Another Senior Moment

Good morning to all.  I awoke with a start early this morning at around 4:30AM.  What could possibly be wrong, I asked myself.  I hurried to my office, booted up my computer, checked out my blog and what did I see?  Not tiny reindeer, you silly. 🙂  But I did see an embarrassing mistake.  I am surprised nobody had seen it, or if they did, they didn’t want to bring it to my attention.

Anyway, if you read my post yesterday, I had identified the egret as a Snowy, when in fact it is a Great Egret.  So I changed the title of yesterday’s post to reflect the change of ID, then edited the post itself.

Now I feel better and go back to sleep……….zzzzzzzz

Happy Birding!!!

Great Egrets


Great Egret

This morning when we were going to breakfast, still in the dark, Ann thought she saw something in the arroyo that runs by the old K-Mart building.  So later on when I went to the post office, I circled by there and there were two Great Egrets wading and feeding.  I got some good shots and this is one of them.  Canon EOS 7D, Canon f4-5.6 EF100-400mm IS AF zoom lens, ISO 400, 1/400 sec., f6.3, handheld.

Suzanne Johnson, along with her husband Sid, were out around the Twin Buttes Reservoir and saw a Verdin fly out of the grass.  She didn’t get a picture but said it was a “lifer” for her.

Happy Birding!!

Week after Christmas

Well, here we are.  Beginning the last week of the year.  We had a beautiful Christmas holiday, though.  Can’t complain about the weather anyway.  But……..tonight snow is on the way.  The question is, will I finally get some snow scene photographs??  Stay tuned on that.

Northern Mockingbird

Ann and I got out for a few hours on Sunday afternoon.  Sue Oliver had asked on Saturday if we wanted to go with her on Sunday, but we begged off because Ann had a severe back problem and had said she didn’t want to go anywhere on Sunday.  But Sunday dawned and later in the day she was feeling better, and we had a little cabin fever so away we went.  Saw several birds, also spotted Harry the Hunting Harrier again.  I got a few photographs of a female Ladderbacked Woodpecker, also a cute on of a Northern Mockingbird. 

I got an interesting e-mail from Mr. Don Jeane.  He and his wife spent a few days at the San Angelo State Park in early November.  While there he visited the bird blind.  While he was watching the birds, an American Badger wandered onto the scene.  He got a photograph of it and there is a link to it in his comment at the San Angelo State Park page.  I had heard there was a presence of badgers at the park, but I have never seen one.  Now I will be on the watch for it.

Suzanne Johnson in Eldorado has a new camera that she is really enjoying.  She sent me a photograph of a Bonaparte’s Gull that she saw at the water treatment ponds there.   I wish I had seen it as it would have been a lifer for me.

I will be busy for a few days.  I have been asked to show my work in the lobby of the Crockett National Bank during January and February.  So if you are in town and want to see the display, the bank is located on the northbound Bryant Thruway (Huighway 277), on the river across the street from the San Angelo Visitors Center.  Stop in and see it beginning on January 4, 2010.

On Thursday we will do some birding with Sue Oliver.  She is one of the best birders in the Concho Valley, so I am sure that we will learn a lot from her.

Happy Birding!!

Good Morning, Christmas Eve

Well, this is Christmas Eve morning.  It will probably be another day or two before I post again, so I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.  Ann is in

Western Meadowlark

the kitchen doing some cooking for us for the holiday, and I am trying to decide whether to be naughty or nice. 🙂   I gave up on today’s crossword, something rare for me.  I can usually handle them with a bit of ease, although sometimes I spend nearly all day on some of them, but this one this morning is a real kicker.  Anyone know a 5-letter word for “matter components”?  The third and fourth letter an “o” and an “m”.

Yesterday, Suzanne and Sid from Eldorado stopped by.  They were in town doing shopping, but had a few hours to kill, so they wanted to go birding.  We started out to Lake Nasworthy because they wanted to see the Black-bellied

Northern Mockingbird

 Whistling Ducks that have been hanging around out there.

Then we ended up out at San Angelo State Park, just driving around to see what there was to see.  Hundreds of Ring-billed Gulls, a Says Phoebe that eluded my camera, several Northern Mockingbirds and Western Meadowlarks.  Also watched a Northern Harrier do a little hunting.  The weather was beautiful at about 75 degrees.  This morning, by the way, right now it’s 34 degrees with a real light snow.  Now you know why I have a little cabin fever.

I’ll put a couple of photographs here.  Neither of them were taken yesterday, however the Western (or maybe Eastern) Meadowlark was photographed at the park on a previous trip.  The Northern Mockingbird was photographed in our front yard earlier this year.

As I now look out the window, the snow is coming down a little heavier and actually starting to stick.  The roofs and lawns are starting to look whiter.  Maybe we’ll have a white Christmas, something of a rarity around here.  I guess I’ll stay in for a bit and look for another way of getting in trouble. 🙂

Oh, I just remembered, the 5-letter word for “matter components” is “atoms”.   Of course…… how could I miss that one?  I knew I would get it sooner or later. 🙂

Happy Birding

Donations keep pouring in……

Ah, the power of the blog……..  Since I ranted about the lack of donations by the members of the board of Friends of San Angelo State Park, a few other people have taken notice.  I would like to acknowledge Deb and Paul Tappan of Knoxville, Tennessee;  Mike Ziegler of Austin, Texas;  Jodie Wolslager and Jim Miller, both of San Angelo, Texas for their generous contributions, both monetarily and of bags of bird seed.  They are greatly appreciated this Christmas season.

Not much other news on the birding adventures around here.  I guess everyone, including myself, is busy doing holiday things.  I may find some time this afternoon to get my camera out of the bag, and look for some photo ops.

Hold on!   This just in.  As I write this Ann just walked in from doing grocery shopping.  She was all excited.  She said that she saw two White-tailed Deer just a block from our house.  Running down Southland Blvd near our home.  She estimated one was about an eight-point buck and the other a doe.

Happy Birding!!

‘Tis the Season

A friend asked me a couple of days ago if I had my Christmas shopping done yet.  I replied “I certainly have, now tomorrow I will shop for my wife” 🙂

But it’s that time of the year again.  The time to rejoice and be happy.  Ann and I do not plan on making any long Christmas trips.  Actually, we never have that I can remember.  We never go back to Michigan at Christmas.  (Are you nuts??  There’s three feet of snow on the ground!!!)   I guess the only time that I think we traveled near Christmas was back in 1961 when I was assigned to Goodfellow Air Force Base here in San Angelo.  I had just returned from overseas in Turkey and after a few days at home in Michigan, I had to report here on December 22.

We arrived the previous day on the 21st to look for a place to live.  We couldn’t find a place to our liking, so this realtor that had been showing us around, took us to this brand new three bedroom little “match-box” house.  With some “creative financing” she (the realtor) got us into it for 100.00 down and the first payment of 58.00 wouldn’t be due until the following March of 1962.  So that was a great Christmas present for ourselves.

But the story doesn’t end there.  We had no furniture, just the empty brand new house.  Our furniture was on a slow ship and wouldn’t arrive from Turkey until Februuary 1962.  So we purhased a roll-a-way bed, a small kitchen table, a portable b-w television and an apartment sized refrigerator.

The contractors were putting finishing touches on the house as we were moving in.  One of them was hooking up the air-conditioning system, and him and I got to talking about the fishing in the area.  He left, then later that evening there was a knock on the door.  This air-conditioning installer stood there with his wife and announced that they were taking us out for dinner.  That was such a nice gesture, as we knew no other soul.  We became great friends and they invited us to eat Christmas dinner with them three days later.  Such is the friendliness of the people of west Texas.

Ann and I are childless.  Not of our choosing, but that’s the way things happen.  We have no relatives living near us, but that’s just fine with us, too.  We are quite happy with just the two of us.  What we do enjoy is giving to others when we can.  I guess that comes from having no children to give to.  Maybe we feel we are somehow paying back for all the good things that have happened to us.    

We have had some happy Christmases.  I remember that before I was shipped overseas, I was assigned to Ardmore AFB, Oklahome.  We met a couple that loved to play Scrabble.  We played with them several times a week.  On Christmas Eve of 1958, they asked us over to….. drum roll, please….. yes, to play Scrabble.  They had three children.  We played Scrabble, had a few spirits, then after the kids went to bed, we spent all night assembling toys for under the tree.  What fun that was, when exhausted as we were, to see the kids get out of bed and come to see and open all the presents.  We then spent Christmas catching up on our sleep.

So anyway, we feel no need to make long trips on Christmas.  We mostly stay home by ourselves.  But occasionally someone wants to invite us to their house.  This Christmas, Jodie Wolslager and her husband Jay, Ann’s former employer, have invited us over there for lunch.  They are fine people and very generous. 

So to all all of our relatives in Michigan, our numerous Texas friends, and our very dear friends up in Knoxville, Tennessee, Ann and I wish you all a very happy, merry Christmas and a very Happy New year.

Oh, yes, and happy birding!!

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

The beautiful weather is still hanging around San Angelo, so it gave me a chance to get out and around for a few hours.  Ann and I went to a park out near Red Bluff to see what was around.  On the way out, Sue Oliver caught

Black-bellied Whistling Duck

sight of us and chased us down in her little red truck.  She told us the location of some Black-bellied Whistling Ducks near a public boat ramp.  We followed her directions and sure enough there they were, about 50 of them.  But they were actually in the yard of one of the residents of the area.  It turned out that I was acquainted with the man and he let me onto his lake shore property to photograph the ducks.  One of the photos is here.  It was the first time I had seen a Black-bellied Whistling Duck up close.  And they really do whistle.


We continued to the park to do a little late afternoon birding.  The previous day Jodie Wolslager had been with us and we saw a Golden-fronted Woodpecker, a Ladder-backed Woodpecker, a Belted Kingfisher, European  Starlings and several sparrows, and this cute Pyrrhuloxia pictured here.

Merganzers and Ring-necked Ducks

Yesterday afternoon, while the weather was still nice, we went back to the Sunset Lake.  A beautiful warm, windless afternoon, and the ducks were still plentiful.  A plethora of Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintails, Scaups, Ring-necked Ducks, Buffleheads, and in the middle of all, one  lone Hooded Merganzer.  The merganzer was a lifer for me, and I managed to get a nice photograph.  The pictures you in see in yesterday’s post were taken with my Canon 100-400mm lens.  When we went back yesterday, I took my 500mm f4 IS  lens.  I attached a 1.4 teleconverter, then set up my tripod.

That Canon 7D continues to amaze me.  Outstanding pictures, if I do say so myself.  But the credit goes to the camera and lens.  The Hooded Merganzer was the most difficult.  He was far out in the lake, much farther than the other ducks, and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to crop close enough to get a usable image.  But as you can see below, I didn’t need to worry.

Hooded Merganzer

Ring-necked Duck

In other news, I received an e-mail from Sue Oliver.  She said that she saw three Tundra Swans, out at Lake Nasworthy near the Red Bluff housing area.  That is quite a find.  I may try to get out to check and see if they are still hanging around

Happy Birding!!

Today’s birding photos

Wow, what a nice day this turned out to be.  The temperature as I write this is 75 degrees and sunny.  Ann and I went out for a couple of hours, mostly to San Angelo State Park.  After that we went down to that little lake off of Sunset Drive.  Lots of little duck types in there.

While at the park, we spotted two Red-tailed Hawks, one Sharp-shinned Hawk and one Harris’s Hawk.  And you guessed it.  I missed the shot of the Harris’s Hawk.  Such a beautiful bird, but also so quick.  I didn’t even have time to pick up the camera.  However, I did get a nice shot of an American Kestrel.

These are some shots that I got today.  Enjoy.

American Kestrel


American Wigeon

Northern Pintail

Loggerhead Shrike

Birding App for iPod

For you that may be interested, I just discovered a new app that is available for iPod Touch or iPod Phone.  It is Birdseye.  You can, based on the location that you enter, find local birds, locate birding hotspots, locate specific birds, update you life list, etc.  I love it, and it is getting great reviews.  It does sell for 19.95, but in my opinion it is well worth the money.  I know that I will use it quite a lot, since I like to travel a bit. 

By the way, I updated my life list on it, and my total is up to 182.  Far from being an expert, but I’m having great fun.

Another app that I already have is iBird Explorer Pro.  It is a complete field guide to all the birds of North America.  For any bird you can find photos, information on range, facts, identity information, ecology, etc.  A really fantastic guide.  It is wonderful to be able to have such information in the palm of your hand.  It beats carrying around a bunch of books. 

I asked for birding info from Suzanne Johnson vis-a-vis the treatment ponds near Eldorado.  She has been keeping a list, and she says she has seen 180 different species there so far.

I got an unusual response to my previous blog about the low amount of donations at the Friends of SASP party.  Mike Ziegler, in Austin, Texas has written that he wants to make a donation.  I think that it is wonderful that an individual from another city, wants to help us out at the park.  Since I may have been a little outspoken on that subject, I have a feeling that I may not be invited to next year’s party. 🙂

Happy Birding!!