Great Blue Herons and a Ladder-backed Woodpecker


I haven’t posted for a few days, but that is because the weather has been so danged nice, I just couldn’t sit at the computer.  I’ll probably be posting only about three or four times a week now, instead of my nearly daily doses during cold weather.

Ann and I went out yesterday, with the goal of hitting our favorite birding spots with a couple of little short stops along the way.  We ended up seeing 44 species during an approximately 4 hour span.

Great Blue Heron

We started off with spending about a hour at the bird blind at San Angelo State Park.  We wanted to see if the Green-tailed Towhee was still hanging around.  It was.  After we left there to head to Spring Creek Park, we stopped briefly at a pond in the Bluffs Addition, and saw our first American Wigeon of the year.

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

After stopping at that pond, we then proceeded to Spring Creek and then the Middle Concho Park.  Among the highlights was the spotting of two Western Bluebirds, a specie that is normally found west of San Angelo.  Actually, the previous day when visiting the park with a neighbor friend, we saw seven of those.   Aside from the pictured Ladder-backed Woodpecker, we also saw six Great Blue Herons, one of those is pictured above.

All in all, it was a very fun day.  If you’re interested, here is a complete list of our species for the four hour adventure.  Click on either image to see a glorious enlargement.

  1. Great Blue Heron   6
  2. Cinnamon Teal   7
  3. Green-winged Teal   4
  4. Gadwall   16
  5. American Coot   22
  6. Malard   7
  7. Northern Shoveler   30
  8. Northern Mockingbird   14
  9. Eared Grebe   1
  10. Western Bluebird   2
  11. Pied-billed Grebe   6
  12. House Finch   20
  13. Red-winged Blackbird   10
  14. Eastern Bluebird   12
  15. American Goldfinch   4
  16. Blue Jay   2
  17. European Starling   12
  18. Black Vulture   2
  19. Forster’s Tern   5
  20. Ring-billed Gulls   220
  21. Double-crested Cormorant   6
  22. Mute Swan   1
  23. Northern Cardinal   2
  24. Western Meadowlark   15
  25. White-crowned Sparrow   30
  26. Phyrrhuloxia   2
  27. Belted Kingfisher   1
  28. Golden-fronted Woodpecker   6
  29. Yellow-rumped Warbler   3
  30. Vermilion Flycatcher   1
  31. Curved-bill Thrasher   2
  32. Northern Flicker   2
  33. Osprey   1  (flyover)
  34. Ring-necked Duck   2
  35. American Wigeon   4
  36. Great-tailed Grackle   6
  37. House Sparrow   6
  38. Black-crested Titmouse   4
  39. Canyon Towhee   2
  40. Green-tailed Towhee   1
  41. Mourning Dove   1
  42. Ladder-backed Woodpecker   1
  43. Savannah Sparrow   14
  44. Eastern Phoebe   1

About the photos:  Both photos taken with my Canon 7D.

Great Blue Heron:  500mm lens with 1.4 tele-converter.  1/3200 sec. @ f8, -1.7EV, ISO 100.  I accidently adjusted the EV un-necessarily and had to correct in post processing.

Ladder-backed Woodpecker:  100-400mm zoom lens.  1/500 sec. @ f7.1, +0.3EV, ISO 500.

More birding formation.  I found out this morning that a Snowy Owl has been seen, photographed and verified, near Lake Ray Hubbard near Dallas, Texas.  Since it is about 300 miles east of San Angelo, I will not go to have a look.  Maybe it will head west…………. 🙂  Hey, we can always hope. 🙂

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30 thoughts on “Great Blue Herons and a Ladder-backed Woodpecker

    • I guess I should be happy with the weather here. It is fantastic……most of the time. 🙂 We sure do have a lot of species and I’m sure you will tooo, when the spring weather gets going good. Migration will be starting soon. Thanks for the compliments, M2M. 🙂

  1. Oh, I do hope you get to catch a glimpse of that snowy owl! 🙂 I am so amazed at how easily you are to point out the different species of birds… I guess it must take years of learning. Or carrying around a book? I’ve spotted birds many times on my little adventures, but I wouldn’t know where to begin in terms of identifying them. I think my favorite of these photographs is the woodpecker one… I just love that lil guy. He’s got such great style! 😉 Thanks again for another wonderful post, Bob!

    • Thanks so much, Polly, for a great comment. Actually, I have only been into birding for about four years. I do have several bird guides, and I enjoy perusing them all of the time. I appreciate your reading all of my posts. 🙂

  2. Sitting here looking at my calendar..ways to go before our Blue Herons return to what I fondly call my Golden Pond. You had a fabulous day of birding..will miss your daily posts, but I know how the great outdoors beckons you. Keep us posted about the Snowy. Have a great day..headed for the studio for a day of painting..

  3. Yea, we can always hope! 🙂 Great bird adventure you had Bob. And 44 bird species in just 4 hours… is way too good. Texas is really a favorite spot for these birds.:D

    Great photos. 🙂

  4. Love your bird lists. I know it takes extra time to type it out, but I find it interesting and always read thru the list. Listing is not for everyone. But if you take the time to record each species and the number of each species, then you might as well share it with the rest of us. We birders are a little crazy that way.

    • Yes, aren’t we all. A little crazy, that is. I really don’t mind typing them all out. I am a pretty good typist. But it is fun to list all of them. I think that those 44 are a record day-count for just Ann and I. It could have been bigger, if we would have worked harder at it, I think.

  5. Bob, I love the Great blue image and I am fascinated with the Ladder-backed Woodpecker.

    I’ll ditto what Ron said. It would be nice to see at least one Snowy Owl through my viewfinder this winter.

    • Thanks, Mia. It seems that I can’t get enough of photographing Great Blues. That is one of my best Ladder-backed images. Usually I am only fortunate to see the females, and they aren’t as photogenic. We will watch for a Snowy. 🙂

  6. 44 birds in four hours is an amazing total! Excellent photos of the heron and woodpecker. The Snowy Owl must be very disorientated… that’s a long way south! Is it the first record for Texas?

    • I don’t know if the Snow Owl in Dallas is a first record, but it is definitely a rare find. But, I have read that this year the Snowies are beginning to move a bit south of their normal homes.

      Thanks for the compliments and comments, Jo. 🙂

  7. When you’re through with the Snowy (if it comes your way) tell it to go through Utah on its way home! We’ve had one sighting (with photos) this year and that’s been it.

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