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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
Thank you, Jane, for those kind words. Yes, Ann and i remember you. We are anxious to go back there, too.
This post is positively a feast for the eyes! I loved every photo, Bob, but especially enjoyed the yellow-billed cuckoo.
Thanks so much, Amy. I am so glad that you liked them so much. Comments like that are what keeps me going on these post.
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! 🙂
Thanks, Jo. I was very pleased with all of them. The light was so perfect that day. A little over-cast and no harsh shadows to worry about.
Great shots, Bob. You caught a couple of birds that I’ve never had the good fortune to get up there and did the standard awesome job. Well done.
Thanks, Jim. I just love those blinds at Pedernales Falls. I will probably be going there more often in the future. I appreciate your nice words.
Nice to see you at my stomping grounds. I have yet to see a White-eyed Vireo there. Good job!
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.
I loved the Yellow Warbler the most! Great great captures, Bob! 🙂
Thank you very much, Nandini
What a great birding day, great captures and lovely variety, Bob!
Thank you much, Donna 🙂
Just about impossible to pick out a favorite photo on this post, Bob! They’re all great photos.And congrats on the 57 species in one day!!
Thanks, Judy, for that nice comment. It was a fun day and will be hard to top. 🙂
Sounds like a great place to bird. Good variety.
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.
Great captures Bob! 🙂
Thank you, H.J.
One thing: I think your Bay-Breasted is an Orange-Crowned. Split eye-ring, no wing bars.
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. 🙂
Love the cuckoo. All great photos. Glad the birds and blinds were ready for you, looks like it was a beautiful day. 🙂
Thanks, Lisa. The weather was slightly overcast, making the light perfect for photos.