We had a nice experience this morning. Of course, it was down by the old K-Mart building, the site of many of our unusual bird sightings. We had decided to drive by there to check for any new birds, and as we circled around behind the building, we looked down into the arroyo. Lo and behold, there were two, yes two, Great Horned Owls sitting in the grass on the opposite slope from us. Plus, in a tree along the creek was another one. I can only speculate, but the two on the ground looked slightly smaller than the one in the tree, although it was difficult to get a good visual of that one. Perhaps the ones that seemed smaller were the young. Anyway, here are two photos of the ones on the ground. Photographed from a distance of about 80 yards, with my Canon 7D with 500mm lens and 1.4 converter, hand-held from my van window. Hope you enjoy the shots. Click on either one for an enlargements.
Well we made it to the Hummer House yesterday. What a beautiful day for birding it was. Saw a good collection of birds, but not as plentiful as there will be in a couple of weeks. We did see a Painted Bunting, among others, but the highlight of the day was seeing the Red-shouldered Hawk nest. This hawk is not common for this area as it mostly resides to the east of here.
I hope to make more trips there so I can see the progress of the young ones after they have hatched. I have posted some of my photos here for your enjoyment. I am rather proud of them. One image shows the hawk on the nest, the others are two images of he or she in a nearby tree.
In other news Susanne Johnson reported 25 White-faced Ibises are (or were) at the water treatment ponds down in Eldorado, plus some other water and shore birds. Jodie Wolslager sent me a photo of about 25 Yellow-headed Blackbirds that she saw near the country club. I had personally never seen such a large flock of those beautiful birds. I may venture out that way later this evening to see if I can find them. Also Sue Oliver sent me a photo of a Greater Roadrunner that she took near her house.
Many signs of spring are now appearing all over the Concho River Valley. Besides the many bluebonnets and other wildflowers, the spring birds are arriving. One is the Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis). Just a few days ago there weren’t any, now all of a sudden they’re everywhere. It makes you wonder how all bird species know when to be at a place at a certain time. They obviously arrive indivually as I never have seen a them arriving as a large group or flock. Now I have seen American White Pelicans (Pelicanus erythrohynchos) arrive in large flocks. They are a beautiful against a blue sky, forming a slow whirling vortex, then all landing in the water as a group.
Tomorrow Ann and I, along with Ken Corley, are making a short trip down to
Dan and Cathy Brown’s Hummer House. Dan told us on the phone that the birds are plentiful there, and he also mentioned that a large hawk was in a nest nearby, close enough that he thought I might come away with some photographs. So we’re looking forward to having a look.
If your interested in my recent back problems, I was surprised to see that my MRI shows that I have a fractured back. A compression fracture in my lower spine. I am having treatment on it to relieve the pain and it still may slow me just a tad. I still intend to try to get some photographs, however crawling on the ground to get them may not be an option for awhile.
Today during our bird feeding stop at the park, we saw our first Bullock’s Oriole of the year. It was perched high up at the top a mesquite. I stopped the van and hand-held my Canon 7D with the 500mm lens out the window. I would have attached my 1.4 teleconverter, but had no time to do so. Here is the shot of the wet and bedraggled bird. They are similar to the Baltimore Oriole and both are sometimes merged as a single species, the Northern Oriole. The Bullock’s Orioles should be around here until mid-September.
I have been a little late with my posts here. I am having back problems, as yet the cause undetermined. I am having an MRI on Wednesday so maybe I can get a diagnosis soon. In the meantime, I have difficulty sitting at the the computer for long periods.
Yesterday was our monthly Birding Adventure for April. With Ann’s help and me carrying a cane, we pulled it off. We had eleven fellow birders join
us. Some from the Midland-Odessa area and some from the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex. A new local birder to join us was Mr. Ken Coley, recently retired. A really good time was had by all.
We spent nearly an hour at the bird blind as Ann had fed the birds earlier and they were very active. Some of the people with us were novices, even more so than Ann and I. But it was fun for all trying to identify all the species.
After leaving the bird blind for a short drive-around we saw the first Ospreys of the year, at least for me. Also, we saw newly arrived Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, a Rock Wren, and a Snowy Egret among others. After the tour was “officially” over at 11:00 a few birder stayed awhile. It was then I saw another lifer. My first Lark Bunting. He was pretty far off, but by hand-holding my 500mm from inside the van, (not good for the back), I was able to get an image, albeit not a great one. But good enough for an ID. I will insert a few images from yesterday.
In other news the sightings continue to come in from Suzanne and Sid Johnson in Eldorado. Some of their latest finds included a Snow Goose and an Eurasian Widgeon. Only the third sighting in history here for the widgeon.
I will try not to be too late for my next post. but with things the way they are please be patient and keep checking back.
Ann and I went to San Angelo State Park this morning to take care of the bird blind. We got the water turned on a few days ago, and park personnel drained and cleaned the little pool for us. So this morning we were out there with our weedeater, getting it spruced up.
We spotted our first American Robin, a guaranteed harbinger of spring. We also noticed that the mesquite are starting to get their leaves. That also, is a good sign of spring. We sat in the blind for awhile and watched the usual population of birds for this time of year. We also spotted three Northern Bobwhite and the Spotted Towhee pictured below.
This photo to the left is a Bewick’s Wren that has built a nest on our patio in a decorative bird house that Ann and put out there. Perhaps we may have a little family there.