This morning was mild but quite windy. Wanting to get out of the house and do a little birding, Ann and I headed to Middle Concho Park. With the winds, many of the smaller birds were hunkered down and out of sight. However, as we entered the park, something caught my eye in the water to my left. At first I thought it was a Doubled-crested Cormorant, but did a double-take when I noticed a quite larger bill, and the head didn’t look familiar. I knew that whatever it was, I knew I had never seen one before. I told Ann that I was going to chase it down and try to get photos.
It had started swimming away from us, farther down this long inlet that eventually emptied into the river. It bordered a Disc Golf Course. Nobody was there, so I drove the car across the course to the water and drove along the shore. The creature was making good time, occasionally diving under the water then coming up another 100 yards farther down. I was finally able to catch up and was able to prop my 500mm lens on the window and get some shots. We were then able to check the image in the camera with our Stokes guide and found that it was a Common Loon. It is rare to our San Angelo area and it turned out to be lifer number 264 for me.
Driving farther along that same body of water, we then saw this Great Blue Heron doing some hunting. It was completely oblivious of me as I slowly drove my car up within 25 feet of it. I again used my 500mm lens with a 1.4. teleconverter and it was almost too much lens. The photo below is full framed un-cropped except a little from the sides for size. I love the detail of the feathers. Give credit to the outstanding Canon L series lenses.
Later we also saw this graceful Great Egret doing a little searching for prey.
It was a fun morning, getting to photograph two of my favorite birds and also getting another addition to my life list. Click on any image to see an enlargement.