Vermilion Flycatcher and Great Blue Heron


My birding the past few weeks has almost been non-existent, as the birds seem to be taking an extended summer vacation elsewhere.  This morning Ann and I decided to to some get off our butts and see if there was anything new arriving since fall migration is drawing near, plus my best friend Shannon, texted me and told me, “Take Ann birding today”.  I took that as a good sign.  Heck, it doesn’t take much of a push to get me to go birding.

The weather was fantastic, temps in the mid-seventies when we started.  We went to Spring Creek Park, Middle Concho Park, and ended up by going out by Twin Buttes Reservoir.  By leaving early, around 8:00AM we were able to catch a few birds enjoying the cooler temps.  We birded a total of three hours and saw 22 species.  Really not much, inasmuch as we are used to seeing as many as 45 species in that time frame.

Vermilion Flycatcher Spring Creek Park San Angelo, Texas

Vermilion Flycatcher – male 1st year
Spring Creek Park
San Angelo, Texas

We visited Spring Creek Park first and saw a few birds, but the highlight was seeing some of my favorite Vermilion Flycatchers.  I captured the one above with my Canon 7D and 500mm lens with a 1.4 teleconverter attached.  I was about 30 yards away in my car.

Leaving that area we headed to Middle Concho Park.  We drove along the river and spotted a couple of Great Blue Herons on the other side, about 150 yards away.  We observed this one, below, for several minutes and needless to say, I took many images of it.  I have this habit of wanting to keep pressing that shutter, always hoping to catch that perfect moment or special pose.  I like this one.  I used the same setup as I did for the flycatcher, although this image is cropped a bit more because of the distance involved.

Great Blue Heron Middle Concho Park, San Angelo, Texas

Great Blue Heron
Middle Concho Park,
San Angelo, Texas

From there we headed to Twin Butte Reservoir.  We didn’t observe many species there, not enough to get some great photos anyway.  We were disappointed however to see how much this once huge lake had shrunk because of the drought. A once very busy boat ramp is at least a half mile from any water.  We pray for rain here daily.

I hope you enjoyed the photos.  Prints are available by contacting me at bob.zeller@aol.com.

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27 thoughts on “Vermilion Flycatcher and Great Blue Heron

  1. Really wonderful great blue heron photo, Bob. That’s a territorial display posture – did you notice what other birds the heron would have been paying attention to at the time? I’ve seen herons exhibit that behavior towards other herons and an egret, but I’m sure they would do it with other large interlopers around.

    • Hi Babs, sorry I almost seeing your comment. Actually, I didn’t see any other birds in that area at the time. It looked like he was alerted to something in the water. His feathers ‘puffed’ up like that for only a few seconds. As always, I enjoy your comments.

      • Thanks, Bob. It’s a good capture of his reaction to *whatever* it was. Here’s one of my stories about a territorial encounter between an adult male GBH and a juvenile: http://wp.me/p3sJPz-1c I like watching for those sorts of interactions, they don’t happen very often when we humans are around!

        • Entertaining is a good word choice. Thanks for checking out that link. Last week I had a chance to watch a GBH put the territorial moves on an egret. No good photos, but fascinating to watch.

  2. Two of your best shots, I think, Bob – not bad for a day’s birding that you nearly didn’t have! I really love the flycatcher – the colour of the background and the twigs that frame the bird – perfect. 22 species doesn’t sound at all bad – we would be pleased with that, anyway! I hope you get some rain (and some migrants!) soon!

    • I think I agree with you, Jo. As you probably know, I have several images of both of these birds, but I think that these are two of the best. It is always nice when the conditions are right, the lighting, not to mention getting the birds in nice poses. I appreciate that you understand these things, as a photographer yourself. Thanks for writing. 🙂

  3. That Shannon, she really knows what she’s talking about. See? If you hadn’t have gone, those beauties might never have been able to pose for a shot and immortalized on your blog. Would have been so sad. 🙂

    Gorgeous!!

  4. My two favorite birds..lovely shots of both..Our birds are scarce here to, Chickadees are stashing food away in the Pine tree along with the Nuthatches…take care and thanks for the wonderful photos..

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