We first made a trip to Uvalde back in October of 2014. Since then we have always wanted to return, as we felt that there were many birds that we missed seeing and also missed getting good photographs.
Ann recently had a birthday on January 10, so she decided a trip back to Uvalde would be her birthday present. Not that we needed an excuse to go back. I was ready.
We left early Monday morning the 12th. A usual two and half hour trip, it took us about two hours longer. Of course, we had a breakfast stop in Sonora, but when you are also birding along the way………need I say more?
We got into the Live Oaks Bed & Breakfast around 1:00, then called our good friends, Bob and Anna Shackleford, and told them we were in town and on the way over to their place. Not only does Bob has his own bird blind, he is also well informed about birding in the area. The afternoon was beautiful so we spent some time in the blind, then sat on the porch of their home, visited, and took photos of birds in the yard. One of them was this Great Kiskadee. A new lifer for us as we had never seen one before.
From inside his Chicken Coop Blind, I got these images of a Long-billed Thrasher and a Green Jay.
As we were leaving Bob’s home he mentioned that there were two Couch’s Kingbirds hanging around his neighbor’s yard. We drove down the road about 100 yards, and sure enough there was one of them. I maneuvered my car so I could shoot a photo. By then he had turned an had his back to me, and as I got him in the viewfinder he flew. He was another lifer as again, it was another new bird for us. I was disappointed in not getting the photo, but there is always a next time.
We made plans to meet again at Bob’s and Anna’s place to spend the day birding on Tuesday. We woke that morning to a very cold day. But after breakfast, we headed over, determined to make the best of it. Since we decided it was too cold to sit in the blind, Bob suggested he take us out on some ranch land that he knew of, saying there was a good chance of seeing some Sandhill Cranes.
We we were warm and comfy in our little Ford Escape. It has high clearance and we drove all over that ranch. If Bob hadn’t been with us, I would surely have gotten lost. Of course, if he hadn’t been with us, we probably wouldn’t have gotten on the ranch to begin with. Anyway, I did get some images of the Sandhill Cranes, albeit very distant ones. They were at a distance of nearly 300 yards. Both of these image are heavily cropped.
Flyover of some Sandhill Cranes
Pair of Sandhill Cranes
After we decided that I couldn’t get any closer to the cranes we continued driving through various pastures and and other areas of the ranch. As we drove, I was able to get a few more photos of other birds.
Leaving the ranch, Bob took us down some other back roads that look promising. Along there we saw a couple of raptors.
Then this magnificent Red-tail Hawk took off from another nearby tree.
We had planned on getting together again on Wednesday, but not only was it still cold, it was very drizzly. Bob called us in our room and told us that Anna was feeling ill and we felt it was not in our best interests to try to get out in the weather. Ann and I spent the rest of the day in our room, watching the Cardinals, Thrashers, and Cactus Wrens cavort outside our window. We left the following morning, Thursday, and headed back to San Angelo. Despite the weather, we felt that we really had a great time anyway. We saw a total of 47 bird species for the trip, 25 of which were to be added to our 2015 Big Year list. We also added those two lifers. My life list total is now at 280. As for our 2015 Big Year list, since we got back we added a couple more and we have a total of 80 as of this writing. As I mentioned before, our new goal is 210 for this year. Piece of cake. Right? Yeah, sure. 🙂
I hope you enjoyed this post and the photos. By the way, I have my 2015 calendar for sale. Twelve gorgeous, knock-em dead, photos suitable for framing if you should desire. If you are interested in buying one contact me, or mail a check for 25.00 that also covers all taxes and shipping to Bob Zeller, 4401 White Ash Ln., San Angelo, TX 76904-4528. You will not be disappointed.