Birding South Llano River State Park


Wanting to do some birding at a different venue for a change, Ann and I, along with Carl Williams, our neighbor, headed south to Junction, Texas and the South Llano River State Park.  About ninety miles from here, it took about an hour and a half to get there.  The weather was beautiful for us.  Mild temps and high thin overcast to diffuse the sun, and prevent those nasty harsh, contrasty shadows that us photographers dislike.

We knew that we would see some birds that we don’t usually see here in at the areas we frequent.  We were not disappointed.  SLRSP has four different walk-in bird blinds.  They are small buildings, with windows, and will seat up to a dozen people.  We checked out all four, and although a park host told us that there were few birds, we saw thirty one species.  All in a time frame of just over three hours.

I left my big 500mm lens home, opting to use exclusively my new Tamron 150-600mm lens.  Again, I was impressed.  I set the camera to Aperture Priority, using an opening of f7.1, and auto everything else.  My Canon EOS 70D performed it’s job as advertised.  I had nearly no bad exposures at all.  Also, I took most of my images with the lens extended to the 600mm maximum.  Here are some my efforts.  All images have been edited and cropped for composition

Western Scrub Jay

Western Scrub Jay

Spotted Towhee

Spotted Towhee

Black-throated Sparrow

Black-throated Sparrow

Western Bluebird

Western Bluebird

Field Sparrow

Field Sparrow

Lincoln's Sparrow

Lincoln’s Sparrow

American Robin

American Robin

Pine Sisken

Pine Siskin

Hermit Thrush

Hermit Thrush

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

Enjoy the images and click on any of them to see enlargements.

Update to my Big Year list.  Total now 109.

#97.   Cedar Waxwing

#98.   Vesper Sparrow

#100.  Black-throated Sparrow

#101.  Song Sparrow

#102.  Hermit Thrush

#103.  Western Scrub Jay

#104.  Carolina Chickadee

#105.  Fox Sparrow

#106.  Pine Siskin

#107.  Brown Thrasher

#108.  Field Sparrow

#109.  Lincoln’s Sparrow

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23 thoughts on “Birding South Llano River State Park

  1. Wow, what a stunning set of photos, Bob! I always love your photos but I think you’ve excelled yourself! I love the towhee especially – what beautiful plumage and eyes. 31 species in 3 hours – that is incredible! 🙂 I’m so glad to see you’re getting better opportunities for photography now.

    • Thanks so very much, Jo. I am glad, too, that our weather has improved, and I hope yours is getting better, too. I appreciate your kind words about my photos, and I believe they are getting better because of my new camera, the 70D, and the new Tamron 150-600mm zoom. That lens is awesome, I can’t say enough about it. 🙂

  2. I was reading this yesterday and got called away… Looks like the Tamron lens could be a “must” for Texas. If I don’t have to buy a new car first. I’ll keep my hopes up. Looking forward to seeing Scrub Jays and Black-Throated Sparrows again. Great shots!

    • Thanks, Dave. As for my settings, most of the time I just shoot in AV (aperture priority). For birds it is usually pretty much wide open, f5/6,f6.3, etc. The camera usually gives me the right shutter speed. Then it auto-ISO, auto-white balance. I don’t deviate unless I have to adjust the EV for bright, or real dark subjects. I like to keep it simple so I can concentrate on getting the photo.

    • Thanks, Jim. I had been there a couple of years ago. Yesterday the light was fantastic and that made it all the more enjoyable. I’m looking forward to going back in a few weeks.

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