The Feisty Titmouse….and more

In Texas there basically two Titmouse species,; the Tufted, found in the eastern part of the state, and the Black-crested that hangs out in the western part.  So here in the San Angelo area you will find the Black-crested Titmouse the year around.  A very feisty bird, I have seen many a licensed bird-bander get his hands scratched when trying to retrieve one from the mist nets that they use to trap them.  Trying to photograph one, is a feat in itself.  A fast moving bird in the brush, it is hard to keep in the viewfinder of a camera.

However, I have met the challenge several times.  Here are a few images of one that I got recently in the past week.


Black-crested Titmouse


Black-crested Titmouse


Black-crested Titmouse

Besides getting photos of the titmice, I found many more photo opportunities.

Everybody loves the Great Roadrunner.


Great Roadrunner

Western Meadowlarks have are around in great numbers.  I happened to see this one in a tree.  Not unusual, but I see most of them on the ground.


Western Meadowlark

The Canyon Towhee, while not a really colorful bird, does have a certain beauty of it’s own.


Canyon Towhee

The black-masked Loggerhead Shrike is another nasty bird.  Also know as the ‘butcher bird’, it captures it’s prey, then impales it on thorns or barbed wire to save it for a later meal.


Loggerhead Shrike

American Robin, as American as apple pie and Chevrolet.  Always a harbinger of spring.


American Robin

The Great Blue Heron; one of my favorite birds to photograph.  They can always be found around our local rivers and lakes.  It is always a nice thing to catch one in perfect light, such as this one.  About 150 yards away across the water, I think this is one of my personal favorites.


Great Blue Heron

Osprey.  I love to photograph the raptors, and the Osprey is no exception.  This one gave me a nice frontal view.



The Say’s Phoebe is not a rare bird here, but neither is it a bird that has a large presence, so it is nice to come up on one.  A birder friend gave me a tip on where to find this one.  I went to that location, played his song on my iPad app, and he presented himself for this photo.  I love it when it is this easy.


Say’s Phoebe

Well, I hope you enjoyed this latest collection.  I want to thank you readers and my Facebook friends, that comment so very favorably on my photography.  It is what keeps me excited about writing these posts.  So keep those letters and comments coming in. 🙂

By the way, you can subscribe and receive a notification of when I write a new post by going to ‘SIGN ME UP” on the right side of this page.

I’ll be back in a few days.  Until then………HAPPY BIRDING!!!


Nicer weather prevailing…….for now

The weather is about to get cooler here in San Angelo again.  But the past week or so there have been some spring-like temperatures.  I managed to get out a few times and with help of my wife, spotted a few birds to photograph.  I like having her along, as it is nice to have that extra pair of eyes when I am driving.

This female Norther Flicker was spotted as we drove out Spillway Road toward the Nature Trail.  As I can’t do much hiking anymore, I don’t walk the trail.  But near the entrance we can usually see many species.  The flicker was about 150 yards away and I wasn’t sure if I could get a decent photograph.  But my Canon 7D MKII and Tamron 150-600mm lens came through for me.  Of course, like most of my long range photos, it is heavily cropped.


Northern Flicker

This Northern Cardinal was in the same area.  As you can see, he was facing into the early morning sun.


Northern Cardinal

Back into Spring Creek Park we were driving around the familiar horseshoe drive.  It is a one-way drive, but because I am usually the only person in the park, I drive it backward.  That puts the water on my driver’s side, making photographs much easier.  I don’t have to get out of the car, avoiding flushing the birds.  So, that is how I came about shooting the nice photo of a Great Egret.


Great Egret

Getting away from the water, we found this Grasshopper Sparrow in the brush.


Grasshopper Sparrow

These meadowlarks are around in great numbers.  Easily seen as you drive through the countryside and the state park.  As you can see, I prefer photographing birds in their natural habitat.  I don’t mind having the twigs, leaves, etc. in my photos, as long as the birds are easily identifiable.


Western Meadowlark

I hope you enjoyed this post.  It may be a few days until the next one, as the weather is getting colder for a bit.  Of course, that usually doesn’t prevent me from getting out, but since I have a few domestic chores to attend to………..well, you know how that is. 🙂  But I appreciate all of my readers that stay with me.

So….until then, HAPPY BIRDING!!!

Great Blue Herons Galore

There is a Great Blue Heron rookery near Lake Nasworthy, near Spring Creek Park.  You can’t miss it if you are driving around the little horseshoe shaped drive, near Spring Creek Marina.  It is a huge collection of nests high in the area across the water.

We checked it out a few days ago and noted that there were about a dozen herons sitting or standing on some of the old nests.  We didn’t see much activity other than that.  I believe they may be getting ready to nest.   In a few days or weeks, there will be many more, as there about thirty old nests still vacant.  In other years, when the young have fledged, we could hear them noisily crying out that they were hungry.  Crying isn’t the exact term.  It sounds more like they are clacking their bills together, making a cacophony the reverberates over the water.

This photo was taken about a week ago.


Great Blue Heron

I really don’t know if this one is doing a mating call or is just stretching his neck.


Great Blue Heron

This is an older photo from my files of a Great Blue Heron doing a mating dance.


Great Blue Heron mating dance.

The kids never get enough to eat.  And as you can see, they are very large.  This will be a common scene in a few months.


“But ma, we’re still hungry”

But there are many of these herons that can be seen in other areas.  I suspect they may be non-breeding birds or just don’t want to partake in such activities.  We were out to Spring Creek Park this morning and we saw several others.  This one was standing across the river.


Great Blue Heron

The heron population in this area has been very good to me.  I have taken many successful photographs through the years.  Here are a couple of my ‘best sellers’.


Great Blue Heron


Fishing Great Blue Heron

That’s about it for this post.  I hope you enjoyed these pictures.   I will be back in a few days with more for your enjoyment.






Owl be seeing you…….

Okay, so the titles of my posts get a little corny, but I have to get your attention. 🙂

Ann and I went to Spring Creek Park, here in San Angelo, a few mornings ago.  One of the first things we do is to check out this huge live oak tree.  Half the time there is a Great Horned Owl hanging out there.  Sometimes his spouse joins him and this is one of those days.  We circled the tree from about 20 yards out.  We eventually spotted the male, but he was back in the branches, partially hidden.  I gave up on trying to get a good photo, and started to drive away.  As we did, we were startled to see the female take wing from another part of the tree.  We hadn’t realized she was even sitting in there.

Anyway, we watched as she flew low under other trees in the park and eventually came to rest on some dead limbs of another tree, 500 yards away from her initial perch.  We had a good view of her, and noticed that she was out in the open, about 30 feet above the ground.  We drove over to that location, being careful to not flush her.  We kept our distance, and stopped about 35 yards away where I had a good angle to photograph her.  With my long 150-600mm lens, I do not need to get close with my mobile blind, (My Ford Escape).   She was pretty much back-lit, but the skies were overcast so it made the job easier.  But I was able to correct that in editing.  Here is the result of that confrontation.


Great Horned Owl

After that fun experience, we decided to see what else there was to see.  We drove down near a favorite reedy area on the water.  We are rewarded to see a Common Yellowthroat fly up into a nearby tree.  They are one of my favorite of the little birds.  A very shy bird, I was fortunate to catch it in the open.


Common Yellowthroat

Another bird that is seen in great numbers around here this time of year is the Yellow-rumped Warbler.  We saw this one in another tree.  They move around a lot so it is difficult to catch one sitting very long.  I like the pose of this one.


Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle variety)

The sparrows are my nemesis.  I have difficulty with the identification of most of them.  So it was with this Rufous-crowned Sparrow.  I had a suspicion that was what it was when I took the photo, but I took to Facebook to get confirmation from some birding friends.  We spotted it in Spring Creek Park amongst the trees.


Rufous-crowned Sparrow

Those were the only “keepers” of that little foray into the wild.  I’ll be back again in a few days with more.

Until then, HAPPY BIRDING!!!