Check my New Gallery Page


Hi there everyone.  I am always trying to think of ways to improve this blog.  I think you will really enjoy my new Gallery page.  Just click the Gallery button at the top of this page, or click here.  The photographs are stunning.  You can scroll and scroll and scroll.  I will keep adding to them almost daily as I try to get all of my photos in it.   Try it out.

In other news, the weather has been nice here again,   The storms have passed and the dog days of summer have set in.  I haven’t been out as much as usual lately, though.  As I mentioned, I have been working on setting up my gallery page.  Also, I am putting together a collection of photos that I will present on a local television show on June 29.  It is called Concho Valley Live, a 30-minute show that airs daily on KLST at 4:00PM during the week.  They have asked me to appear on their June 29 show. (write that down.)  I hope my San Angelo area readers will tune in.  KLST is a CBS affiliate.

Hear are some photos from the past week or so that I managed to get.  Click one any of them to see enlargements.

The Bell’s Vireo was flying between a couple of trees.  He had a companion, and they were chasing each other around.  Finally one of them perched long enough to allow me to get this photo.

Bell’s Vireo.

It seems that even though were traveling all over the San Angelo State Park, we were never away from hearing one or more Northern Bobwhites.  I managed to find this one in a tree.

Northern Bobwhite

The Scissor-tailed Flycatchers are now set in for the summer.  This is another from San Angelo State Park.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Making lemonade from a lemon. And other stuff.


Since my last post I have been making several excursions to San Angelo State Park, in search of usable photos.  I have gotten several, but one stands out for me.  I was at the bird viewing blind at the park.  I had my Canon 7D MarkII, with a 150-600mm Tamron lens, mounted on my monopod.  While watching, I spotted a Northern Bobwhite in the distance, about 100 feet away, beyond the water feature.  As a whim I took the photo, not thinking about it being a saleable photo.  But after I got home and put in the computer in preparation for post editing, I realized that I might be able to make something out of it.

Here is the original.  Notice it looks a little bland and washed out and overall, not a very impressive  photograph.

Original Bobwhite photo

Here is the finished product, after cropping for composition, and just adjusting the contrast, a little color saturating, and lighting adjustment.  What fun!!

Northern Bobwhite

Okay, that’s your lesson for the day.  Don’t give up on what you may think is not a usable photograph.  Just some creative cropping and minor adjusting, can give you some surprising results.

I am still looking through my images from our Davis Mountains trip.  Here is another photo of a beautiful Scott’s Oriole.

Scott’s Oriole

And another shot of one of those feisty Acorn Woodpeckers.

Acorn Woodpecker

Going through some of my photos from past years, I sometimes come upon one that I didn’t initially care for.  But after taking a second look, and doing some re-editing, I can sometimes surprise myself.  Such was the case with this Carolina Chickadee that I photographed back in 2014.  I realized that my editing skills weren’t as good then as I am today.  Of course, advancements in software and techniques really help.

Carolina Chickadee

Click on this and the other photos and see some enhanced enlargements.  It make a huge difference in viewing them.

Until the next time, Happy Birding!!

More from the Davis Mountains


I have been spending the past several days, catching up with editing my photos from our Davis Mountains birding trip.  I am really thrilled and happy that I was able to get these photographs, some of which have been on my bucket list for a long time.  Oh, I had seen most of the birds in the past, I just hadn’t been able to get the photos of them that I was satisfied with.  Anyway, here is anoatherhalf-dozen that I have ready for you.  All of them were captureded in or near the Davis Mountains of west Texas.  Click on an of them to see enlargements.

One of my favorites of the trip was this Acorn Woodpecker.  I love their clown face.  They are seen mostly in the mountains of far west Texas and southern Arizona.

Acorn Woodpecker

Formerly the Western Scrub-Jay.  It was split into different species, the Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay and the California Scrub-Jay.

Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay

The beautiful Scott’s Oriole is found mostly in west Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

Scott’s Oriole

This Western Tanager was pretty elusive.  He stayed partly hidden in the branches, until he finally made this brief appearance.

Western Tanager

The Loggerhead Shrike is a familiar bird all across the southern states.  Know as the Butcher Bird as he likes to impale his prey on barbed-wire or cactus spines, to be eaten at a later time.

Loggerhead Shrike

Another photo of the Woodhouse’s Scrub’Jay.  I don’t know which I like best.

Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay

Again, I hope you enjoyed these photos.  More are coming in future posts.  Prints are available at my FineArtAmerican store at: http://1bob-zeller.pixels.com.  Just click on the image you are interested in and a menu will fall in place, letting you know what is available and pricing.  You may also buy 12×16 prints directly from me at bobzeller@pobox.com.

One of my readers, Mr. Carl White, asked for a list of all of the species from that trip.  So for all of you birders who may be curious, here is what we saw from leaving San Angelo on May 1 until coming back on May 5.  It includes birds from the Davis Mountains, Lake Balmorhea, Saucedo Wetlands, and highways throughout the areas.

  1. Pyrhuloxia
  2. White-winged Dove
  3. Turkey Vulture
  4. Common Raven
  5. Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
  6. Northern Mockingbird
  7. Bullock’s Oriole
  8. House Finch
  9. House Sparrow
  10. Great-tailed Grackle
  11. Cassin’s Kingbird
  12. White-crowned Sparrow
  13. Greater Roadrunner
  14. Northern Shoveler
  15. Cinnamon Teal
  16. Mallard
  17. Killdeer
  18. Cave Swallow
  19. Western Meadowlark
  20. Purple Martin
  21. American Coot
  22. Pied-billed Grebe
  23. Olive-sided Sparrow
  24. Black-chinned Hummingbird
  25. Brown-headed Cowbird
  26. Red-tailed Hawk
  27. Chichuahuan Raven
  28. Lark Sparrow
  29. Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay
  30. Scott’s Oriole
  31. White-breasted Nuthatch
  32. Swainson’s Hawk
  33. Chipping Sparrow
  34. Black-headed Grosbeak
  35. Acorn Woodpecker
  36. Mourning Dove
  37. Wilson’s Warbler
  38. Black-crested Titmouse
  39. Hermit Thrush
  40. Western Wood-Pewee
  41. Summer Tanager
  42. Pine Siskin
  43. Blue Grosbeak
  44. Montezuma Quail
  45. Cactus Wren
  46. Canyon Towhee
  47. Say’s Phoebe
  48. McGilivray’s Warbler
  49. Bushtit
  50. Common Nighthawk
  51. Hepatic Tanager (lifer)
  52. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  53. Bewick’s Wren
  54. Western Tanager
  55. Loggerhead Shrike
  56. Scaled Quail
  57. Common Black-Hawk
  58. Eastern Meadowlark
  59. Ladder-backed Woodpecker
  60. Lesser Goldfinch
  61. Northern Cardinal
  62. Black-throated Sparrow
  63. Spotted Sandpiper
  64. Green Heron
  65. Red-winged Blackbird
  66. Western Grebe
  67. Clark’s Grebe
  68. Black-necked Stilt
  69. White-faced Ibis
  70. Snowy Egret
  71. Yellow-headed Blackbird
  72. Vermilion Flycatcher
  73. Curve-billed Thrasher
  74. Western Kingbird

Great Birding in Davis Mountains


We returned from our week stay in Fort Davis on Friday afternoon.  It was probably our best birding trip ever when we look at the numbers.  For the four days we spent there we saw a total of 73 different species, high-lighted by our sighting and photograph of a Montezuma Quail.  It had been very elusive to us as we had missed seeing it on a half dozen previous trips.  This time we visited a friends bird-watch setup at his place high in the Davis Mountains.  We have to thank Stephen Hambright for his hospitality and use of his blinds.

Montezuma Quail

I took about 1,000 images there, along the highways in the area, and at Lake Balmorhea.  It will take me several more days to go through all of them.  I am having day-surgery on my nose tomorrow, so I want to do this post today, Sunday, and show these four photographs.  The rest will have to wait several more days until my next post.  Bythe way, click on any image to see a glorious enlargement.

There were several Black-headed Grosbeaks in abundance in the mountains.

Black-headed Grosbeak

We spent two mornings at Stephen’s place.  I think most of our sightings were there.  Besides the Grosbeaks, we saw a Hepatic Tanager, Summer Tanager, Western Tanager, Say’s Phoebe, Wood Pewees, Scrub-jays, and various others.  I will be showing some of those in future posts.

Say’s Phoebe

On Wednesday evening we traveled out highway 505, a desolate road with no traffic for miles.  We were in search of possibly some bald eagles.  We struck out on those, although we did see a huge Common Black-Hawk.  We did see and photograph some Scaled Quail.  They seemed to be everywhere along the way.

Scaled Quail

Those are all that for now.  I hope to be posting again towards the end of this coming week.  I will have to see how this minor surgery goes tomorrow.

I now will have 12×16 inch prints on hand if any of you want one.  Of course, that goes for any photo that you have seen on any of my posts.  They are 40.00 each, but that includes shipping.  If you live in San Angelo, you pay only 30.00 if I can hand deliver it.  Just contact me at bobzeller@pobox.com. or 325-656-6241.

You can also order limited photos from my FineArtAmerica website at http://1-bob-zeller.pixels.com.

Until my next post in a few days, Happy Birding!!

 

Say it isn’t so, Bob, say it isn’t so…….


Well sorry to say, it is so.  I am suspending my blog, at least for a short period.  You might say I am taking a sabbatical for several weeks, perhaps a couple of months.  I am undergoing a series of procedures to cure some skin cancer on my face and neck.  I am hoping to get back to work by the end of April, as Ann and I want to spend a few days in the Davis Mountains during the first week of May.

Because of this, I obviously need to keep myself out of the sun as much as possible.  My face looks like it has been run over by a garbage truck with a full load.  It is very uncomfortable, and that makes it hard for me to concentrate on anything to do with writing creatively.  I do hope to get outdoors anyway, perhaps earlier in the day, or when it is cloudier.  I am not fit right now to be seen in public.  But in the end, it will be worth the discomfort.

Anyway, to ease your disappointment, I have a few images from the past couple of weeks that I will show you here.  Click on any photo to see an enlargement.

Burrowing Owl

American Kestrel

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Carolina Wren

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-winged Blackbird – female

American Robin in early morning light.

Horned Lark

Osprey, with lunch

Red-tailed Hawk

Great Horned Owl – peeking from behind a freshly cut branch.

So there you have it, something to hold you over for a few weeks.  See ya then….

Happy Birding.

A Pre-Valentine’s Day Post


I am getting back into my routine since returning from the Big Bend.  The weather is moving up and down like a Disney roller-coaster.  93° last Saturday.  Maybe 45° today.  No matter, I try to get out for an hour or two, or three nearly every day.  The birding is improving, but having said that, it will probably be another wait for the spring birds to arrive.  But let me show you the photos I have gotten since my last post.  As usual, click on any image to see some nice enlargements.

Here in San Angelo we do have American Robins pretty regularly, but this year it seems there many, many more than in the past.  I see them almost everywhere I go.

American Robin - 1/640 sec. @ f6.3, +0,7 EV, ISO 3200, 450mm

American Robin – 1/640 sec. @ f6.3, +0,7 EV, ISO 3200, 450mm

This House Finch and the above robin were photographed early in the morning at the same darkish location, which accounted for the high ISO of 3200.  As you can see, they are sitting on the same branch.

House Finch, female - 1/500 sec. @ f6.3, +0,7 EV, ISO 3200, 550mm.

House Finch, female – 1/500 sec. @ f6.3, +0,7 EV, ISO 3200, 550mm.

I love to photograph the Northern Cardinals.  They are so photogenic, it is hard to get a bad image.

Northern Cardinal - 1/500 sec. @ f6.3, +0.7 EV, ISO 3200, 450mm

Northern Cardinal – 1/500 sec. @ f6.3, +0.7 EV, ISO 3200, 450mm

Loggerhead Shrike, AKA ‘the butcherbird’.  They love to impale their prey on a thorn or barbed wire before consuming them.

Loggerhead Shrike - 1/640 sec. @ f8, +0.7 EV, ISO 200, 600mm.

Loggerhead Shrike – 1/640 sec. @ f8, +0.7 EV, ISO 200, 600mm.

The Belted Kingfishers are not innocent either.  They dive and hit the water at about 100MPH, stabbing their fish, and giving themselves a nasty headache.

Belted Kingfisher, female. 1/640 sec. @ f7.1, +0.7 EV, ISO 400, 600mm.

Belted Kingfisher, female. 1/640 sec. @ f7.1, +0.7 EV, ISO 400, 600mm.

This Carolina Wren gave me a nice pose early one morning.

Carolina Wren - 1/1000 sec. @ f6.3, +0.3 EV, ISO 640, 600mm.

Carolina Wren – 1/1000 sec. @ f6.3, +0.3 EV, ISO 640, 600mm.

Last week one day, we ventured out to about a dozen miles west of Eldorado, where this Burrowing Owl was making it’s home in a culvert.  When we arrived, we saw from about 100 yards down the road.  He was standing looking our way, like he was waiting for us to show up.  As we neared he jumped into the culvert, and turned and peeked out to look our way.  Of about 100 images this was one of my personal favorites.  My camera and lens gave me an excellent quality file to work with, and I was able to crop close and give you this portrait.

Burrowing Owl - 1/1600 sec. @ f7.1, ISO 400, 600mm.

Burrowing Owl – 1/1600 sec. @ f7.1, ISO 400, 600mm.

One day at San Angelo State Park ann spotted this Merlin off to the right of the car.  I only had time to shoot across Ann’s lap through her window.  The early morning gave me some good light.

Merlin - 1/2000 sec. @ f6.3, +0.7 EV, ISO 1000, 600mm.

Merlin – 1/2000 sec. @ f6.3, +0.7 EV, ISO 1000, 600mm.

Before we left the state park, we spotted this Red-tailed Hawk perched.  As I was starting to shoot, from about80 yards away, it decided to take flight.  I was ready, and I filled the frame with my lens.

Red-tailed Hawk - 1/2000 sec. @ f6.3, ISO 320, 600mm.

Red-tailed Hawk – 1/2000 sec. @ f6.3, ISO 320, 600mm.

I hope you enjoyed this post and all of the photographs.  I am working on adding images to my FineArtamerica store where you can buy prints and other items with my photography.

You may want to start a collection of my coffee mugs with birds or some of my landscape images.  They make fine gifts.  To browse and/or purchase, Click HERE.

A return to the Big Bend


We got back to San Angelo Friday afternoon, after a five hour drive from our Casita at Far Flung Outdoor Center in Study Butte, Texas.  We were exhausted, not from just the trip, but from the great four days that we spent in Big Bend National Park and Chisos Mountains of west Texas.  We saw a great number of birds, although not as many as we had hoped.  But considering it is winter time, we should be glad.  We added five more to our yearly list, including a lifer, a Bushtit.  We are at 108 for the year as of now, and my life list is up to 294.

But apart from the birding, I was also able to get some nice landscape photos from that beautiful area.  I am usually in the birding mode, and I tend to not notice the majestic scenes of Big Bend National Park.  This time I made it a point to enjoy that aspect much more.

Here are a few photos from our memorable journey.  Click on any of them to see pretty enlargements.

There were plenty of Red-tailed Hawks.

Red-tailed Hawk - 1/1600 sec, @ f6.3, ISO 250.

Red-tailed Hawk – 1/1600 sec, @ f6.3, ISO 250.

We saw plenty of White-crowned Sparrows, too.

White-crowned sparrow - 1/640 sec. @ f9, ISO 250.

White-crowned sparrow – 1/640 sec. @ f9, ISO 250.

We also saw numerous of these Loggerhead Shrikes.

Loggerhead Shrike - 1/1600 sec, @ f6.3, ISO 200.

Loggerhead Shrike – 1/1600 sec, @ f6.3, ISO 200.

The grandeur of Big Bend National Park is amazing.  Photo opportunities at every turn.  This photo is from a very high lookout point along the Ross Maxwell Highway.  Probable altitude around 5,000 feet.  You can look across the top of Kit Mountain and see the opening in the 1500 foot cliffs that mark Santa Elena Canyon, a distance of around 20 miles away.

Sotol Vista - 1/320 sec. @ ff10, +0.7 EV, ISO 200.

Sotol Vista – 1/320 sec. @ ff10, +0.7 EV, ISO 200.

This is a typical desert scene.  Cerro Castellan is in the distance.

Desert Landscape - 1/640 sec. @ f8, +0.7 EV, I SO 200.

Desert Landscape – 1/640 sec. @ f8, +0.7 EV, I SO 200.

Here is close-up detail of Cerro Castellan.

Cerro Castellan - 1/200 sec, @ f5.6, -0.3, ISO 200.

Cerro Castellan – 1/200 sec, @ f5.6, -0.3, ISO 200.

When eating a breakfast of burritos and coffee in the morning in the ghost town at Terlingua, this cactus wren was happily singing near by.

Cactus Wren - 1/3200 sec, @ f6.3, +0.3 EV, IS O 2000.

Cactus Wren – 1/3200 sec, @ f6.3, +0.3 EV, IS O 2000.

From the window formation in the Chisos Mountains, altitude 5,000 feet, looking west, you can see forever.

Window View - 1/3200 sec, @ f5.6, +0.3 EV, ISO 250.

Window View – 1/3200 sec, @ f5.6, +0.3 EV, ISO 250.

I hope you enjoyed these image of our little vacation.  We are hoping to back again soon.  Now it is back to birding for a couple of months.

Now that Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us, why don’t you have a look at my gifts in my FineArtAmerica store.  Not only prints of my images, but coffee mugs, bags, and other nice gifts featuring my photography.

Happy Birding!!!