The Kid’s Got Talent – The Sequel

I wanted to buy a camoflage jacket for when I am photographing birds, and do you know, I couldn’t find one?? 🙂

Okay, that was a corny joke, but I bet you got a chuckle out of it, didn’t you?  How about this one:  “I went out to pick up some cigarettes and someone stepped on my hand.” 🙂

I love one liners.  I love good, clean funny jokes.  The kind that you could hear from Steven Wright, Smothers Brothers, Jerry lewis, and the list goes on.  Clean jokes are absolutely the best in my opinion.

Take this Henny Penny thing for example.  People have always thought that she was yelling “The Sky is Falling”.   What really happened was that she happened to see a guy take a high dive from a tall building and she yelled “This guy is falling, this guy is falling.”

And I still think that Humpty-Dumpty was pushed.

But enough nonsense for awhile.  I will try to wipe this smile off of my face and write about my main subjects.  But forgive me if I happen to smirk a little.  I am in a smiling mood today.  🙂  What’s not to smile about, I’ve got my health,  great family, great friends.  And I am about to get published in the August issue of National Wildlife Magazine.

I think that’s what all of us professional photographers strive for.  That’s recognition, whether it is in magazines, on book covers or in newspapers.  It’s nice to get monetary compensation, such as I get from Wild West Magazine or Texas Farm and Ranch Magazine.  But if it is a national known publication, just a photo credit is nice as long as hey spell my name right.

It’s always nice to see my work hanging in public places.  One of my photographs covers the complete wall on the left when entering McDonald’s Restaurant on Southwest Blvd.   My photograph of the San Angelo Visitors Center graced a bill-board on Hwy 87 North a couple of years ago.  Boy, what an ego trip that was.

But my work is always for sale.  If anyone is interested in my prints or framed works, just watch the pictures on this blog or better yet, check out my complete photo gallery at

Well that’s it for this installment.  Hope you enjoyed the jokes.  By the way, I do steal most of my jokes, but what the heck, I think I tell them better. 🙂

I’d give my right arm to be ambi-dextrous. 🙂

Take my wife……….please! 🙂

I’m sorry, I can’t help myself.  Happy Birding!!

Snowy Plovers at San Angelo State Park

Yesterday, Friday, afternoon Melanie at the south gate to the park called and told me that another professional photographer had spotted a Snowy Plover in the Red Arroyo boat ramp parking lot.

I immediately high-tailed it out there to try and get my own photographs.  I had gotten an image of one at Twin Buttes several years ago, but never had been impressed with the photo, as that one had been quite a bit further away, and therefore not a real great image.  When we arrived it, the plover, was already walking away towards the weeds.  I sat my camera up some distance away and waited, but after an hour decided to wait ’til this morning.

Snow Plover watching over eggs.

So this morning, I and and Ann went back.  The bird wasn’t near the nest but with our binoculars we could see that there were two eggs instead of the single one that we had seen yesterday.  I set up my equipment near some bushes some distance away.  With my 500mm lens and a 2x tele-converter I wasn’t worried about not getting a good image. 

Snowy Plover

After about a thirty-minute wait, here comes not one Snowy Plover, but two Snowy Plovers.  They skittered around the parking lot, then eventually ended up near the “nest”.  Actually, the two eggs are on the tar and gravel parking lot surface.  One of the birds got on the eggs, and the other disappeared into the nearby brush and weeds.

I am inserting a couple of my photographs here for your enjoyment.  Click on either one for an enlargement.

As a foot-note, while were waiting, a Scaled Quail landed near us for a very brief two minute visit.  I decided against trying to get an image of it because I had my big lens sighted in on the plover eggs and didn’t want to risk of missing a shot.

Enjoy the photos, and Happy Birding!!

Early June Birding News

Gosh, this blog is supposed to be about birding and photography, and I have gotten off the track a little lately. But, heck, it’s my blog so I guess I can write whatever I want.   But I guess I should catch you up a little bit.

Actually there’s not to much going on right now.  I and Ann have been out to the park daily when feeding the birds and watching over the bird blind.  By the way the area around the bird blind has been mowed finally, and it looks just great.  We have not been birding at the blind, but been driving around the other areas of the park.

We’re seeing lots of Common Nighthawks, various sparrows, etc.  Nothing really unusual except a few more Yellow-billed Cuckoos than usual.  But that’s my opinion.  The lake continues to dry up and get smaller.  That translates into more difficulty in spotting any shore birds.  We have set a spotting scope and have seen some of the larger species such as Blue Herons, Black-necked Stilts and an occasional Osprey.  There are probably other small shore birds and sandpipers, but we are unable to see them.

Ken Coley just got back from a trip to Kentucky.  He added a couple more to his life list, a Louisiana Waterthrush, and an American Redstart.

There are lots of reports of more Mississippi Kites in the area.  Mike Erb thinks there are some nesting in the north part of the park.

Coming soon!!  Chapter two of “The Kid’s Got Talent”.  also Jim Cunningham is sending me some photos of a Peregrine Falcon that he photographed.  He is working on a bridge 150 feet above San Francisco Bay and there is an aerie (nest) up there.  I will post the photos here.

So for now, Happy Birding!

The Kid’s Got Talent

We watched America’s Got Talent last night.  It is one of Ann’s and my favorite reality talent shows.  You never know what you are going to see there.  From the idiotic to the fantastic, and everything in between.

Heck, I’ve got talent.  I could have been there if they had such programs when I was young.  But of course, I would have had to settle for radio, maybe getting on that program “Amateur Hour”.   My mother always told people that I could sing “Shanty Town” before I could walk.  Of course, that is utterly ridiculous.  In my memory it was “Fly Me To The Moon. 🙂

I really was blessed with a musical talent.  And for the first 55-60 years of my life it certainly was a large part of it.  Starting in the first grade I was a natural for singing.  I think I was about eight years old when I decided I wanted to play a musical instrument.  My parents took me to Berman’s Music Store in Muskegon,Michigan and told me to pick one out.  I had no idea what I wanted, but picked out a saxophone with all those shiny keys and said “it looks like will be fun to play”.  And a star was born. 🙂

I was about 12 when another older school friend, Ken Twining” asked me to

Bob Zeller

 play in his band for a school dance.  I think I was paid four dollars  for the night.  I even made my first public debut as a vocalist, singing “Because of You”.  My knees were knocking but all the little girls went “Woo Woo”.  I decided then that the music life was for me. 🙂

At fifteen I was playing with a 17 piece dance band,  Morrie Bechtel and His Orchestra, and touring western Michigan.  You must remember that through all this I still was in high school.  We didn’t have any stage bands like they have in the present schools.  I played in the high school band and Muskegon High School had one of the best bands in the state.  William Stewert, Jr. was the band leader and he was very, very strict.  And worst of all, disliked dance band music, and anyone that played it.

So, as one can predict, eventually he and I got crossed.  The high school band was having evening rehearsals for a major concert that was coming up.  Well, heck, I had a gig.  My combo was playing at Ted’s Night Club, and I wasn’t about to turn down the big bucks.  The next morning at high school band rehearsal, at school, in front of all the other school kids, Mr. Stewert said, “Mr. Zeller, we can no longer use your services”.   So that ended my days at Muskgon High School.  At that time, music was my life, and I didn’t want to stay in school.  As a foot-note, I did finish my high school education in later years.

So I continued with my music career with the big bands and some smaller groups.  After entering the Air Force I got stationed at Reno Nevada.  I had a little jazz quartet that played at the Siamese Lounge in the evenings.  When I wasn’t booked I would go to a place called the El Rancho or something like that.  It was an after hours place where musicans could get together after their regular gigs and jam until early morning.

In 1956 I got transferred to Ardmore AFB at Ardmore, Oklahome.  There I got hooked up with some western musicians.  What a blast that was.  After I got through with it, western swing was never the same again.  Me and my rockin’ sax with all them guitars.  Shades of Boots Randolph!  Yakitty Sax all the way!  About that time Judy Lynn came to Ardmore with the Grand Ole Oprey show.  Brenda Lee was on the show.  She was only ten years old at the time, and had been on the Perry Como show just a few weeks before.  Anyway, I was invited to play on the show with the accompanying country band.  Judy Lynn wanted me to up and go with her to finish the tour.  I had to decline as I was still obligated o the U. S. Air Force.  But thanks for asking.

Melody Rangers - Ardmore AFB, Okahoma

From Ardmore I went to Karamursel, Turkey which was a short boat trip over the Sea of Marmara to Istanbul.  While there I played in clubs in Istanbul, on the air base at Karamursel, then also down at Golcuk submarine base.  Lots of great stories there but they will have to wait.

When I got to San Angelo in 1961 I decided I could play jazz, big  band or western.  What ever was wanted.  The Cavalliers, a local band, wanted me to play with them.  They played rock-a-billy I guess you would call it.  We needed a singer, so we auditioned a guy by the name of J. Frank Wilson.  We worked with him so he would fit in.  Then someone, I don’t recall, wrote the song “Last Kiss”.  Frank was a natural for it.  We contacted a recording company and the Cavalliers with J. Frank went to Nashville and made a record that was the top of the nation charts for several months.  I, unfortunately, was not on the record.  By that time I had been discharged from the Air Force for medical reasons and had a day job as head bookkeeper for the Lake View School District.  I was unable to make the trip to Nashville.

To be continued, that is, if I get in the mood to tell stories later. 🙂

So what does all this have to with birding and photography.  Heck, danged if I know.  🙂