Back in San Angelo


They say that it is fun to get away, but always nice to come home again.  Well said.  But…….I am ready to get away again.  I confess, I love traveling all over this great state of Texas, albeit most of my destinations are in the western part of the state.  Uvalde sounds like a likely stop for us in the near future.  We will see, so stay tuned.

I might add that I erred in my last post when I said we were in Jefferson Davis County.  Actually, the name is Jeff Davis County.  It was named after, but shortened, for Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States from 1861 to 1865

After spending several days, sorting and tossing over 1,000 images from our Davis Mountains trip, we finally got away Wednesday morning.  We headed for San Angelo State Park, one of our favorite birding venues.  Here are a few images from there.

I don’t usually take time to notice doves as they are so plentiful I take them for granted, but for some reason or other, I saw this Mourning Dove in the early morning sun, and decided to take a shot.

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Mourning Dove

Driving along another of the many roads that wind through the park, we saw a Cooper’s Hawk land in a tree.  I stopped the car, stepped out and set my camera on the roof of the car.  We were about 80 yards away, but I didn’t want to try to get closer, not wanting to spook hime to fly.

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Cooper’s Hawk

A few minutes later, he did decide to fly.  We watched and saw him land out to our left, in another tree.  This time, he was facing away from me.  I was still able to reach him with my 150-600mm lens.

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Cooper’s Hawk.

There weren’t too many photo ops, even though we saw many species.  Here is a Lark Sparrow, trying to hide in a bush.

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Lark Sparrow

We decided to head for home after that as the temps were starting to rise.  But we were surprised before we got out the gate.  Crossing the road in front of us was this Porcupine.

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Porcupine

That’s all for this post.  Catch me in another few days. 🙂

Happy Birding!!

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2018 Calendars on the way.


2018 Calendar

Just a brief post to let you folks know that my beautiful 2018 Texas Tweeties Calendar has been ordered.  It will be here in around August 1.  If you are interested in one contact me  They have proved to be very popular in past years so it would behoove you to get yours as soon as possible.  Just contact me at bobzeller@pobox.com.  They are 22.95 plus 7.00 shipping.  Not a bad price for 12 of my photographs. 🙂

Thank you, and Happy Birding!!

Catching up again.


Well, here it is the fifth of June already.  My sale on Saturday went pretty well.  I sold many photographs, but I still have many left.  I am talking about my excess of framed photos that were taking up space in my storage area.  But I met and made new friends, some that had been unaware of my work.  Also, I have found that I have many more new readers that have logged onto this blog.  I welcome you.

For you newbies that are reading this, at the top of the page you can see several buttons that link articles about me and my various adventures.  Check them out.  I think you will enjoy them.  I wrote them all, and I am impressed, too.  I have some new photos to share here today, and I hope they impress you as well.  Click one any of them to see some beautiful enlargements.

My favorite bird to watch for in the spring, the Painted Bunting.  One of the most beautiful birds in the state of Texas, and one of the most sought out by birders and bird photographers.  I think this is one of my best of that specie.  But I often say that every time I photograph one.  I am always happy when they make their spring arrival.

Painted Bunting

The Blue Grosbeak is one that I always anxious to see each year.

Blue Grosbeak

This Yellow Warbler flew into our bird blind at San Angelo State Park.  The first of the year for me.

Yellow Warbler

The Golden-fronted Woodpecker is the predominant woodpecker in the San Angelo area.  I am always impressed with the brilliant coloring of the male.  The female is absent of the little red crown.

Golden-fronted Woodpecker

This Great-crested Flycatcher is the first one that I had ever seen close enough to photograph.  They are rare in this area, but they can be found with careful searching.  It easy to confuse them with Ash-throated Flycatcher that are plentiful here.

Great-crested Flycatcher

So that is all for this writing.  Of course, I will be hitting the field again the next several days, in my never-ending quest for more photographs.  So watch for another post in a few days.

In the meantime, I have prints available for all of the images you see on this blog.  If you are interested, just contact me at bobzeller@pobox.com.  If you are one of my bird coffee mug collectors, click here to see what I have added.  Just click the one you like and purchase information will appear.

’til the next time, Happy Birding!!

 

 

 

Great opportunity, to obtain my work.


I have a great opportunity for you readers that live locally, or within driving distance of San Angelo.  Let me explain.

Painted Bunting

As many of you may know, I used to travel extensively in west Texas, doing art shows, etc.  I had a trailer that I hauled my framed prints, back-drops, tables, etc.  But as I aged, I quit doing those trips several years ago.  All of those framed prints sat in storage since then, as I had no outlet for them.  Now I am going to do the unthinkable.  I am going to sell all of them, approximately 75 in all, at my cost of the frames, glass, mats, etc.  In other words, from 25.00 to 35.00 each, on average.  They all retailed from 90.00 to 150.00 and more.

I also will have my regular un-framed prints on sale, too.  Regular price 30.00, marked down to 25.00 for this event.

This sale will happen in my front yard at 4401 White Ash Ln., San Angelo.  Saturday morning, June 3, from 8:00 until noon.

I hope to see some of you here.  For more info you can contact me at 325-656-6241 or e-mail at bobzeller@pobox.com.

If you are wondering, I am not retiring from photography or blogging.  I just will not keep any stock of framed photographs on hand.

Migration is in full swing….


We definitely are in the midst of the spring migration.  There are some strange anomalies this year.  Many birds are arriving early.  Some, like the Great Kiskadee, decided to move farther north and have made a home here in San Angelo.  We have witnessed the arrivals of the Painted Buntings, Western Kingbirds, Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, and Ash-throated Flycatchers to name a few.  We even witnessed a pair of Lesser Nighthawks, that are usually rare to this area.

I am beginning to get back into the swing of things, too, after my long layoff.  As we entered the San Angelo State Park yesterday morning, we saw this Misissippi Kite on a high line.  It was the first one of the season for me.

Mississippi Kite

A few minutes later I captured this photo of a Western Kingbird.

Western Kingbird

Tomorrow morning Ann and I are heading to the Davis Mountains.  There have been great reports of numerous birds that we want to see and photograph.  Again, we will be staying at the Davis Mountains Inn.  If any of our birding readers or FaceBook friend happen to be there in the area, look us up.

By the way, I am offering a 10% discount on prints, coffee mugs and other items at my online store FineArtAmerica.  Just enter this code: SBJNYY  at checkout.  Offer expires May 25, 2017.

I will be back in a week, hopefully with some news and photos from our stay at Fort Davis.

Until then, Happy Birding!!

Internet Dating – 50s Style


This post is a little bit off of my usual style, but it will serve as an example of how things can work out, even if a little unorthodox.  But, most importantly, how having faith in the Man upstairs, can make things work out.

It started when Ann and I were down at Beverly Stribling’s ranch, leading eleven delightful ladies on a birding tour.  After that was done, lunch was served, wine was imbibed, and  conversation was entertaining.  One of the ladies insisted that Ann and I tell them how we met, since we have been married 58 years.  After I told them that it was at bit unusual, to say the least, they wanted the complete unabridged story.  I believe that I may have touched a bit on the subject in a post several years ago, but I will be more thorough this time.  I think you will find it a little entertaining.  Perhaps a little unbelievable.  So here we go……..

I am from Muskegon, Michigan originally.  In March of 1958 I was stationed at Ardmore AFB, Oklahome.  Ann had just moved to Muskegon from her home in Beulah, Michigan.  She did this to attend Muskegon Business School.  She was nineteen year of age.  She just happened to rent an upstairs room and my grandmother’s house.  (You can see where this going, can’t you.)

Yep, my sweet grandmother, decided that she should do the right thing and notify me of the cute girl upstairs.   She provided me of her address, just in case I was interested.  This was in mid March of 1958.  Well, since I was a lonely service man, of course, I was a little interested.  (heck, a lot interested).  I decided to write this lass, and introduce myself as the grandchild of her landlord.  She wrote back immediately with a very nice letter, telling me about herself, etc.  So I wrote her back again.  We struck a neat friendship that blossomed as we got to know each other.  She sent me a couple of pictures of herself.  This was the first one.

Ann – 1958

Ann – 1958

You have to agree, she has great looking legs.  So, anyway, I sent her a couple of mine, as I wanted her to know what she was getting into.  Here I am, dressed to impress.

Bob – 1958

We continued to write each other.  By mid-April we were writing each other every day. Before, I had been writing to about 50 other girls.  (Well that figure may be inaccurate.  Maybe it wasn’t that many  I will need to go back and check my records.  After all, I am nearly 83 years of age, and my memory is a bit fuzzy.)  Anyway, I remember sending both of them a Dear Joan letter.  Things were getting more serious, but I still hadn’t met or even talked to Ann.

In about mid-June, I decided to ask Ann if she would marry me.  Yep, that’s right.  Sight unseen, I knew she was the one for me.  I waited in anticipation for her answer.  Three days later I got the return letter.  She said “I’d be honored to be your wife.  Wow! I thought, what do I do now?  Well, I got my calendar out and did some calculating.  First,we needed to set a date.

I decided a fast trip home was in order.  I could only ge a three-day pass, but that didn’t stop me.  I decided to hitch-hike to Oklahoma City, go to Tinker AFB and get a hop (free-right) on any military aircraft that was heading to Michigan or vicinity.  I figured I would hitch-hike to Muskegon, see my future bride for a few hours, then grab a bus back to Ardmore.  I called my dad and asked him go to Ann’s apartment and inform her of my plans.

Well, you know what they say about the best-laid plans.  I made it to Tinker just fine.  But as I was sitting, waiting in the transient lounge a fierce thunder storm hit.  It included rain, very high winds, and large hail.  All flight operations ceased and all aircraft were grounded.  I had no choice but to hitch-hike back to Ardmore when weather cleared.  When I got there I called my dad again and asked him to go to Ann’s place again and tell her of my aborted mission.

Okay, I decided.  Time to go to plan B.  I decided to call her and talk to her on the phone.  This would be the first time I would hear her voice.  I called my dad once again.  (By now, my dad is getting to know Ann quite well.)  My grandmother didn’t have a telephone, so I asked my dad to, once again, go get Ann and bring her back to the house.  I would then call home at a designated time, and Ann and I would have our first conversation…….to make wedding plans.

Well, to have a private conversation at my parents house is not easy.  My dad has his favorite chair, a huge recliner that is where he spends his time relaxing.  Our phone is, yep, you guessed it.  On a stand, right next to that chair.  There are no other handsets.  I do not know if my dad gave up his seat for her, but I didn’t ask, as I had other things on my mind when she said hello to me…..for the first time.  We chatted a little then I asked her how August 18 would work for her.  I mentioned that date because of my plans that I worked out, explained in the following paragraph….

I had made some preliminary  plans vis-a-vis our wedding date.  I knew the how many paydays I would need to have to get enough money to rent an apartment, buy groceries, and get a round-trip ticket for me.  All the little things need to start a sucessful marriage to get off the ground.  So I had calculated all of this and figured if I could leave on Friday the 15th, after getting paid of course I could get to Chicago.  A friend of mine was heading that way and he would give me a ride there to the bus station, where I could buy a ticket for the final leg to Muskegon, Michigan.  Ann was to meet me at the bus station, at 2:00 PM the following day, Saturday.  Then we could get married on Monday the 18th.

So, back to our very first telephone conversation.  She said that date would be fantastic.  She would graduate from business school the previous week, so our timing was impeccable.  She said she would make all of the plans, get the license, line up a church and preacher, and send out invitations.  Before I forget, I also went to a jewelry store and paid 79.00 for a set of diamond rings.  Yes, they were real.  Remember this is 1958.

It worked out exactly as planned.  I pulled into the bus station at 2:00 and she was sitting on bench looking pretty much as she did in that picture above. It was like we had known each other forever.  We got a taxi to head for my parents house.  Remember, back then co-habitation (shacking-up) before marriage usually wasn’t done, so I would be staying there until we were married.  She mentioned on the way to the house, that I wouldn’t have much time to relax, as the wedding rehearsal was at 4:00.

All went well, we got to know each other more as the weekend went by.  The wedding was very nice, except for the absence of her parents.  They we up in age and didn’t feel up to making the 150 mile trip from Beulah to Muskegon.  On the following day, Tuesday, we did drive up there, though, so I could meet my in-laws.  They turned out to be awesome people.  There was only one minor snag.  I didn’t have enough money for Ann’s bus ticket back to Ardmore.  I had hoped to get some cash in our wedding gifts.  Alas, there was none.

The Melody Rangers – Ardmore AFB – Me 2nd from the right.

But no fear.  Since I was a professional musician before and during my Air Force career, I had an extra alto saxophone that my parents were keeping for me.  I took it to the local music store, that I used to haunt as a teenager.  I talked the owner into buying that sax so I could buy Ann’s bus ticket.  Problem solved.  We packed all of Ann’s belongings, including dishes, pots and pans, etc. into seven suit cases.  We checked them through on the bus.

Back in Ardmore.  The following day I took Ann out to the airbase.  She got a civil service job working in base supply.  Our landlord, thought we were a sweet couple.  Their son had a cream-puff 1953 Buick Roadmaster that he was willing to sell us for 795.00 and he would tote the note.  I would make payments to him.

So there we were.  All of a sudden we went from, ah, let’s see.  I won’t say a struggling couple, as we didn’t have enough sense to know what struggling meant.  We were just taking each day one at a time, having the time of our lives.  But there we were, Ann had a great job, we had a great car, and I was about to get promoted and add another stripe.  You see, the Good Lord was following our antics all the way, making sure we wouldn’t get lost.  It has now been nearly 59 years.  I wouldn’t recommend our way of getting ‘hitched’ but if I had it to do over, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Wedding photo

Wedding photo.

I hope you enjoyed this fun, but true story of love and adventure.

 

A Special promotion for my WordPress readers.


As many of you know, I am not restricted to bird photography.  One of my award-winning photographs was from the International Water Lily Collection in San Angelo.  It has won many first place awards, besides being one of my best selling photographs.  I am now offering it for a limited time as a stretched canvas print, ready for hanging. It is a special promotion for my WordPress readers that havae been so loyal and faithful over the years.  A saving of $ 23.00.  Click here for more information.

Thank you for considering

Watch for another post here soon. 🙂