Birding Pedernales Falls State Park

Before I get started, I would like to remind you to click on the title of this post and you will see many more photos and the complete narrative.

We have had a really busy big week.  We had plans to go to to Pedernales Falls State Park, near Johnson City, Texas.  We were to leave on Tuesday.  But on Monday before we were to leave, I and my neighbor Carl Williams, decided to do a little birding and photography locally.  Ann stayed at home to do some laundry and other household chores. She was to regret it.  Why??  Because she missed out on our best day of birding yet.

Carl and I headed to Lake Nasworthy to bird the two local parks there, Middle Concho and Spring Creek.  We checked out every possible bird we saw, for a period of about four hours.  We eventually saw and identified a grand total of 57 species.  The biggest birding day that I have ever had.  Here are a couple of photos from that day.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

The cuckoo was nearly hidden in the trees, but I managed to point that center focus point in the camera between the leaves and branches.

Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher

I love to photograph these little red flycatchers anytime I get the chance.

So, now, onto the subject of this post.

Ann and I left Tuesday morning about 8:00 and headed towards Johnson City, a distance of 177 miles, Pedernales Falls State Park being just a few miles east of there. We had room reservations at a motel in Fredericksberg, but check-in time wasn’t until 4:00 so we had plenty of time to bird the park.  We arrived at the park at about 11:00 AM.

We birded the blinds there until about 3:00PM, then left for Fredericksberg about 40 miles away.  After having a supper of fajitas and a cold beer at Mamacita’s Mexican Food Restaurant, we retired to our room at the Sunday House Motel.  The next morning, Wednesday, we headed back to Johnson City and the state park again.  We stayed there again until mid-afternoon.  Pedernales Falls State Park has two bird blinds and both are very comfortable, having benches and large glass viewing windows.

During the two days, we added 6 species to our 2014 “Big Year” list,bring that total to 163, then I added 3 to my life list, which now stands at 272.  Here are photos from there.  Click on any of them to see enlargements.

White-eyed Vireo

White-eyed Vireo

House Finch

House Finch

Bay-breasted Warbler taking a bath.  Female, 1st year, summer

Bay-breasted Warbler taking a bath. Female, 1st year, summer

Yellow Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Carolina Chickadee

Carolina Chickadee

Nashville Warbler

Nashville Warbler

Painted Bunting

Painted Bunting

Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager

All photos were taken using my Canon EOS 70D with  a Tamron 150-600mm lens mounted on a Manfrotto tripod with a Wimberley gimbal head.  I was sitting on a bench inside the blinds.  The glass windows, though being very clear, are slanted and that had some effect on the auto-focus and some of the images were a tiny bit fuzzy.  I was able to correct that with Focus Magic software.

The three new life-list additions were a Common Ground Dove, Bay-crested Warbler, and Purple Finch.

The last “Big Year” list update I published took you to number 147.  Here are the additions since then:

148  American Avocet

149  Indigo Bunting

150  Painted Bunting

151  MacGillivray’s Warbler

152  Bronzed Cowbird

153  Yellow Warbler

154  Willet

155  Stilt Sandpiper

156  Yellow-billed Cuckoo

157  Pectoral Sandpiper

158.  Yellow-breasted Chat

159  Common Ground Dove

160  Bay-breasted Warbler

161  Nashville Warbler

162  Purple Finch

163  White-eyed Vireo

27 thoughts on “Birding Pedernales Falls State Park

  1. Birding with you and Ann that day at Pedernales State Park was a delight, Bob. My friend, who was a first-time birder, keeps asking when we are going again. Your pictures, as expected, are excellent.

  2. What a colourful rainbow of birds! Congratulations on your new total. You must be pleased with that pic of the cuckoo – I can see how well hidden he was! Vireo, hmmm, will remember that for Scrabble! 🙂

    • Jason, Pedernales Falls is one our favorite places to bird. We just haven’t been there too many times, but I think we may try to get there more often. I love those blinds. As for the White-eyed Vireos, these are the best photos that I have ever had the chance to get. Thanks for the compliment.

    • Yes, Dave, it is an excellent place to bird. Very near Austin and the central Texas hill country. The elusive Golden-cheeked Warbler can sometimes be found here. Many reports of it while we were there, but we didn’t spot it ourselves.

    • In some blurred images I caught, there were some visible wing bars, and the image is identical to the photo on page 621 of Stokes Field Guide to North American Birds. Another birder, more knowledgeable than me, was present and he agreed with me. But at first, I thought the same about an Oranged-crowned Warbler.

      • Oh okay. Thanks for the explanation, didn’t mean to challenge you! We had an Orange-Crowned there too so I probably jumped the gun. I’ll look at Stokes and Crosley. Tend to use Sibley more than anything but have other warbler guides too, come to think of it.

        • No problem, Lisa. That is what fun about birding. Many conversations come up about IDs. On this wet bird, you can still see a trace of the white wing bars. I also saw an Orange-crowned Warbler, but my shot isn’t really great. I will see if I can show it in another post.

        • Cool. I have some of the Orange-Crowned too. I’ll look later, probably not tonight. Now that I look at the bill and the eye closer your bird does look more like a Bay-Breasted. By the way, the banding parlance I learned in Belize is “after hatch year” assuming she didn’t hatch this year. 🙂

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