now this Great Horned Owl was wide awake.  Check out those eyes.  He was eye-balling everyone that came along, including me, but he didn’t mine me taking a few photographs.

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

The Northern Cardinal, eyed me up and down, then gave me a nice Howdy-do as I went by.

Eared Grebe

Eared Grebe

An Eared Grebe enjoyed himself swimming along.  This was only the second sighting of one this winter…….or is it spring?

Osprey

Osprey

The Osprey, one of my favorite raptors didn’t look like he was doing any hunting.  Perched about 20 feet above the water he was content to just stare off into the distance.

The following two images are of a Double-crested Cormorant.  This is the first time that I ever saw the two crests that the the bird is named for.  They are only visible during spring months, then not always.

Double-crested Cormorant

Double-crested Cormorant

Double-crested Cormorant

Double-crested Cormorant

So that is all for today.  I will be hunting again the next few days and I wonder what that will bring.  Click on any of these images to see some nice enlargements.

More updated images from Fort Davis


Before I get into this post, I was just perusing the comments on my About Me page and my Marfan Syndrome page.  I had forgotten that there were so many nice and caring people out there that follow my posts.  I hope you’all are still there.  I definitely appreciate you and it is you that keeps me interested in keeping up this blog.

Okay, as most of you know, Ann and I spent nearly a week in Fort Davis, Texas.  Fort Davis is named for a restored frontier fort of the same name.  A neat little town at the base of the Davis Mountains.  We love the area because of the potential for great wildlife photos, not to mention the great scenery at this altitude of about 5,000 feet.  Higher if you get up to the nearby McDonald Observatory.

In my recent post I described the local area, the Davis Mountains Inn, etc.  I won’t get into that again as I don’t want to repeat myself.  I will now get you up to date with some of the photos that I took while there.  Ann was a big help with her spotting.  I tend to try to drive safely, (yeah, right), and keep my eyes on the road so I depend on her to watch the trees, high wire lines, and fences.  As yet, I don’t have a bumper sticker that says, “I brake for birds”.  For the record, we recorded 62 different species of birds, 12 of them to be added to our 2015 Big Year list.

First, I must say that there are many Red-tailed Hawks in the area.

Red-tailed Hawk along the highway.

Red-tailed Hawk along the highway.

But we can’t ignore the other species.

Chipping Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

On Tuesday of our stay, we ventured over Wild Rose Pass and drove down to Balmorhea, Texas, a distance of 38 miles.  It wasn’t so much that we had a reason to visit that town, it was the journey that we loved.  Raptors appeared on posts and fences and hunted over the land.  Other wildlife could be seen, too.  Aoudads, (pictured below), Pronghorned Antelope, Bobcat, and Muledeer.

Aoudads, also know as Barbary Sheep, stand on a ridge near Wild Rose Pass.

Aoudads, also know as Barbary Sheep, stand on a ridge near Wild Rose Pass.

Did I say there were many Red-tailed Hawks?

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Lark Bunting

Lark Bunting – female

Just west of Balmorhea is the Balmorhea State Park.  They have some wonderful wetland areas to visit.  This is a rather small park so it is easy to get around.

Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird

A Bufflehead enjoys splashing around.

A Bufflehead enjoys splashing around.

Lesser Scaup

Lesser Scaup

Ring-necked Duck

Ring-necked Duck

A Canada Goose flies overhead.

A Canada Goose flies overhead.

A happy Western Meadowlark sings his song.

A happy Western Meadowlark sings his song.

Savannah Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Before returning back over the pass to Fort Davis and our room at the inn, we stopped at this great little restaurant in Balmorhea.  I forget the name, but the sign says it is the “Cutest Restaurant in Balmorhea”.  If you are in the area I recommend the food here.  We ate the traditional stacked enchiladas with hot sauce, topped with a fried egg.  Can’t wait to get back there.

And we will end this post with, you guessed it, another Red-tailed Hawk.

REd-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk.  This one seems to be saying, “If I stay behind this twig, I can’t be seen.”

Again, many thanks to all who follow this post.  Click on the photos to see enlargements.  If you like to comment, I sure would like to hear from you.  Since our return from our trek to the mountains, I have been busy trying to get some more local photographs for you.  I will post again in a few days.

Welcome to cold Fort Davis


Trying something new.  I am writing this post from my iPad, using my WordPress blogging app.

 Ann and I are visiting Fort Davis for a few days.  Our timing was not the best and we arrived Monday with great expectations for some beautiful days for birding.  Even though it was only about 40 degrees when we left San Angelo, by the time we crossed the Davis Mountains at Wild Rose Pass and entered Fort Davis the temperature 80 degrees.  We promptly checked into our room at the Davis Mountains Inn, a bed and breakfast.



Our gracious innkeepers are Bill and Nancy Davis.



The nice weather was short lived.  On Tuesday the forecast was for showers in the mountains, so we opted to take the scenic drive to Balmorhea.  The drive itself is more exciting than Balmorhea, as there are numerous wildlife photo opportunities along the highway.  We saw many Red-tailed Hawks, various small birds, and Aoudads, also known as Barbary sheep.

On Wednesday thunderstorm were forecast for the mountains, but we decided to chance it and take the 75 mile scenic loop through the Davis Mountains.  The temps were much cooler but the birds were active.  A couple that we met that were staying in the Davis Mountains State Park, Paul and Joan Von Hardeman, wanted to tag along in their car.  We were able to make it back to the inn just before a winter storm hit with rain and sleet.   We originally wanted to leave for home this morning, but because of the bad winter driving conditions we opted to stay an extra day.  We have been staying in our room today, finally venturing out for lunch after the ice melted.  We also met another couple that were staying here at the inn.  David and June Seaver, from Akron, Ohio, also waited a bit to leave for their next destination, Big Bend National Park.

Since my other bird and wildlife photos are still on my memory cards, I will have to wait to post them after we get home tomorrow.  I don’t have the means to get them onto my iPad.  By the way, since we left home on Monday morning, we have seen 57 species of birds so far. 

Well, Ann and I are going to drive into Fort Davis for supper at the historic Drugstore, now a great restaurant.  The Art Gallery is upstairs where I have several of my photographs on display and for sale. Bill and Nancy also own this establishment.

I will be posting photographs in a couple of days.

Waiting for spring birds…..


But aren’t we all, waiting for the spring birds?  We are never satisfied.  A few months ago we were waiting for the winter birds.  So it goes, year after year, watching the changing seasons and migratory trends.

But since the spring birds haven’t arrived, Ann and I decided to go look for the winter residents that are still here.  Unfortunately, we picked a very windy day.  It was sunny and the temps were moderate, but the strong breezes kept the birds at a minimum.

We at first, thought of heading out on the nearby country roads, as we had heard of some nesting Golden Eagles about twenty some miles south of us.  Now, that would have been something, but with the high winds, and the fact that the directions we had to the location were wrong, it turned out to be a bust.  We have new directions so maybe soon we can be successsful.

So we head to our usual haunts, the local parks near Lake Nasworthy.  As was the other areas, the 25 mph winds and stronger gusts kept most of the avian population down.  However, there we did see a few that gave cause to some nice photographs.

A couple of Great Blue Herons, in two different locations.  Usually we see a combined total of around 6-8 when going out there.  This one was hunkered down out of the wind next to the lake bank.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

This one was in a more sheltered area.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

This Pied-billed Grebe unperturbed in a calmer area of water.  He was far off and the image is very tightly cropped, so the image quality has suffered.  I show it because it was the only duck on the open water, except for a few Double-crested Cormorants.

Pied-billed Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe

Back in the trees this Cooper’s Hawk thought he was out of sight of me.  I had seen him a few minutes earlier in the open and he took flight to this location.  I actually had to search for an opening that I could focus between some trees.

Cooper's Hawk

Cooper’s Hawk

I, at first, considered that it might be a Sharp-shinned Hawk, and I really hoped that that was what it was as I could have added it to my 2015 list.  But, alas, and I am an honest man, but to me the large size and the flatish head tells me it is indeed a Cooper’s.

Cold wet days are in store again for us so I don’t know if I will have a post by the weekend.  We shall see.  After that we are heading west to Fort Davis Mountains on Monday with hopes of getting some fine photos and seeing some of the winter birds there.  We will be returning next Thursday so it may be a week before my next post.  Until then, stay warm and dry and, Happy Birding!

A little nonsense, and some neat photos.


It has been exactly a week since my last post.  Birding hasn’t been too exciting those seven days, mostly seeing the usual resident birds around.  I did get some nice photos to show you, but I will get to them in a moment.  Stay with me here.

First, I decided to prowl my archives to see what little surprises I might find.  How about a little humor to start the week.  These two photos are several years old.  I have already posted them on FaceBook but I know a lot of you readers haven’t seen them yet.

"Safe!! He slid in under the tag!"

“Safe!! He slid in under the tag!”

That caption speaks for itself.

Dueling snowplows.

Now that I have you in a good mood, here are some photos from the past week, all taken around the local parks here in San Angelo.  We started out at Spring Creek Park.  That is where I and Ann spotted this Osprey.  About 300 yards away across the river and into the woods.

Osprey

Osprey

This Great Blue Heron was across the river, too, but only about 250 yards away.

Greata Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

These Yellow-rumped Warblers are scrambling around on the ground, making for an easier photograph.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

This Eastern Phoebe is my favorite of the bunch.  He posed for me in several spots.

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe

Titmice are one of the most difficult for me to photograph, they are so quick and flighty.  This one hesitated for a few extra seconds making it easy for me to get the shot.

Black-crested Titmouse

Black-crested Titmouse

This Great Egret came flying down the river.  I quickly just aimed the camera and got lucky to lock the focus.  I rattled off a few shots and this was the last one as he was almost out of sight.

Great Egret

Great Egret

Another little bird that is hard to photograph, is the Dark-eyed Junco.

Dark-eyed Junco

Dark-eyed Junco

We’re in a deep-freeze here with light freezing rain, today so I won’t be getting out for a day or two, when the sun might shine again.  Fortunately, the cold doesn’t last long here.  I hope you enjoyed the photos.  I hope to write another post by the end of the week.