Say it isn’t so, Bob


It has been four months since my last post, so I know you are wondering what in the world is going on with old Bob.

As some of you may or not know, I was diagnosed early this year with pulmonary fibrosis.  Not good, but not necessarily bad.  There is no cure, but the prognosis is that I still have hopes of staying on the top side of the sod for a few more years.  How many more depends on how slow, or fast, it progresses.

I am not worried, nor am I going to dwell on it.  I have just turned 85 and am still going strong, at least in my own estimation.  However, I have slowed down.  I tire easily and get short-winded.  To that end, I am taking a twelve week session of pulmonary lung rehab.  Three times a week, I go in for an hour of workouts that are designed to mak my breathing easier.

The workouts are going quite well, and I haven’t fallen off of any of the machines yet. 🙂  The staff that is working with me at Shannon Medical Center are very friendly and professional.  They know what they are doing.  I am actually having fun and I look forward to each workout.  I twist, jump, skip, and roll……. and that is just getting into my workout clothes. 🙂

As you can see, I still have my sense of humor and that is a big help.  I think they say, “a laugh a day, keeps the doctor away”, or something like that. 🙂

The point of this is that this will probably be my last post.  Time will tell.  I intend to keep up with my photography as best as I can.  I now photograph from my car exclusively.  Drive-by shooting, you might say. 🙂  (credit my friend, John English for providing that bit of humor).  The camera is starting to get a bit heavier.  Anyway, I will be still posting the results to my gallery, that you can access by clicking that little button at the top of this page.

I want to thank you, all of my readers for your support through all the years.

I will close with this photograph that I captured just this morning.  A Great Blue Heron photographed here in San Angelo near Lake Nasworthy.

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Great Blue Heron

Bob Zeller

October 9, 2019

“HAPPY BIRDING”

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And the Rains Came…..


So much for doing a lot of birding since my last post.  We have had tornadoes, rain, thunderstorms, more rain, and more rain.  Hopefully the rainy season will desist soon and we will be back to a more normal spring and summer.  We were lucky.  The EF2 tornado struck another part of town and we were spared with only losing a large limb out our large live oak tree.  Fortunately, no deaths occurred.

A Glossy Ibis was spotted near Twin Buttes Reservoir by some birding friends, Jean and Larry Haller.  It was the first sighting of this bird in recorded history for Tom Green County.  They were nice enough to tell Ann and me about it.  We have made several trips out there to try to see it, but so far for naught.  We only live about three miles from the area, so it is easy for us to jump in the car and go have a look.  The ibis is probably gone now; heading back to the gulf coast where he belongs. 🙂

During a trip yesterday, we saw some American Avocets near the boat ramp.  I took this photo.  I love these birds.  They appear so graceful.

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American Avocet

We are still trying to reach our goal of 200 species for the year.  Right now we are 145.  So with 55 to go, we still nearly eight months to fill it.  However, we could do with some travel to west Texas to catch those birds in that area.  But most likely, that will not happen.  My health is trying to put a damper on such journeys.  I am slowing down and I tire more easily.  I believe it is part to pulmonary fibrosis with which I have been diagnosed with, and maybe it is old age.  Anyway, we will see what happens.

While going through some old photos, I came across this one from about three years ago that I thought you’d like to see.  I love the beauty and grace of the Great Egret.

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Great Egret

And another, from nine years ago.  This Red-shouldered Hawk had a nest down near Christoval, Texas.  I was fortunate to get several shots.

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Red-shouldered Hawk

So there you have it, folks.  That’s all for this post.  I’ll be back in a few days with some new images……..I hope.  Please let the rains hold off for awhile.

’til then, HAPPY BIRDING!!!

 

 

Painted Buntings – Stars of the show


In the past couple of weeks we have visited Twin Buttes Reservoir on several occasions.  Since the lake has received much needed water from storms the past few months, it has produced a plethora of birds.  Also, it is the middle of migration, so birding there has been great fun.  I have had some great photo opportunities.  Of course, the bird that gets the most attention is the Painted Bunting.  Her are the results of those forays.

These are from Monday, May 6, Twin Buttes Marina Park.

This Painted Bunting was flitting around in the brush and I caught him as he was ready to fly off.

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Painted Bunting

Sandpipers are my nemesis when it comes to identifying them.  But after checking my guides I believe I have it right.  A Semi-palmated Sandpiper.

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Semi-Palmated Sandpiper

On May 9, we again made a trip to the marina.

I caught this Painted Bunting sitting on a branch of a nearby tree.

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Painted Bunting

We can always hear the Bell’s Vireos before we can see them.

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Bell’s Vireo

Back on May 13, we are having fun, still at Twin Buttes.

I spotted this flight of American Avocets zip past us and head over the lake.  As they wheeled around to come back, I was ready for them.

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American Avocets

What??  Another Painted Bunting?

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Painted Bunting

Back again on May 15.  Are you tired of the Painted Buntings?  I hope not as here is another.

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Painted Bunting

We were startled to see this Cooper’s Hawk on a fence post as we drove by.  I stopped the car and we were only about 20 feet away.  I was happy to be able to photograph him out the passenger side window.  I was afraid to get out of the car as he might have flushed.

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Cooper’s Hawk

Another bird that we heard before we saw him.  These quail can really blend in with their surroundings.  But we just followed the sound and got the shot of this Northern Bobwhite.

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Bobwhite

These little Least Sandpipers were all over the parking at Twin Buttes Marina.  Scurrying here and there.

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Least Sandpiper

This next photo of the Yellow-throated Vireo was photographed a few days later at Spring Creek Park.  This bird is around all year, but this is the first time I have ever had the chance to photograph one.  They are very shy and hard to find.

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Yellow-throated Vireo

On another short trip to San Angelo State Park, we were rewarded with great views of the Dickcissel.

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Dickcissel

That does it for today’s post.  I really hope you enjoyed this little photography journey.  You can bet that I enjoyed getting the photos.

Until the next time…..HAPPY BIRDING!!!!

 

Bullock’s Orioles and others


Well, it is post time.  No, I am not talking about post time for the Kentucky Derby that is being run today.  Post-time for that if you are interest is 5:50 CDT.  No, I am saying that it is  about time for me to write another post here.  Catchy about the way I got into talking about this, don’t ya think?

So here we go.  Migration seems to be into full swing now.  We seeing buntings, oriole, warblers, etc.  I will be posting new photos of those birds as I acquire them.  But today, I want to show you the Bullock’s Oriole.  I have two photos here that I was able to capture at the Twin Buttes Reservoir Marina Park here in San Angelo.

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Bullock’s Oriole

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Bullock’s Oriole – female

Here are a few other birds that I captured near by.

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Snowy Plover

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Great Blue Heron

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Lark Sparrow

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Ash-throated Flycatcher

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Western Kingbird

And this one at San Angelo State Park.

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Yellow Warbler

I hope you enjoyed these photos.  As I said, things are picking up as more spring birds arrive.

Until the next post time. 🙂  HAPPY BIRDING!!

 

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.

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Bell’s Vireo

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Ladder-backed Woodpecker, female

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

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Ash-throated Flycatcher

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

HAPPY BIRDING!!!

 

 

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.

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Lincoln’s Sparrow

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Black-throated Sparrow

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House Sparrow

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Grasshopper Sparrow

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Cassin’s Sparrow

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Vesper Sparrow

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Fox Swamp

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Field Sparrow

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White-crowned Sparrow

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Chipping Sparrow

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Lark-Sparrow

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Lark Bunting – female

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Rufous-crowned Sparrow

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White-crowned Sparrow – juvenile

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Swamp Sparrow

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Clay-colored Sparrow

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Savannah Sparrow

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Song Sparrow

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Dark-eyed Junco

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Canyon Towhee

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Spotted Towhee

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Green-tailed Towhee

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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.

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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. 🙂

To subscribe and get notified when I write a new post, see SIGN ME UP, in the right margin.

‘Til the next time, HAPPY BIRDING!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Better late than never……


When I signed off on my last post, I promised that I would be back in a very few days with some more images.  Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans……..  Shortly after that post, the weather made some drastic changes.  We had rain, hail, wind, fog, cold temps.  Everything but snow, and there were probably a few areas that it, too, occurred.  Anyway, all is well now.  As a matter of fact, yesterday was a beautiful, gorgeous day.  Definitely a day to give you spring fever.

And it did.  Ann and I got out to San Angelo State Park and spent around four hours.  On the birding side, we saw 39 species.  Not a bad day.  It included getting a lifer, number 303 if you’re counting, and adding 6 more to our yearly total, bringing it up to 111.   It was an Eurasian Wigeon.  Also a couple of Western Grebes flew in to join the party.  Unfortunately, they were too far out in the lake to get any halfway decent photos.  Just enough to make identification.

Here is a tiny shot of the Eurasian Wigeon.

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Eurasian Wigeon

But I will digress a bit.  In the few days prior to yesterday, I was a bit more successful in getting some new photos.  For starters here is a male Pyrrhuloxia from the bird blind at San Angelo State Park.

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Pyrrhuloxia

Also at the bird blind this Golden-fronted Woodpecker decided to show off a bit to that on-looking male House Finch, who looked duly impressed.

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Always a showoff……

After tiring of that, he decided to play a bit of hide and seek.  Here I caught him peeking.

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Golden-fronted Woodpecker

As we drove through the park after leaving the blind, we spotted this Black-throated Sparrow trying to hide from me.  Not doing a good job of that.

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Black-throated Sparrow

Back out at our favorite spot a little later, this Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was hard at work at Spring Creek Park.

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Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

So, that is all for this time.  The weather look promising again, so after getting a few things done around the house, I might be back out there in a few days.  Watch for me and give a holler if you see me.

HAPPY BIRDING!!!