Middle Concho and Spring Creek Birding Hotspot

Just when I thought it could’t get any better.  Middle Concho Park and Spring Creek Park are two adjacent parks at the confluence of Middle Concho River and Spring Creek, where they meet at Lake Nasworthy, here in San Angelo.  I think that is the easiest way to explain their location.  One park is on one side of the river,and the other park on the other side.  However to get from one side to the other, takes about a three mile trip around, back to the bridge that goes over the lake.  Confused??  We’ll just leave it at that.  I remember the joke about the guy on one side of the river calling to a guy on the other side.  He calls over, “Hey, pal, how do I get to the other side?”  The other guy calls back, “You idiot, you are on the other side”. 🙂

The way we bird these parks is to just cruise through the area on the many little lanes and roads, at idling speed of 1-2 miles mph.  Keep your eyes watchful, and you ears listening.  Watch into the trees and along the shorline of the river.  I must admit, in winter it is a bit easier because of the absence of leaves on the trees.  In nice weather we once in a while, sit my camera on a tripod near a picnic table, and just wait and watch.

So getting back to my post here, you remember a previous post a couple of days ago about Ann and I seeing 24 species in a couple of hours.  Well, I don’t know how it could have got any better, but when we made a return trip (again) Saturday, we saw a whopping 34 species in about 3 hours.  During that time, I was also shooting photographs, 442 images in all, if anyone is counting.  Here is a sampling of three.

Cooper's Hawk

Red-naped Sapsucker


I will put the EXIF photo settings at the bottom of this page.  But first here is a complete list of the birds we saw and/or photographed. (Mostly saw). 🙂

  • Northern Mockingbird   6
  • American Coot   200+
  • Double-crested Cormorants   25
  • Northern Shoveler   100+
  • Golden-fronted Woodpecker   4
  • Great Egret   4
  • Gadwall  50+
  • White-winged Doves   75+
  • Green-winged Teal   4
  •  Cinnamon Teal   2
  • Great Blue Heron   7
  • Black Vulture   3
  • Western Meadowlark   10
  • Great Horned Owl   1
  • Pied-billed Grebe   5
  • Eastern Bluebirds   25
  • House Finch   12
  • Great-tailed Grackles   25
  • Red-tailed Hawk   1
  • Yellow-Rumped Warbler   30
  • Savannah Sparrow   12
  • Lesser Goldfinch   3
  • White-crowned Sparrow   5
  • Red-winged Blackbird   3
  • Northern Flicker   1
  • Northern Cardinal   1
  • American Robin   1
  • Belted Kingfisher   1
  • Mallard   1
  • Ring-billed Gull   1
  • Blue Jay   1
  • Inca Dove   3
  • Cooper’s Hawk   3
  • Red-naped Sapsucker   1

About the photos.

Cooper’s Hawk.  The hawk was sitting in a tree.  I maneuvered my Ford Edge around so I could shoot it from my driver’s side window.  Canon 7D, 500mm lens with 1.4 teleconverter, 1/1000 sec. @ f11, ISO 400.

Red-naped Sapsucker.  I got out of the car and hand-held my Canon 7D with Canon 100-400mm lens.  1/1250 sec. @ f6.3 +0.3EV.  ISO 2000

Gadwall.  The bird was in the water about 15 yard from the shore.  I propped my Canon 7D with the 500mm lens and 1.4 tele-converter, on the hood of my car, resting it on a SafariSack support.  1/1000 sec. @ f10, ISO 400.

30 thoughts on “Middle Concho and Spring Creek Birding Hotspot

  1. You were right, Bob–I would have had a handful of life list adds if schedules would have lined up on Saturday and I could have joined you and your bride over at Middle Concho & Spring Creek. Nice shots. Hopefully things will work out in January when I wander back.

  2. I have a little Red naped Sapsucker visiting my maple tree this season. “The Maple Tree Cafe” I call it. I see all sorts of lovely birds right outside my dining room window, but never even close to 34!

    Eye candy and a chuckle to start my day today! Thanks Bob!

  3. Bob,

    I do believe you are now officially 50% photographer, 50% birder. 🙂 You take marvelous photos, AND you write down what you saw, where, when, and are eager to share that info with others. That’s what good birders do.

    As always, your posts are such a pleasure, jokes included.

    Christmas blessings,


    • Thanks, Bruce. That is very nice of you. You are right. I am enjoying the birding as much as I do the photography. I also enjoy writing this stuff.
      Merry Christmas to you, too.


  4. I think your Coopers Hawk looks quite different from the one you were trying to help me identify a few weeks ago – there is plenty of challenge in the passtime of birding, isn’t there?

    • Karen, why don’t you e-mail that photo of yours to me again at bobzeller1@aol.com. I’d like to have another look at it. There are so many nuances to look at, especially between the Coopers and the Sharp-shinned. I wonder what I looked in yours to make the decision. In mine, above, I looked the pale eye. The Sharp-shinned’s eyes are a brighter yellow, for example.

      But I wouldn’t be surprised if someone wrote and told me I am wrong. But that is part of the fun of birding. It is definitely a learning process.

        • You are right. Mine has reddish eyes, too, but a bit duller, probably because it is a bit younger. If it was a Sharp-shinned it would have bright yellow eyes. BTW, I magnified the original file in my computer and the eyes show up better to be dark red..

  5. Hey Bob,
    I’m back from Florida. Had a great time! I liked your joke very much! 🙂
    Great birding count too! Nice photos.

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