Some scenic photos.

The subject of this blog is supposed to be birding, photography, and utter nonsense.  Well, you’ve seen a lot of my birding photographs, and hopefully got a laugh out my utter nonsense, but I’ve never got into talking about my scenic photography.

Actually, landscape and flower photography was my major effort before somebody got me hooked on birding.  This afternoon I ordered from B&H Photo a Canon 10-22mm, f3.5-4.5 super wide angle lens.  I have decided that I need to get back to some scenic landscape and flower photography. 

Now that doesn’t mean that I am abandoning my birds and wildlife.  Absolutely not!  However, this does give me an excuse to show off a few of my older landscape photos here.  See how smooth I got that all in?? 🙂

First up is one of my favorite shots of Santa Elena Canyon.  I had waded across Terlingua Creek so I could take the trail up to an observation point inside the entrance to the canyon.  After reaching that OP, I continued a little further on the trail.  I decided to get a vertical shot of the canyon, but I needed to show something that would give the photo some perspective.  I stood on this 4-foot wide trail, about 75 feet above the Rio Grande River and waited for that tiny speck of a hiker that you can see down in the lower left of the picture.  Then I was able to get a very nice exposure, showing the sheer 1500 foot vertical cliffs.  That large rock you see along the shore around the bend is probably about four stories tall.  How’s that for perspective?

Hiker in Santa Elena Canyon

This next picture I have entitled “Beachcombers”.  We were vacationing in Michigan visiting relatives.  We were at the beach on Lake Michigan and my wife and her mother decided to search the shoreline for driftwood, etc.  The patterns of their footprints and the eroded pilings in the water caught my eye.


The photo of the mission ruins was taken down at Menard, Texas.  The mission, as you can see, is mostly fallen down.  As a matter of fact, as we speak, it is really in pieces, as a conservationist group is in the act of completely restoring it.  However, when I took the photo I liked the way that I could get the two arches to interact.  I sold the one-time rights to Wild West Magazine two years ago for an article they were doing about the Presidio De San Saba mission.

Presidio de San Saba

There is a movie set on the Rio Grande river just a little west of the resort of Lajitas.  Several movies including “Dead Man’s Walk”, and a Brooks and Dunne music video were made there.  When I first discovered the place it was really on private property.  I just wandered on to it, thinking I had run across and old Mexican village.  But then I noticed that some of the “buildings” were just imitations.  Of course, it is now part of Big Bend Ranch State Park and open to the public.

Casa Adobe

I hope you enjoy the photos.  If so, I may add some more at a later date.  Click on any image for an enlargement.

Nine-banded Armadillo

We went to the San Angelo State Park wildlife viewing area this morning  to feed the birds and we surprised this Nine-banded Armadillo romping in and around the little pond.  I believe it is an adult pregnant female.  Enjoy the photo and click on the image for an enlargement.

Nine-banded Armadillo

A better day than yesterday

After not having much luck down at the South Llano State Park bird blinds, we returned to our old stomping grounds here at San Angelo State Park.

Actually, Ann went out there earlier with Pam Guelker, another birder, and the two of them mowed the grass at the blind.  I couldn’t be of much help yet because the doc said to take it easy on my back until I get the next x-ray.  Yes, I know that gives me an available excuse. 🙂  Anyway, after they were through, Ann came back to the house and picked me up.

Cactus Wren

We went back to the blind first for about an hour and saw a good collection including a Cactus Wren.  (They had done a great job of mowing, by the way).  After that we did a little drive around and saw some Herons and Black-necked Stilts on the lake.  I also spotted an American Kestrel.  The first one in several weeks.

I have notice that I have several overseas readers.  At least one in each of England, Australia, and Canada.  Okay, so Canada isn’t overseas, but you know what I mean.   So a hearty Hello! from San Angelo.  I don’t need to add Texas, as the only San Angelo in the USA is right here in Texas.  I guess that is best.  I don’t think San Angelo, New Jersey or San Angelo, Wisconsin would sound right.  Not southwesternish enough.  (I have a feeling I will get letters.) 🙂

Happy Birding!!

July State Park birding tour

Well, it looks like the rains are gone for a while.  We awoke this morning and wondered if the monthly Adult Birding Adventure at the park would be rained out.  We went to breakfast at Kenny Blanek’s Village Cafe and we could see broken clouds with daylight shining through.

By the time we got to the park to feed the birds it was warming up and the air was steamy with humidity.  Everything had gotten a pretty good soaking.   Apparently most of the birders thought we would continue to have rain so the participating crowd actually wasn’t a crowd at all.  Besids Ann and I, we only had five takers.  One was a new birder, Jeannie, from Hunt, Texas.  She has been visiting San Angelo for the last five days and was fixin’ to leave later today.  But a fine time was had by all.  We actually birded for about three hours and saw a total, according to Ann, of about 33 species.  Not too bad.

We’re taking a day trip to Junction and Llano State Park on Monday so maybe I’ll have some new things to report after that.  If you remember, we went there a couple of weeks ago to get the lay of the land.  Now we feel we know our way around there and know the best places.

Happy Birding!!

Today’s new birding news.

Heck, I sure am running behind.  I just realized that it has been several days since my last post.  Still doing the same old fun stuff.  Birding, taking photographs, watching the Texas Rangers baseball games.  Life doesn’t get any better than this.

Ann, Jodie, and I went birding for the whole day on Monday.  I can’t believe we spent so much time at the park.  We really explored the whole place.  We went to the North Shore and saw some birds that we hadn’t seen at the South Shore.  Eastern Phoebes for one.  We also checked out the Isabel Harte park area and the equestrian area.

Bronzed Cowbird

A week or so ago we saw a Zone-tailed Hawk, a lifer for me.  Those birds act like a Turkey Vulture, and nearly look like one, as least the way the sit on a tree branch.  Yesterday, we saw our first Bronzed Cowbird of the year.  We also saw three Painted Buntings, singing at the tops of some trees.  Caught a great photo of a Blue Grosbeak.

Blue Grosbeak

In other news, I had mentioned before that I have a compression fracture on my spine.  I think, and hope, that it may be healing.  This morning I had an injection of Re-clast to strengthen my bones.  It is an annual injection so I am good to go for a while.

Enjoy the photos and click on either one to see an enlargement.  Happy Birding!!

Kingbird nest re-visited

Since I took nearly seventy photos of the Western Kingbird on Thursday, I had this image showing the kingbird to the side of the nest watching over the babies.  At first I thought it was to under-exposed, but thanks to good photo editing I was able to brighten it up enough to post here.  By the way, the fledges are just about ready to attempt to leave the nest.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they were flying by tomorrow.

Western Kingbird on nest.

This morning as Ann and I were driving around after taking care of the bird blind, we came across this Brown Rock Dove.  It is not a rare bird, but one that is seldom sighted.  This one was near the Prairie Dog village at the San Angelo State Park.

Brown Rock Dove

Also I got lucky again, spotting this Northern Bobwhite, in a tree calling to a mate.  I heard it before I saw it.  Happy Birding and enjoy the photos.  Click on the images for an enlargement.

Northern Bobwhite

Nesting Correction

Okay, I am learning.  It seems that I made a mistake in my previous post.  I went by that nest today.  The light was better, and better still, the mother bird was easier to identify along with her young ones.  It is not an Ash-throated Flycatcher as I said previously.  It obviously is a Western Kingbird with her chicks.  I got lucky again and got what I think, is a great photo of her and her hungry fledglings.  So enjoy this photo below and click on the image for an enlargement.

In other news, Ann, Jodie Wolslager, and I made a trip to Llano State Park down at Junction a few days ago.  An enjoyable trip despite rainy on the way down, then hot and humid after we got there.  The bird blinds there, four of them, were really sweat-boxes because of the high humidity.  However, we saw many birds that we don’t usually see around San Angelo.  A Yellow-breasted Chat, Yellow-throated Vireo, both lifers for me, and a Black-throated Sparrow.  Those birds are around here but not in the large numbers as they are down there.  I want to make a return trip soon.

Western Kingbird with hungry children