The birds are coming! The birds are coming!

The winter birds are not all here yet, but they are beginning to straggle in.  Ann and I went to our local parks yesterday and spent about two hours.  We spotted twenty-three different species in that short time.  Of course, some of them were residents, but we spotted a few Eastern Bluebirds, Yellow-rumped Warblers, a Greater Yellowlegs, three Pied-billed Grebes, and a few Gadwalls.

In other news, some friends of ours moved back to Abilene, so we went to visit them.  During the day we visited the bird blind at Abilene State Park.  Wow!  What a disappointment.  It is definitely not photographer friendly.  Several vertical ‘slats’, for want of another word, are spaced about 10 inches apart across the window.  Nor was it exactly great bird watching either in our visit.  The water facility didn’t have any water for example.  It is very tiny. There are several feeders right in front of the window that I thought was distracting.  It just seems to me that everything was just placed in a hap-hazardly manner.  Maybe it was just me, but I could see no organization it it.  In the thirty minutes we were there we saw exactly two bird species.  Black-crested Titmouse and Carolina Chickadee.  I think they need to visit our blind here in San Angelo or the nice ones at Pedernales Falls SP.

Great Egret - photographed near Abilene, Texas

Great Egret – photographed near Abilene, Texas

So that is my rant for the day.  The above photo, by the way, was not photographed near the bird blind.  Of course, you probably knew that.

Vermilion Flycatcher from my archives.  March 2014

Vermilion Flycatcher from my archives. March 2014

Today, I have been going back through my archives, and it seems that I keep making these discoveries.  The following photo was taken during a trip to Knoxville, Tennessee, way back in 2008.  We had been visiting our dear friends, the Tappans.  Ann and I, along with Deb and Paul were driving along the Tennessee River.  Deb is an awesome photographer, too, so when we came across a rookery of Black-crowned Night Herons, we promptly got our equipment ready.  There were at least one hundred of them, some flying around, and others roosting.  I had been wondering where those photos were, and I found them in a folder buried inside another folder.

A happy Black-crowned Night Heron from my archives.  June 2008

A happy Black-crowned Night Heron from my archives. June 2008

Our 2014 Big Year list is at 193 right now.  As I have mentioned before, we have a goal of hitting 200 by the end of the year so we only have seven to go.  Sounds easy, but we have to get to work.  We are going back to the Davis Mountains later this month, then a few weeks later we hope to make another trip to Uvalde.  Then there might be even time for a few days to visit the Big Bend area.  Hopefully, we can find those seven during those trips.


23 thoughts on “The birds are coming! The birds are coming!

  1. Beautiful pictures! I love the flycatchers and hope to see one “live” some day. Good luck in getting to your goal of 200, that’s a very respectable number!

  2. Very nice archive picture, I like specially male vemilion flycatcher, arrived a month ago to these latitudes. As for the great year we are quite similar in number of species recorded, I have only 4 more. This is my first year in this competition which was recently launched in my country, although I am far from the leader. We have almost 1000 to see!

  3. Love the Happy Heron. I can relate to your rant. I’ve been in some blinds and wondered why they even bothered with the structures. Continued good luck with your Big Year! 🙂

      • Almost gives a double meaning to the word “blind.” ? 🙂 Blinds or no blinds, we all play the same game. If I can’t see you, you can’t see me. I tried that for a while to get over stage fright before I switched to contact lenses. Ha ha.

  4. Great photos, Bob – I think the Night Heron is one of your best. That bird blind sounds disappointing. I guess it makes you appreciate the good ones! I wish you success with your target – only seven birds to go!! Fantastic.

    • I agree with you, Jo. That Night Heron photo really came out nicely. As a matter of fact, I have several images from that outing and I had a hard time picking which one to use in this post.

  5. That night heron is awesome! When we visited the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge a few weeks ago, we found out that West Sister Island has a rookery for the black-crowned night herons, so now I know they are in this area and will keep my eyes peeled for them!

    I am quite inspired by your Big Year Birding List and am thinking to do this for myself for 2015. It would be really awesome to see how many different species I can spot! (And a great reason to purchase a new journal! As a writer, I’m all about pretty new journals. lol 😀 )

    • Thanks, Amy, I think those Black-crowned Night Herons are so unique. They seem to have a personality all their own.

      About our 2014 list, it is great fun. Kinda makes a game out of birding. I am sure we will do it again in 2015. It’s fun to set a goal. It gives an incentive and motivates us to get out and enjoy nature.

  6. oops!! one might say not bird blinds are created…the photo of the Great Egret is awesome…skunk I can do with out..we have enough around our neighborhood…take care …we are waiting for the arrival of our Juncos…

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