Birding fun in Uvalde, Texas


Okay, boys and girls, hang on to your hats.  I have a brazilion photos to show you from our two day trip to Uvalde, Texas.  At only about 195 miles south of San Angelo, it has much to offer in the way of birding.

Green Jay

Green Jay

First, I would like to mention that we arrived Wednesday afternoon at the Live Oaks Bed and Breakfast.  Owned and operated by Pat and Gaye Morris, it is a perfect way to spend a few days.  All the amenities that you would expect, plus a great breakfast.  Four rooms inside the main house, and three individual casitas of which we stayed in one called “Treehouse”.  No, silly people, we weren’t in a tree, but a wonderful little comfy cabin.  Click the above link for more information.

We decided to come to Uvalde when a Facebook friend, Bob Shackleford mentioned that his place was nearly overrun with Green Jays.  That really got my attention, as that was one bird that have dreamed of seeing and photographing for years.  I contacted him and invited myself to visit him when we came to Uvalde.  He has this delightful little bird blind, and sure enough there were more than enough Green Jays to satisfy any photographer.

Bob Shackleford's bird blind

Bob Shackleford’s bird blind

We were able to check in early Wednesday afternoon, so I called Bob and we decided to pay him and his wife, Marianne, a visit.  He wanted us to try out the blind immediately, and for a few minutes, I was rewarded with photo opportunities right away.

Green Jay

Green Jay

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

We didn’t stay in the blind very long since it was very hot, and we wanted to visit with Bob and Anne (pronounced Anna) a bit longer, before we had to go check in to our little casita.  Before we left, we made arrangements to return the following day which was my birthday, and spend the day.  Anne, had already baked a cake for my birthday.  How great is that?

Green Jay

Green Jay

The following morning, after a sumptuous breakfast, cooked by Gaye, we headed back to the Shacklefords.  We headed right for Bob’s “Chicken House Bird Blind”.  Of course, I first photographed another Green Jay, then a few others.  Here are a few highlights.

Green Jay

Green Jay

Northern Cardinal, female

Northern Cardinal, female

Yellow-rumped Warbler - Audubon variety

Yellow-rumped Warbler – Audubon variety

Black-crested Titmouse

Black-crested Titmouse

Later, after going back to our room for a brief nap, we returned to have supper with the Shacklefords.  Wow!  That man knows how to use a barbeque grill.  He grilled some chicken breasts along with a bunch of veggies.  Then to top it off we had some of Anne’s pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting and pecans.  Fantastic!

After that, Bob mentioned that we should drive out along the highway, as we could probably find some various hawks.  So we all piled into our little Ford Escape and headed out.  Here are some of the highlights of that drive.  There are many.  I forgot to mention, click on any of the photos in this post and you will see beautiful enlargements.

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk in flight

Red-tailed Hawk in flight

Forgive the clipped wings in the above photo, but I thought it was too beautiful to leave out of this post.

Scaled Quail - in late afternoon light.

Scaled Quail – in late afternoon light.

Harris's Hawk

Harris’s Hawk

Two Crested Caracaras share a utility pole crossbar.

Two Crested Caracaras share a utility pole crossbar.

Swainson's Hawk

Swainson’s Hawk

A drive along a country drive wouldn’t be complete with seeing one of these vultures.

Black Vulture surveys the landscape.

Black Vulture surveys the landscape.

After saying goodbye to the Shacklefords, and promising to return in a few months we headed to our room, feeling great about our birding and photographic adventures.  We had hoped to see a Great Kiskadee, but that will have to wait until the next time.

The next morning after another great breakfast, I began my first day as an eighty-year old, and we headed back to San Angelo.  We were making good time, so we made a brief stop at the South Llano River State Park.  They have wonderful bird blinds there so we had time to check out one of them.

Nashville Warbler photographed at South Llano State Park

Nashville Warbler photographed at South Llano River State Park

For the trip, we saw a total of 40 species of birds.  We added two to my life list: Green Jay and Long-billed Thrasher.  That life list now stands at 275.  Maybe I can get to 300 before I turn 90.

For my 2014 Birding Big Year list, I added those two plus the Crested Caracara and the Harris’s Hawk, bring the total to 189.  Only eleven to go to make my goal of at least 200 species seen this year.

I feel great and I think it is going to be fun being an 80 year-old.  That is as long as I stay away from those senior centers and not let those old people influence me. 🙂

34 thoughts on “Birding fun in Uvalde, Texas

  1. Love the story and the pics! I have been longing to visit my aunt in Uvalde and am finally getting to in the next feweek days! So excited! I see Bob Shackleford post on Birds of Texas and they are awesome! As much as I am looking forward to seeing my aunt, because of Bob, I am looking forward to doing a little birding, just as much! Yay!

  2. Wonderful pictures Bob! I live in East Texas near Tyler and for the last three Springs my husband and I take a Anniversary trip that mainly centers around me taking pictures of nature, mainly birds. I am excited about our upcoming trip to the Texas Hill Country in mid March (our 52nd Anniversary is not until May, but we sometimes celebrate it early or a little later depending on where we are going and weather) Our trip this year will include the State Park at San Angelo, a visit at Bob Shackleford’s place, and the S. Llano State Park in Junction. The largest lens I have is a 55-400mm Tamron lens, so there will be cropping on some of the pictures I will be taking. Wondering if you can give me any advice on the places we will be going too. Looking forward to taking pictures of birds we don’t have here in East Texas.

    • Hi Kathy, nice to hear from you. First, you will enjoy Bob Shackleford’s place. He has an amazing collection of birds that visit him. South Llano River State Park has great birds, too. It has four different blinds. They are nice and kept up and surprisingly, you sometimes can see different birds at each one. San Angelo is where I live of course. The State Park has a nice bird blind. But we have our best luck in driving the roads in the park, slowly and birding from the car. That way you can see the birds that don’t frequent the blind. Also, depending on how long you can be here, there are a couple of other local parks that offer good birding. My wife and I would be able to show you some of them. If you like you can contact me at 325-656-6241 when you arrive. We live only three miles from the park. I am glad you like my photography. 🙂

  3. Absolutely amazing photos! The birds are so beautiful and how you’ve captured them is perfect! There are many that I’ve not seen “live”…my favorite is the sitting red-tailed hawk! He’s so gorgeous with soft colors. And you’re right…keep away from those old people 😀

    • Thanks, Helen. I, too, liked that sitting Red-tailed Hawk. He was so beautiful, just sitting there, enjoying life, then when he flew I captured him in flight. A special moment.

  4. Wow — those green jays are AMAZING!! Fabulous photos! I also thought that first red-tailed hawk photo was awesome. Love how you placed the caracaras on your name – that looks so cool. 🙂 Also, that scaled quail is beautiful. Looks like you had a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

    • Thanks very much, Amy. Yes, isn’t that first Red-tailed Hawk beautiful. The Scaled Quail had the evening sunset shining on him. The whole trip was a blast. Now I am ready for another ten years. 🙂

    • Thanks. This was the first time I have had the opportunity to photograph one. I would have liked to have gotten one in a tree or on the ground, but as a photographer, I can’t be picky about the surroundings.

  5. Happy big 80 birthday…and you really saw birds..but if you are a photographer…as my two year old great grand daughter would say…”birds are good”…I had never seen the Two Crested Caracaras before..they are certainly unusual..Thanks for sharing and your posts make my day…

  6. Many, many congratulations with your 80th birthday and I am enjoying your trip reports and pictures very much (wish we had all those colorful birds in Europe 🙂 )

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