Great birding day in San Angelo


What a difference two days can make.  As you may remember, we did not have a quality day on Friday the 13th.  Well, Sunday turned out a bit different.  However, we had doubts early in the morning.  It was damp, drizzly and very overcast.  We checked the weather radar and it looked that the rains were on the way east. So we decided to get out, knowing that we could return if things got worse.

We headed towards the San Angelo State Park blind about 9:30.  By the time we got there the drizzle had stopped but still heavily overcast.  But for photography, I like the overcast, as the usual harsh shadows are eliminated.  Here are a few highlights from the bird blind.  (For this post all photo were obtained with my Canon 7D Mark II and Tamron 150-600mm lens. Click on any photo to see enlargement).

Golden-fronted Woodpecker

Golden-fronted Woodpecker

Golden-fronted Woodpecker

Golden-fronted Woodpecker

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal - female

Northern Cardinal – female

Pyrrhuloxia - female

Pyrrhuloxia – female

Pyrrhuloxia - female

Pyrrhuloxia – female

Pyrrhuloxia

Pyrrhuloxia – male

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

Curve-billed Thrasher

Curve-billed Thrasher

Northern Bobwhite - female

Northern Bobwhite – female

Northern Bobwhite - male

Northern Bobwhite – male

Spotted Twohee

Spotted Twohee

After getting all of the above photos, we decided to go to the North Unit of the park.  We wanted to see if the Lewis’s Woodpecker was still in residence.  It is way out of range for that specie, but it arrived here in San Angelo in November.  Apparently the climate agrees with him.

We were in luck, however the sky was still very overcast.  The bird was hanging out in his favorite adopted trees, but he likes to stay at the top, about 35 feet above the ground  This makes for difficult photos as I had hand-hold the camera and lens and shoot almost straight up into that cloudy sky.  All I could see was a silhouette, so I boosted my ISO way up to 1600 and added 2.33EV adjustment.  That was still not enough to give a good exposure, so I finished it up in my post processing.  Here are the results.  Not great but the best I could get under the circumstances.

Lewis Woodpecker

Lewis Woodpecker

Lewis's Woodpecker

Lewis’s Woodpecker

We didn’t see too much else of interest there, so we drove out to Spring Creek Park.  Driving around there the best photo op was of these Cedar Waxwings.

Cedar Waxwings

Cedar Waxwings

Upon heading for home, we again stopped at the beach at Mary Lee Park.  The Ring-billed Gulls were again wheeling around in the air or snoozing in the sand.  I like this one of a gull in flight.

Ring-billed Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Not a bad day considering the weather.  In all, Ann and I saw 40 species, plus we added a few more to our 2015 list, which now total 98.