Bell’s Vireo and others

The spring migration has started and we are beginning to see the arrival of our spring and summer birds.  One of them is the Bell’s Vireo.  We saw our first of the year a couple of days ago, right on schedule according to our Concho Valley Birding Checklist.

We were driving out near the Twin Buttes Reservoir and as we neared some brushy habitat, Ann said she could hear the singing of some Bell’s Vireos.  We could hear them, but we couldn’t see them.  Ann had her iPad with her, where we have an iBird Pro Birding app, that we use for bird identification.  It also has recorded bird songs.  She decided play Bell’s Vireo’s song to see if it would answer.   And answer it did.  It came farther into the open so we could get visuals of it.  It also perched a few times while it was singing and I was able to get some photos.  We then left the area after I got several exposures.

Playing recorded calls to lure birds, has always put me into a quandary.  I don’t believe in baiting birds or any wildlife to get photos.  But putting my purist beliefs aside, I feel that as long as  person doesn’t overdo it, or put the bird in any stress,  playing the songs should be fine.  Personally, as soon as I get the pics to satisfy me I leave the wildlife alone.

So, anyway, here are the most recent photos of the shy Bell’s Vireo.


Bell’s Vireo


Bell’s Vireo

Here are some more photos of other species that I have gotten since my last post.

We spotted this Great Horned Owl in the crotch of a large pecan tree.  She may have been sitting eggs, but that we have not been able to confirm.  She was high up and only this face was visible to me.  I was able to set up about 75 feet away, to give me a good shooting angle with my long lens.


Great Horned Owl

The Bullock’s Orioles are making themselves visible again, but so far this is the only photograph that I have been able to get.


Bullock’s Oriole

This female Ladder-backed Woodpecker was poking her head in and out of this hole.  Could there be young ones in there?  Stay tuned.


Ladder-backed Woodpecker, female

I hope you like this shot of an Ash-throated Flycatcher.  I must say that I love the pose.


Ash-throated Flycatcher

I think that is it for this post.  I hope all of you have a Happy Easter weekend.  Be safe.




Sparrows of The Concho Valley

Since spring migration isn’t in full swing yet, I have been prompted to do this post about this common, seemingly boring species of birds.  Sparrows are in huge abundance.  In the Concho Valley birding check-list there are 27 species of sparrow and towhees, that can be found around this area in which I live.  I am still learning to identify them individually, but it is not easy, as they each have their own individual field marks and nuances.  I have to consult my guides quite frequently.

So, having said that, here are some notable photographs that I have taken of these birds that people mostly ignore.  These are twenty-three of the most commonly seen here, albeit some are harder to find than others.  There are a few not listed that are rareities and don’t appear in this area except for rare occasions or migration, such as the Olive Sparrow that I have included.  Anyway, these photos show that all sparrows are not created equal.  You will also see that the other sparrow relatives, ie. juncos and towhees are included.


Lincoln’s Sparrow


Black-throated Sparrow


House Sparrow


Grasshopper Sparrow


Cassin’s Sparrow


Vesper Sparrow


Fox Swamp


Field Sparrow


White-crowned Sparrow


Chipping Sparrow




Lark Bunting – female


Rufous-crowned Sparrow


White-crowned Sparrow – juvenile


Swamp Sparrow


Clay-colored Sparrow


Savannah Sparrow


Song Sparrow


Dark-eyed Junco


Canyon Towhee


Spotted Towhee


Green-tailed Towhee


Whitae-throated Sparrow

I have included this photo of an Olive Sparrow.  While not seen in the Concho Valley, it did appear just a few miles south at the South Llano River State Park.


Olive Sparrow


So now you have seen my entire collection of sparrows that I have seen and photographed in my twelve years of birding around the the Concho Valley of west Texas.

By the way, in my quest to reach 200 different sightings for the year, as of today I have reached at total of 120.  Eight months to go.

I hope you enjoy this collection that I have put together.  Comments are welcome, and I would love to hear from you.  It lets me know that there are a few readers out there. 🙂

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‘Til the next time, HAPPY BIRDING!!!!