Were Having a Heat Wave…….


It has been so hot here lately, that the birds are even staying indoors.  They’re probably couch potatos, lounging there in front of the TV watching “Birders “R Us., or “How to Look Cute in Front of a Camera Lens”.  There are probably pictures of an Avian drinking Evian.  Cute play on words, eh??  Sheesh, how corny can I get?  I think the heat is effecting me. 🙂

So that is probably where they were when I went out to look for a few camera ops.  The temperature was showing 106 in the car.  Oh, what is a birder to do on days like this.  Well, I take the shots that I can, then move along.

Here are three photos that I managed to get yesterday.

Curve-billed Thrasher

Curve-billed Thrasher

baby Vermilion Flycatcher on nest.  Heat didn't bother it.

baby Vermilion Flycatcher on nest. Heat didn’t bother it.

The nest in the above photo was only about 5 or 6 inches across.  I had difficulty locating it with the camera lens.  I was using my 500mm lens and only the center focus point.  Along with spot metering I was able to get the image.

Northern Bobwhite

Northern Bobwhite

Better days are coming.  “Owl be baaaack” later with more photos.

Click on any image to see enlargements.

They’re Titmouses, not Titmice


Catchy title to get your attention.  I was sitting here trying to decide what to post about.  I have been idle, just goofing off for the past week or so.  Time to write, but what to write about.  Time for the old “throw the dart trick”.  I threw the dart, it bounced off the wall and fell to the floor.  So much for that deal. So I flipped a coin, and it came up Titmouse.  Don’t ask…..

I haven’t written about Titmouses, not Titmice, in quite some time, maybe never.  I don’t recollect.  Anyway here in the west we have the Black-crested Titmouse, and in the east they have the Tufted Titmouse.  Same bird except the difference in the tufted little crown.  It’s grey in the east, by the way.  The dividing line is somewhere around the center of Texas, and you’ll see each of them around there.  To be truthful, they don’t go any farther west.  Hmmm..

I dug through the old archives;  actually old files, but I like to call them archives.  It sounds more impressive, don’t ya think?  You would think from that, they are carefully stored for generations to come.  Not.  I actually just file them away in my image file, where they may or may not get lost, depending on how careful I am with tagging them.

In those archives, I found these images that you might enjoy.

Black-crested Titmouse

Black-crested Titmouse

Black-crested Titmouse

Black-crested Titmouse

Black-crested Titmouse being hassled by a Black-throated Hummingbird.

Black-crested Titmouse being hassled by a Black-chinned Hummingbird.

Black-crested Titmouse

Black-crested Titmouse

Black-crested Titmouse

Black-crested Titmouse

Black-crested Titmouse

Black-crested Titmouse

Black-throated Titmouse

Black-crested Titmouse

And there you have it.  My best collection of Titmouses.  I need to get out more.  I need to sharpen that dart, too.

Click on any image to see an enlargement.

Birds and a snake….


It has been nearly ten days since my last post.  I’ve been pretty active, just not doing much photography for a few days.  We spent the last weekend in Fredricksburg visiting with some very dear friends from Houston.  We visited the Nimitz Museum with it’s adjacent World War II exhibits.  We also made a trip to Enchanted Rock, a mammoth solid sandstone rock/hill/mountain.  Call it what you will.  Afterwards we quaffed a couple of cold drafts at the local beer garden.  A wonderful time was had by all.  It was nice to get away and do something different.  I believe it was the first time in many years that I made a trip somewhere and didn’t come home with a memory card filled with images.  This time it was just photos of our friends and us.

Anyway, back to the present.  Yesterday, Wednesday, we took a friend on our little birding trip.  She wanted advice on her photography and camera use.  She came away with a large assortment of photos, as did I.  Here are a few of mine.  I hope you enjoy them and click on any of them to see enlargements.

Great Egret doing a bit of feeding.

Great Egret doing a bit of feeding.

Brown-headed Cowbird

Brown-headed Cowbird

Bullock's Oriole

Bullock’s Oriole

Vermilion Flycatcher - female

Vermilion Flycatcher – female

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

Great Blue Heron wrestling with a snake.  It took several minutes for the heron to eventually win the fight and swallow it.

Great Blue Heron wrestling with a snake. It took several minutes for the heron to eventually win the fight and swallow it.

Monday Morning Images


On Monday morning Ann and I decided that we would start the week with a little birding, and of course that sometimes leads to some photo ops.  We decided to check out the “honey hole” that I told you about before.  We headed out west on Highway 67 to the turnoff that goes to the parks around Twin Buttes Reservoir.  It is about a mile’s drive to the honey hole, or the mud puddle that it actually is.  Amazing.  By the time we had driven a half mile down the road, we had spotted a Northern Bobwhite (pictured below), Northern Mockingbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Mourning Dove, Lark Sparrow, Pyrrhuloxia, Bullock’s Oriole, Painted Bunting, and an Ash-throated Flycatcher.  Nine species, and we had just got started and had not even gotten to our destination.

At the water hole, which has dried up to a puddle about 5′ x 5′, we added a few more before leaving to drive around and over the Twin Buttes dam, reaching the Middle Concho and Spring Creek Parks, where we saw some wading birds.  In total we saw thirty-three different species.  Unfortunately I couldn’t possibly photograph them all.  Here are four of those of what I did get.

Northern Bobwhite is mesquite tree.

Northern Bobwhite is mesquite tree.

Canyon Towhee

Canyon Towhee

"Rats!!  Missed it!!

“Rats!! Missed it!!

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

I hope you enjoyed the photos.  Click on any of them to see enlargements.  To see more photos that I am proud of, click on the FLICKR logo on the right side of this page.  It may be another week before another post as we are taking a few days off before heading to Fredericksberg, Texas to join some close friends for the weekend.

The Pretty Summer Tanagers


A very pretty bird that can be found around this Concho Valley of west Texas is the Summer Tanager.  They are not in great numbers, but when you see one you will not forget it.  The photos below were taken near Christoval, Texas about 20 miles south of San Angelo.

I love the differences between the sexes.  The male is the bright red and the female is a bright yellow.  The juvenile is what you expect, a mixture of both. I hope you enjoy these images. Click on either one to see an enlargement.

Summer Tanager - male

Summer Tanager – male

Summer Tanager - juvenile

Summer Tanager – juvenile

Summer Tanager - female

Summer Tanager – female

More images from the past……


It seems that I have got behind on posting to this blog.  Trying to keep up with yard chores and other errands have slowed me down.  We drove out to my “honey hole, and found that it is nearly dried up, and there was a noticeable absence of birds.  I am also trying to re-organize my photos.  I am considering abandoning my Flickr site and going to another photo viewing site.  Stay tuned on that.

Anyway, during my photo searching and organizing, I came across a few photos that are probably new to you.  I hope you enjoy.  Click on any image to see an enlargement.

Bewick's Wren

Bewick’s Wren

Hermit Thrush

Hermit Thrush

Western Bluebird

Western Bluebird

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Black-crested Titmouse

Black-crested Titmouse

Wilson's Snipe

Wilson’s Snipe

Osprey

Osprey

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Audubon – Yellow-rumped Warbler

Our Birding Honey Hole


First, it should be explained that in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, honey hole is defined as slang for a location that yields large quantities of valued commodities.  Quite often it is applied to great personal fishing spots.  In our case, it is a hot spot for birds.  We discovered it several days ago near Twin Buttes Reservoir near a park area.  It is nothing more than a puddle of standing water, about 50 feet by 15 feet, surrounded by about five Mesquite trees.  Until it dries up, which will happen in a few days under this hot Texas sun unless we get more showers to fill it up again, it will be our little birding mecca.

Ann and I, after getting some yard chores done, decided to run over there this morning, which is only a couple of miles from our house.  We spent one hour and thirty-five minutes.  We just parked about twenty feet from the puddle/pond, turned the engine off and just watched from the car.  I had my Canon 7D with a 500mm lens and 1.4 teleconverter at the ready.  We weren’t disappointed.  In that short period we saw and ID’d nineteen species, saw another that we couldn’t identify, then also heard a Common Nighthawk and a Northern Bobwhite.  A total of 21 identifiable.  Here are a few photos from our little trip.

Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher

Painted Bunting - female

Painted Bunting – female

There were several Bullock’s Orioles and one female was foraging in the bark of a mesquite for grubs.  This sequence of photos shows her success.

Bullock's Oriole - female, searching for grubs.

Bullock’s Oriole – female, searching for grubs.

Gotcha!!!

Gotcha!!!

Mmmmm  Good!!!

Mmm Good!!!

Here is a list of all 21 species that we encountered this morning in and hour and thirty-five minutes.

  1. Vermilion Flycatcher
  2. Canyon Towhee
  3. Bullock’s Oriole
  4. House Sparrow
  5. Ash-throated Flycatcher
  6. Curve-billed Thrasher
  7. Northern Mockingbird
  8. Black-throated Sparrow
  9. Painted Bunting
  10. Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
  11. Greater Roadrunner
  12. Brown-headed Cowbird
  13. Northern Cardinal
  14. House Finch
  15. Northern Bobwhite – heard
  16. White-winged Dove
  17. Pyrrhuloxia
  18. Common Nighthawk – heard
  19. Red-winged Blackbird
  20. Lark Sparrow
  21. Killdeer

We also saw an un-identified bird splashing in the water, that bore resemblance to a Yellow-rumped Warbler, but it was too wet and scrubby looking to make a definite ID.  Hope you enjoyed the photos.  Click on any of them to see enlargements.