Crested Caracaras near Eldorado


I don’t know what it is about the Eldorado area, but it has been rife with rare (for this area), bird sightings this past year.  Least Grebes, Brown Pelicans, White Ibis, Tri-colored Herons to name a few.  Now I got an e-mail from Suzanne and Sid Johnson.  They went birding yesterday near there and saw, and photographed two Crested Caracaras.  They usally hang out in Northeastern Mexico and the Texas Gulf Coast areas.

That will naturally give me a need to go scout out the Eldorado area myself,  hoping I will get photographs of those elusive birds before they leave the area.  That’s what I love about birding; the fun of the chase. 🙂

In other news, the new Butterfield Stage outdoor theater at San Angelo State Park is finally nearing completion.  The Friends of SASP are selling commemerative bricks that will pave the walkway behind the seating area of the stage.  Money from the sales will help pay the costs of the amphitheater beautification.  They can have up to three lines of engraved text.  4×8″ bricks are available, with 1-2 lines $50, or with 3 lines $60.00.  Larger 8×8″ bricks are $100, and can have up to 6 lines.  Contact Timmy Wisdom 325-650-0490 or Ruth Jordan 325-651-7346.  You can also contact any Friends board member, including myself.  My number is 325-944-1839. 

INTRODUCTORY OFFERL  If you purchase by March 1st you can have two of the smaller ones for at toal of $75.  Or one large 8×8″ for $75.  After March 1st they will be at regular price.

Happy Birding!!

Tweaking my blog


Because of the inclement weather, I have stayed hunkered down at home, trying to stay out of trouble.  For want of something to do, I decided to make some changes to this blog.

I removed my original San Angelo Park Page, as it was written word for word as my post on September 23.  In it’s place I decided to make a San Angelo State Park Events page.  On it I will list all the upcoming events that will be happening thru the year based on the information that I have.  If anyone has anything more to offer, let me know and I can include it here.  Obviously, I just want to keep people informed about what’s happening at the park, and what the heck, maybe I can get more readers to my blog here. 🙂

In a nutshell, this will be a news page for the park.  I welcome any news items, or comments, and that will give me something more to do when I have these days of cabin fever. 🙂

Happy Birding!!

Bewick’s and Rock Wrens


Rock Wren

We got out today and I saw my very first Rock Wren.  If you drive out to San Angelo State Park, head around past the prairie dog village then down where you are along the dam, you can see one or more darting around in the riprap.  The problem is finding one.  They are tiny and blend in, so just watch for movement and you can pick out one.  We saw two.  I got a couple of good photographs.  I was able to ID them from my Sibley’s book.

Speaking of identification of the avian kind, I may have erred on my ID of the

Rock Wren

 Lesser Goldfinch in my previous post.  The black bill tells me it is a Lesser Goldfinch.  The whitish feathers under the tail says American Goldfinch.  Of course, it could be a trick of the light.  At any rate, I do not mind admitting when I am wrong.  After all, my forte is photography and I still am a novice at birding.  But I’m getting there, and enjoying the ride. 🙂

Bewick"s Wren

We saw twenty-seven species today, including two un-identified hawks.  But did see a Bewick’s Wren.  That is pronounced like Buicks for anybody else that is new at this.  I got a half-way decent photo of it and will include it here.  The temperature was about 34 degrees, but with no wind it was actually cozy in the bird blind. 

The pesky Brown-headed Cowbirds appeared again in great numbers, along with a bunch of Red-winged Blackbirds.  There were also two Spotted Towhees plus the Brown Thrasher is still hanging around.  There were hundreds of Ring-billed Gulls on the lake, plus about at half dozen American White Pelicans.

See more photos at www.zellertexasphotos.com.

Happy Birding!!

A few more pictures.


Black-crested Titmouse

Ann and I just got back from Christoval and we just about got blown off the road.  The temperature is 83 degrees but the wind is about 30 mph, making for some hard driving.  I had to go to the Hummer House and check out my inventory, to see if and what I had sold during the winter months.  By the look of the shelves, maybe I had better go into another line of work. 🙂 

If you’re new to the area, the Hummer House is a little bed and breakfast

Northern Cardinal

 place about a mile south of Christoval on Toenail Trail.  It is also a Humming Bird refuge, hence the name.  A great place to stay, nevertheless, if you want to get away for a night or two.   The humming birds will start arriving there in early to mid-March.  But right now you can see White-tailed Deer, Wild Turkey, and various birds.  This is a good time to watch the turkeys, as they are starting  to strut for the ladies.

Lesser Goldfinch

Before we left we stopped at the San Angelo State Park and checked on the birds at the blind.  Looks like they are getting fed regularly.  While there we saw a few Black-crested Titmice, Red-winged Blackbirds, and a bunch of finches.  I think most of the bird population was hunkered down out of the wind.

I am getting spring fever with the warm days arriving.  But I am sure it will be short lived as I know we are still in store for more cold weather, at least for another month or so.

I am adding three more pictures here that I took earlier in the week.  Hope you enjoy.

By the way, if you click on any photo you can see an enlarged image.

More photos visit www.zellertexasphotos.com

Happy Birding!!

Brown Thrashers and Spotted Towhees


Yesterday, Tuesday, Ann and I decided to take advantage of some more of

Brown Thrasher

 our nice sunny weather.  Jodie Wolslager had wanted to go with us again so the three of us headed to San Angelo State Park and the bird blind there.  The bin was without bird-seed except for sunflower seeds.  So we put some generous portions of that out and were soon richly rewarded.

Brown Thrasher

We saw a total of 22 species.  Some of the highlights were a Brown Thrasher, probably the same one that Bill Yeates photographed the previous day.  I got some excellent images of it and I will show them here.  Also there were two Spotted Towhees.  Then there were a couple of Northern Cardinals, a male Lesser Goldfinch, some Curve-billed Thrashers, House Finches and various other species that are common most days there.  All of the photos posted here were taken on this trip.  By the way, the Brown Thrasher was a “lifer” for me.

All of these images were taken with my Canon 7D digital SLR, 500mm f4 IS AF telephoto lens, 1.4 tele-converter, mounted on my Bogen-Manfrotto tripod with a Wimberley II gimbal head.

In other news, I have been elected to the Friends of San Angelo State Park

Spotted Twohee

 board of directors.  Gary Lindahl is moving to the metro-plex area, so I will fill his spot on the board.  I can only hope to do the job as well as he did.  Judy Hight called yesterday evening and asked if I would do the job.  I never could say no to anything.  Not in my vocabulary, I guess.   Since I now have more responsibities out there now, I and Ann went to Walmart and purchased 240 pounds of bird seed, and took it out to the park.  Jodie Wolslager gave us another generous donation for the bird-seed fund.

Happy Birding!!

Sunny days are back


Sunny days are back again.  The temps are supposed to get up to high 60s and low 70s this week.  So I am going to look forward to getting out and finding more birds and wildlife to photograph.

Brown Thrasher - Bill Yeates

Bill Yeates didn’t waste time though.  Yesterday he got out to the bird blind at San Angelo State Park.  He sat in the blind and was rewarded by seeing and photographing  this Brown Thrasher.  I haven’t seen one yet so I hope to come across one this week.  Bill also made a visit to the eagle’s nest down near Llano and got this great picture of one in flight.  He gave me permission to publish them here for all to see.  Thank you very much, Bill.

Bald Eagle - Bill Yeates

As most of you know the temperature got down to a low of 10 degrees last Saturday morning, so that discouraged anybody from coming to the monthly Adult Birding Adventure at the state park.  Keep in mind that we will try again on February 13.  That is the 2nd Saturday of the month.  I hope to see a few more people there.

Diane Coleman called for information on that birding tour.  She and her husband are newcomers to San Angelo.  She says that they are novice birders, like myself and Ann, so I certainly welcome them.

Happy Birding!!

Inca Dove and Red-tailed Hawk


So Friday the 13th fell on a Wednesday this month.  That actually brought me some good luck.  I was able to get an amazing close-up of an Inca Dove and a

Inca Dove

Red-tailed Hawk in flight.  I actually got the photo of the Red-tailed Hawk today.   We had taken our Shi-Tzu to the vet for her flu shot and we were just pulling into our drive-way when I saw two Inca Doves sitting on the fence.  I cranked down the window (actually, I pushed the tiny button to let the electric thingee do it’s thing), reached for the camera and shot the photo.  Fortunately I keep my Canon 100-400mm lens on the Canon 7D most of the time.

As for the Red-tailed Hawk, we took a little drive out towards Eola to stop in

Red-tailed Hawk

 on some friends.  On the way home I spotted this Red-tailed Hawk on a telephone pole.  I waited and was fortunate to get this shot of him as he flew away towards, you guessed it, another telephone pole.  That’s why I love wildlife photography, being able to catch these creatures on in action.

Speaking of photography, my dear friend Deb Tappan of Knoxville has re-done her web-site and has some dazzling, awesome photos.  Check out her home page, “Wild Places, Wildlife” on my blog-roll to the right side of this page.  Her photographs of Yosemite, Yellowstone and other National Parks will blow you away.  Feel free to admire, and gasp in awe, but don’t stay too long.  Come back here as soon as you can.  🙂  Really, I feel proud to say that half of the photographs on our walls are hers.  The other half, are mine.  Of course. 🙂

‘Til the next time…..

Happy Birding!!!!!

Record Cold Temps


After reading the weather news this morning, I can see why Ann and I might have been the only crazy people to try birding on Saturday morning.  It seems that the official low of 10 degrees was the coldest Saturday ever recorded in San Angelo.  The previous record was 15 degrees set on a Saturday in 1967..  The 10 degree temp was also the second coldest temp ever recorded on any date since we reached a low of 7 degrees on Feb. 4, 1996. Tonight the low should reach only the mid 20s, a more normal and manageable temperature.

The good news was that the wind didn’t get very high.  It can really whistle your britches here.  After all, there is nothing between here and the Canadian border except for a snow-fence.  And I think it’s lying on the ground. 🙂

American White Pelicans

As for our weekend, after the aborted birding trip, we just more or less just hung out around home.  I got cabin fever and ventured out once to see what was happening at the park lake, but just saw some gulls walking on some ice.  However, we did spot a few American White Pelicans farther out in the lake.  They were pretty much huddled up against each other.  This picture was taken a few months ago.  But you get the picture, pun intended. 🙂

We celebrated Ann’s 71st birthday yesterday.  But we just done our usual thing, going out to breakfast, she doing some more of her famous afghan knitting, me doing the Sunday crossword in a record time, for me, of three hours, in ball-point of course.  Ann’s birthday gift of her new Leupold binoculars won’t arrive ’til Wednesday.  But she knew in advance that she was getting it.

We are making plans to visit the Big Bend area the last week of

Bob & Ann rafting trip

 February.  This time we plan to stay at the Lajitas resort.  It is just outside the western boundary of Big Bend National Park.  In fact, on one hole of the golf course, if you happen to hook your drive, it will go over a high, strong, chain-link fence.  The only way you can retrieve the ball is to make a 60-mile round trip in a four-wheel drive vehicle through grease-wood and cacti. 🙂

Anyway, it should be a fun trip.  Lajitas will be a good central jumping off place for various side trips.  If the level of the Rio Grande is up enough, we may even take a rafting trip.  The above photo was taken on a previous trip several years ago.  Believe it or not, we saw an alligator in the water.  It was about 7 feet long.  Our guide had pointed it out, saying that he thought that someone had a pet, and tossed it when it got too big.  I got a few quick snap-shots of it’s snoot sticking above the water.  But they were on film and I don’t know what ever came of them.  On that trip, the river was running only about 18 inches deep.  Heck, we could have walked.  In fact, our guide had to get out and pull us over some shoals where the raft was scraping the bottom.

So that’s about enough rambling for today.

Happy Birding!!

Birding Tour Washed Out


The monthly Adult Birding Adventure at the San Angelo State Park, was washed out this morning.  But, heck, it wasn’t my fault.  Ann and I went out early about 8:00AM to feed the birds so they would be active.  The temp then was up to about 15 degrees.  But the sun was shining brightly and no wind, so it was not unpleasant.

After doing that chore we checked the lake for interesting sightings.  There was a light coating of ice near the shoreline and there were several hundred gulls walking on the ice or wading on the water near by.  After that we went back to ths South Gate-house to greet our “participants”, or fellow birders.  Alas, we were all alone.  Nary a person showed up at the appointed time of 9:00AM.  So we shall wait and try again next month on Feb. 13.  9:00AM, South Gate.   Hopefully the weather will be more co-operative. 

I guess I should mention that while Ann and I were spending a few minutes making those observation early this morning, we did see beside the Ring-billed Gulls, we saw Northern Pelicans, House Finches, Red-winged Blackbirds, Savannah Sparrows, Meadowlarks, Northern Mockingbirds, at least one Loggerhead Shrike and a Great Blue Heron. 

I now have a “Now Showing” page on this blog.  There you can hear about the various showings of my photography.

Happy Birding!!

Great Start to New Year


Things are looking good for my new year, if the last few days is any indication.  Crockett National Bank invited me to show my work in their lobby thru January and February.  I went there yesterday morning to hang my photographs, and I sold one of my framed images before it got hung.  So I returned yesterday afternoon to hang a replacement.  But as I said, it is nice to start the year with a show, then an immediate sale.

Cold weather this week.  It is supposed to get down to 21 degrees Saturday morning, my first day of leading the monthly Adult Birding Adventure at San Angelo State Park.  Being originally from Michigan, I really should be used to freezing weather.  Up there it gets so cold that if you put a bucket of hot water outside, it freezes before it stops boiling.  If you take your dog out to pee, you have to break him off the fire hydrant. 🙂

I went to Academy this morning and bought four 2-way radios.  During the Adult Birding Adventure, we do a lot of birding by car.  With the 2-ways it is easy to communicate between cars when a bird specie is spotted.  Pretty nifty.  Now I need to sit down and read the directions to learn how to use them.

I have been blogging now for about four months.  I am enjoying it quite a bit.  My reviews from readers have been favorable, i.e. “entertaining”,”educational”, “witty”, etc.  I like that last one.  However, I do have a problem of coming up with interesting subjects to write about, if I haven’t been in the field, either birding or shooting photographs.  But never fear, this zany brain of mine can be creative at times.

I just remembered Ann’s birthday is coming up on the 10th.  Aha! You thought I’d forget didn’t you?  I admit I almost did.  I think I will order her a Leupold Rogue 8×42 binocular.  She has been wanting one.  Boy, howdy, I am glad that’s out of the way.

Dueling Snow Plows

Speaking of Michigan, how about I throw in this picture that I took a couple of years ago up in Traverse City.  This was taken during the late spring.  As I said before I don’t go there when there’s four feet of snow on the ground.  Anyway these two personal snow plows were finished for the winter, and were parked near this garage.   I thought their pose was kinda cute.  Enjoy.

Happy Birding!!