Waiting, waiting, waiting for migration

Like any other birder worth his binoculars, I must plead guilty to impatiently waiting for spring migration.  It doesn’t matter that in the fall we will do the same thing; wait for fall migration.  It is a habit with us that seemingly can’t be sated.

Anyway, as I sit here on a cold afternoon, the wind is howling outside.  The temperature outside is only around 40, but the wind chill is around 25.  Normally that wouldn’t keep me in, but I needed to catch up on my blogging.  So here I am.

I admitted above that I was waiting, but truthfully, I am always on the lookout for the birds that may arrive early.  I really haven’t observed many of those, but since my last post, there were a few surprises.  Such as this slate-colored Dark-eyed Junco.  They usually arrive here around mid-April and we saw five of them a couple of days ago on February 24th.


Dark-eyed Junco

Those were on the ground at Spring Creek Park, here in San Angelo.  Also while were driving through the park, we came up on this beautiful Carolina Wren.  It is probably one of my favorite of the wrens.  This maybe one of favorite photos of one, too;


Carolina Wren

Across the water was this Great Blue Heron.  He was about 200 yards away, and I wasn’t sure if I could get a great enough image to make it worthwhile.  But my great camera and lens came through for me.


Great Blue Heron

We saw a plethora of female Red-winged Blackbirds and I usually am not enthralled with photographing them, but once in a while one will stand out and make a nice photograph, such as this one.


Red-winged Blackbird

We drove by the beach near the lake to check things out.  There were about 200 Ring-billed Gulls.  I always like to look closely to see if one of them is a different gull specie.  We did a double-take, when there in the middle of them, was a Snowy Egret.


Snowy Egret

As we watched, it decided to take flight.


Snowy Egret

The following day, we decided to again make a trip to San Angelo State Park.  Out there we saw a Red-tailed Hawk and a few smaller birds.


Red-tailed Hawk


Vesper Sparrow

While were at the state park, I decided to check out the bird blind at the wildlife viewing center.  I was much impressed.  You might remember that I wrote in a previous post how bad the condition was.  This time it really looked nice, neatly mowed and the bird feeders were full.  The bad news was that for some reason or other, perhaps a change in the weather, there were only some White-crowned Sparrows, House Finches, a couple of Northern Cardinals and a lone Ladder-backed Woodpecker.

But what the heck, bird migration will start soon. 🙂

Until the next time, HAPPY BIRDING!!!



“The call of the wild”

We here in San Angelo have been blessed with a nice mild winter thus far.  I, myself, feel blessed that I have been able to go out almost daily if I choose, to enjoy nature in it’s finest.  Ann and I enjoy doing our birding and photography in the open, getting photos of birds in their natural habitat, such as this Marsh Wren, flitting in the reeds and cat-tails.


Marsh Wren

I don’t mind if the bird is not completely shown.  The main purpose, though, is to make sure the eyes of the subject are sharp.  If they are the photo works great.  As you can see in the above photo, the reeds and twigs are completely blurred and are not distracting.  Another example, is this Carolina Wren.  Personally I love the setting of the bird in it’s natural habitat.


Carolina Wren

Yet, so many photographers that do enjoy photographing birds prefer sitting in a blind, along side a half dozen other people, all dressed up in their camo clothes.  All shooting the same subjects, getting the same shots, on birds that are all posed on permanent or imitation logs or assorted bird feeders.  You can look at their portfolios of their pics, seeing all familiar poses.  On top of all that, they pay, yes pay up to 200.00 for a session.  Not for me. But for some, this the only way that they can get their photographs, and I have no problem with that.

If you are unable to get out in the wild, or disabled in some way it is a wonderful way to get to shoot photographs.  Don’t misunderstand me.  I am not knocking this method of getting wildlife photos.  I am guilty myself.  There is a blind at San Angelo State Park.  Around ten years ago, when I was getting into birding, I even volunteered to maintain it.  Since Ann and I live a mere three miles away, we went out daily to put feed out, clean the windows, trim the grass, and empty the trash.

Now, although I visit the park on a regular basis, I very rarely use the blind.  I have probably been in it only a couple of times the past year.  By the way, it is free.  No charge.  Keep your money in your pocket.  I just roam the areas in and around San Angelo.  Several park areas near our three lakes and/or rivers.  All so I can get photos of wildlife in natural settings.

Some photos from my last post.


Great Egret


Blue Jay


Song Sparrow


Northern Cardinal – female

I hope no photographer’s feelings were injured during the making of this rant.  The opinions presented here are of mine, Bob Zeller, only. 🙂

Until the next post, HAPPY BIRDING!!