Seeing the Nature Around Us


No that the fall and winter birds are starting to arrive, birding is getting exciting.  It is always great fun, but when you have new birds to look for it really gets the adrenalin flowing.

This morning I am going to show you a few images from the past week or so.  First up is this Pyrrhuloxia that I photographed at the blind at San Angelo State Park.  These birds are often confused with the Northern Cardinal.  One key thing I look for, if the bird is far away and I have difficulty making the ID, is that the Pyrrhuloxi has a yellow bill, whereas the Northern Cardinal has an orange bill.

Pyrrhuloxia

Pyrrhuloxia

On our trip to Abilene last week I managed to capture this image of our state bird, the Northern Mockingbird.

Northern Mockingbird

Northern Mockingbird

The Northern Mockingbird is one bird that I tend to ignore, as I do most others that are common and plentiful to the area.  But they really have a distinct beauty about them.

Speaking of rather common birds.  The Common Grackle comes to mind.  But who says that even they can’t  be beautiful.  Witness the following photo that I captured Sunday morning.  The light was perfect in catching the bluish hues of this “Bronzed Grackle” subspecies.

Common Grackle

Common Grackle

We saw several of these grackles, but that is an understatement.  They were everywhere.  But venturing into Middle Concho Park, we came across some Black-bellied Whistling Ducks.  There were about twenty-five of them, but what was exciting was that there were also seven chicks among them.  As we watched, the adults flew onto a shoreline close by, leaving the little ones in a little huddle in the middle of the water.

A pair of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

A pair of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

Black-bellied Whistling Duck chicks

Black-bellied Whistling Duck chicks

These little guys just huddled together for mutual protection.  Also in Middle Concho Park, we spotted some Blue Jays high in a tree.  For some reason or other, Blue Jays are quite plentiful in the San Angelo area this year.  This image isn’t all that great, but I managed to reach it with my long lens.

Blue Jay

Blue Jay

We then drove over to Spring Creek Park, and got a big surprise and it was the highlight of the day.

We were driving along the edge of the woods, and Ann noticed something on the ground about one hundred and twenty yards ahead of us.  We put the binoculars on it and discovered it was a Bobcat sitting and resting.  I immediately stopped the car so I could think of a plan that to use to capture images of it.

First I turned the car to the right so I could get some distant shots from my drivers side window.  After that I put the car in gear and started creeping farther along, trying to stay to the right, and to put a couple of trees in between me and the cat.  After what seemed forever, I finally

Bobcat

Bobcat

got within better shooting distance, still about forty yards away.  I didn’t want to get any closer for fear of spooking him.  I managed to get several shots of him, sitting and or crouching.  I had turned the engine off and Ann and I just sat there admiring this beautiful creature, before he ambled off to get some water in the nearby river.  The above shot is one many that I got.

By the way, my equipment set-up is a Canon EOS 70D with a Tamron 150-600mm lens.  I used it with all of my photos here.  With this combination I can keep my distance from the birds or animals.  I hate to put any stress on the wildlife I capture.  I just like to get my photographs then leave them to their natural environment.

I love just getting out and driving and observing nature.  If you take the time to look up or look around you, it is amazing what you might get the chance to see.

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

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20 thoughts on “Seeing the Nature Around Us

  1. I am sitting here with my laptop feeling absolutely giddy at your encounter with the bobcat!! That is just SOOOOO awesome!!!

    I think the pyrrhuloxia is very sweet, I would love to see one someday. And I too, find the grackles to have quite a beauty. I loved getting to see the whistling ducks and their babies. Thanks, Bob, for giving me the chance to enjoy such lovely creatures that I would never see with my own two eyes. I always appreciate these glimpses of natures beauty. You are right, there is so much to see if we just look around. Last night, there was a pair of owls calling from atop the high-tension power lines next to our house. Mark and I stood out there for a long time watching and listening (it was too dark for photos) and I couldn’t help but think about the people driving past who had no idea the show nature was putting on for us.

    • Many thanks, Amy, for your lovely comment. It is so amazing that so many people are oblivious of their surroundings. For example, when I was photographing the bobcat, there were two ladies picking pecans off of the ground only about 100 yards away. Two cars went by within probably 60 yards, looked at me with my camera, sticking out my window. They had no idea what I was photographing. Of course, I didn’t want any other photographers stopping. I was enjoying my coup. 🙂

  2. Really enjoyed your photos…feather and fur! The bobcat knew you were there but was “allowing” you a picture or two….isn’t that just like a cat?! hugs

  3. Our Gackles here are not as pretty in color as your photos…love all of them and Nature is so versatile and you never know what you will see. Thanks so much for sharing with us..love your blog..

    • Thanks, Dave. I am getting out almost every day, but the pickins’ have been a bit sparce for awhile. But now things are picking up, and getting more interesting and exciting. Yeah, I really go lucky, coming up on that Bobcat. They are usually nocturnal, but I think I got him just before he was heading to his den for the day.

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