Ann and I are retired, as you all know. Ann, after 38 years as office manager for the local Coca-cola Bottling Company; me after two tours with the U.S. Air Force and several years as a self-employed business man. Once, an owner of a lawn and landscape company and twelve years as a contractor for the San Angelo Standard-Times. Now, even though I am retired, I am still a successful wildlife photographer, being published in several national publications. But you can read more about my other shenanagans by clicking on many of the buttons at the top of this blog.
Now you may be wondering what we do with all of this time on our hands. Ann is 78 years of age and I have just turned 83. As you know we both have a love of wildlife, specifically birds at the present time. So, since we live only three miles from San Angelo State Park, that is where we spend much of our time.
Our daily routine goes something like this. I am usually the first to awake, around 6:00AM. I get the coffee pot going, turn on the news to Fox and Friends, and check my iPad to see who is beating me at Words with Friends. By 7:00, I have usually disturbed Ann enough that she awakens and joins me for another cup of coffee.
We discuss our plans for the day. That usually includes discussing a birding trip, usually to the state park. So we decide to put off any chores that should be done around the house. It can always be done the next day. We get dressed, load up my cameras and assorted equipment. She gets snacks and her bird listing note-book. We head to Rosa’s Mexican Cafe for a breakfast burrito and taco to go.
We have an annual pass so it is economical to spend time at the state park, and we also have access to the gate combination in case we get there early. After going through the gate, we head for one of the two boat ramps that are accessible to O. C. Fisher Lake. There are about a dozen more ramps to the lake, but because of the extreme low level of the lake, they are about 500 yards or more from the water. We like to park and watch for waterfowl while eating our breakfast. We can usually get to see Cormorants, Great Blue Herons, American Coots, Great Egrets and assorted sandpipers and small sparrows. One particular day, we were out of the car as I was trying to photograph some American White Pelicans. Ann was a couple of feet behind me. A Bobcat rushed through, chasing a rabbit, and almost knocked Ann off of her feet.
When we have finished eating, we start our drive through the park, driving slowly at about 5 MPH. This particular morning we decide to head for the Isabel Harte mulit-use area. Trails, picnic tables, etc. Taking some back roads to get there we can sometime see hawks, owls and other small birds. One particular area we slow almost to a stop and look carefully for Verdins or Yellow-breasted Chats that have been seen. We are always looking for that next surprise.
Great Horned Owl
Once at the Isabel Harte area, we head for a favorite spot for warblers and other tiny birds. It is basically just a large shrubby area. We park so we have a good view. With patience we can see and photographer, Orange-crowned Warblers, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Blue-gray Gnatchers, etc. It is always great fun to try to photography these flighty tiny birds.
After spending some time there, we reverse ourselves and head back for the other side of that area of the park. On the way we may see Bobwhites and Greater Roadrunners.
Numerous Loggerhead Shrikes.
Eventually we reach the other usuable boat ramp that I mentioned earlier. From there we can sight American Pelicans far out on the lake. Also there are more coots, Ring-billed Gulls and Red-winged Blackbirds. On occasion we have seen Peregrine Falcons streaking across the lake. About ten years ago when there was more water in the lake, three Roseate Spoonbills arrived and spent a week. A rarity, as they are usually found near the gulf coast. But that is the fun of birding. You just never know when you might get a nice surprise show up in front of you.
Our drives through the park usually take about three hours, depending on how much time I spend getting (or not getting) photographs. We stop at the blind sometimes if there we are not too tired, but we actually have much more fun and and success just on our drives. We then head for the house, where I download the morning’s images for editing and Ann brings her monthly listings up to date. Then, how about a little nap. 🙂
I hope you enjoyed this little narrative about a day in our lives. Feel free to comment. Please. 🙂 We like to hear from you.