A Prickly Experience


Yesterday, Wednesday, Ann and I decided to make a return trip to Spring Creek and Middle Concho parks.  The weather was nice, turned out to have a high of 71.  We called Jodie Wolslager, our birding and photographic friend and asked her to join us.  She just recently received her Canon 500mm f4 lens and was anxious to get some inaugaurative photos.  And guess what, with her first shot with it, she nailed a shot of a Great Blue Heron in flight.

It was a real fun day.  The birds were active.  Lots of surprises.  But the biggest surprise was as we were making a cruise through Spring Creek park, a Porcupine mozied out of the woods.  It was the first time I ever saw a porcupine live (not roadkill), in the open and walking around.  Jodie and I both got out of the car and keeping far out of the way so not to panic it, we followed until it returned to a tree at the edge of the woods.  It promptly climbed it, found a fork about 10 feet above the ground, then got comfortable.  Here are a couple of my images.

Porcupine

Porcupine in tree

Later, I was also able to get these images of a juvenile Belted Kingfisher.  It was pretty far away, so I used my 2X tele-converter on my 500mm lens, hand-held.  I am not completely happy using that set-up because of the manual focus.  I was able to save the photos with editing, but I may be better off just using the 1.4 tele-converter, where I have auto-focus, and then just cropping closer.  It’s fun to experiment with different methods, though.

Belted Kingfisher - juvenile

Belted Kingfisher - juvenile

For the birders out there who might be interested, our total count for about three hours was 28.  A lot of that time was spent doing photography, though.

  • 1.   Vermilion Flycatcher
  • 2.   Great Blue Heron
  • 3.   Double-crested Cormorant
  • 4.   Northern Shoveler
  • 5.   American Coot
  • 6.   Eastern Bluebird
  • 7.   American White Pelicans
  • 8.   Northern Harrier
  • 9.   Cooper’s Hawk
  • 10. Western Meadowlark
  • 11.  Pied-billed Grebe
  • 12.  White-winged Dove
  • 13.  Common Grackles
  • 14.  Ladder-backed Woodpecker
  • 15.  Red-winged Blackbird
  • 16.  Golden-fronted Woodpecker
  • 17.  Cedar Waxwing
  • 18.  Savannah Sparrow
  • 19.  Lesser Goldfinch
  • 20.  House Finch
  • 21.  Northern Mockingbird
  • 22.  Ring-billed Gull
  • 23.  Mute Swan
  • 24.  Black Vulture
  • 25.  Wild Turkey
  • 26.  Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • 27.  Cinnamon Teal
  • 28.  Osprey

But a fun day was had by all, and that’s good, because it looks like the weather is not going to be very favorable for the next week or so.  One more thing has happened since I started writing this post this morning.  Ann happened to look outside, and she saw what we decided was a Cooper’s Hawk, grab a White-winged Dove and fly into the trees with it.  I ran out, but all I saw as the hawk flew off, was a shower of feathers.

Click on any of the images for enlargements.  Talk at ya agin’ soon. 🙂