Bob’s Big Return……with a Bang!


Well, after a six week absence, I am finally ready to get back to posting.  I have my health issues corrected and I am feeling great.  Actually, my health problems go back several years, when I had fits of depression, blood pressure issues, numerous IT infections, and finally culminated with skin cancer problems about two months ago that prompted me to take several weeks off.  I really need to thank my adoring wife, Ann,  for putting up with me and supporting me through all of those years.  I also had the support of several close friends, includding Deb and Paul Tappan, Laren Green and many others, plus a host of FaceBook friends who had me in their prayers.  But the most important individual was, of course, Ann.  If it wasn’t for her, I would not be where I am today.  Now at the age of 82, I am feeling much younger.

During the past several weeks, although I was slowed down a bit, I was able to amass a collection of photos during short visits to surrounding areas.  I am not going to post them in any particular order, but feel free to click on any of them to see some nice enlargements.  If you are interested in any prints, they are available at my on-line store.  Prices starting at 17.56.  I would be greatly honored if you decide to hang one in your home.  If you would just like to have one of my beautiful coffee mugs, check them out here

Okay, let’s start with this wonderful image of a Vermilion Flycatcher.

Vermilion Flycatcher – 1/640 sec, @ f7.1, ISO 800.

By the way, for those that would like to know, my basic equipment for my bird photography is a Canon EOS 7D Mk II and a Tamron 150-600mm Gen 2 zoom lens.

I love the Summer Tanagers.  Evern the female pictured here, has  distinct beauty of her own.

Summer Tanager – female – 1/640 sec. @ f6.3, ISO 3200.

It is migration time in Texas, and the Scissor-tailed Flycatchers are returning.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher – 1/1000 sec. @ f6.3, ISO 125.

This is probably a Western Meadowlark.  However I am not positive as the Eastern is so nearly identical that I have a hard time discerning which is which.

Western Meadowlark – 1/1000 sec. @ f7.1, ISO 800.

I was proud of this image of the secluded White-eyed Vireo.  Very hard to catch one for a decent photo.

White-eyed Vireo – 1/1000 sec. @ f7.1, ISO 2500.

The Lark Sparrow is one of the most recognizable of the sparrows.  That distinct marking of the head that reminds me of a football helmet.

Lark-Sparrow – 1/640 sec. @ f7.1, ISO 200.

The Northern Bobwhite is one of the quail family that is much in abundance in this area.  Some of you photographers may have noticed that I have no qualms about shooting at high ISOs.  My Canon 7D Mark II handles high ISOs very well.  But if there is excessive digital noise, I use a Photoshop plug-in, Topaz DeNoise, that removes it rather nicely.

Northern Bobwhite – 1/1000 sec. @ f6.3, ISO 3200.

Great Kiskadees are, or have been, very rare to the Concho Valley.  They were practically unheard of around here.  But back in late September of 2016, four of them made there way to the Lake Nasworthy area.  By late March of this year we thought they had disappeared.  But on April 4, Ann and I were cruising around Spring Creek Park.  She said that she could hear one nearby.  I thought she imagining it, but she opened her iPad’s  iBird Pro app.  She played the sound for me, and one of them answered and flew to a nearby tree for this shot.  I guess they have found a home here.

Great Kiskadee – 1/1000 sec. @ f6.3, ISO 400.

Sometimes I  pass up chances if a bird or subject feels like it is too far away.  Such was the case with this Osprey.  He was very tiny, even in the viewfinder, but I made sure my camera and lens was firmly seated on my bean bag on my window sill.  With spot focusing I squeezed off the shot and it proved to be sharp enough to make a nice enlargement.

Osprey – 1/1000 sec. @f7.1, ISO 320.

This was my first photograph of the year of an Ash-throated Flycatcher.  There was a rumor of a similar Brown-crested Flycatcher in the area.  I discounted it as it would have been a rarity for here.  I don’t know of any recorded, confirmed sighting ever in this area.  However, “show me the picture”, and I will believe.

Ash-throated Flycatcher – 1/1000 sec. @ f7.1, ISO 800.

I love the little Kinglets, but they sure as heck really hard to photograph.  Always on the move.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 1/800 sec. @ f6.3, ISO 3200.

Bluebirds.  A crowd favorite.

Eastern Bluebird – 1/1000 sec. @ f6.3, ISO 640.

I was lucky to catch this Nashville Warbler when he was showing a bit of his rusty crown, which is usually hidden.

Nashville Warbler – 1/1000 sec. @ f7.1, ISO 640.

The Chipping Sparrow is another sparrow which is easily recognized.

Chipping Sparrow – 1/1000 sec. @ f6.3, ISO 800.

There are two sub-species of the Yellow-rumped Warbler; Audubon and Myrtle.  This one with the brilliant yellow “chin” is an Audubon.

Yellow-rumped Warbler – 1/1000 sec. @ f6.3, ISO 3200.

The problem with this Rock Wren is they are very hard to see.  We find them in the rocks, or riff-raff, on the side of O. C. Fisher Dam.  We know they are there, so we must be patient and watch for movement along the huge structure.  Finally, when we get a glimpse, it is easier to track them as they move along the rocks.

Rock Wren – 1/800 sec @ f7.1, ISO 1250

This little Bewick’s Wren was singing his little heart out.

Bewick’s Wren – 1/640 sec @ f6.3, ISO 320.

I watched this Great Horned Owl patiently for several minutes.  I was about 200 yards away so there was no way that I was going to agitate him.  I was waiting for him to open his eyes.  I moved his head many times but never opened them.  After about 15 minutes I gave it up and left the building.

Great Horned Owl – 1/800 sec. @ f6.3, ISO 800.

Well, I think that is it for this post.  It felt wonderful to be posting again.  This particular post has a record number of photos, nineteen.  That is the most I have ever published in one post.  I hope you enjoyed every one of them.

 

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31 thoughts on “Bob’s Big Return……with a Bang!

  1. Welcome back, Bob. I’m so happy to hear your health has improved. And thank you for these wonderful (as always) pictures. I especially enjoyed reading about the Great Kiskadee, although ALL of the photos are fantastic.

  2. So thankful you have recovered and are back photographing!!! I have missed your awesome photos and blog!!!! Thankful also that your wife was by your side and taking great care of you! May you both be healthy and be there for each other!!! As usual all the photos were excellent and so worth waiting for!!!! You give me hope to keep moving forward and never giving up!!!!

    • Thanks a bunch. I am back to normal now and looking forward to posting more. Sorry we have been missing breakfasts as we are getting quite active on Saturday mornings. Seems that we always have someone that wants part of our time to go out and enjoy the great outdoors. But we don’t mind as we enjoy it. Someday we may surprise you.

  3. Well, sir, you have not lost your touch! The Vermilion Flycatcher is just WOW!! So glad you are feeling better and the joy of the hunt is still strong! You and Ann have fun! hugs

    • Thank you very much, Beth. Of the bunch, that Vermilion Flycatcher is my personal favorite, too.I am glad that you hung in there and was patient. Hugs back at ya. 🙂

  4. Welcome back, and thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures! Best wishes for better health to continue – – and thank you to Ann for taking care of you!

    • Thanks so much for your kind comment, Stephanie. I really appreciate it. A Texas birding trip would be great for you. You would double your life list. Great birds all over the state, but of course, I am biased towards west Texas. Come see us. 🙂

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