More on 1,000th post


Referring back to my post yesterday on my 1,000th post, I feel that I neglected to mention that my success is attributed to the support of all of my loyal readers. You have stayed with me through all of these ten years and I intend to keep going until I can no longer hold a camera.  Having said that, this my 1,001th post. 🙂

I have had 236,457 views, by 63,291 visitors from 178 countries.  2, 874 persons have even subscribed so they get an e-mail whenever I write a new post.

In case you are unaware, you, too, can subscribe.  At the right, where it says “sign me up”, just click there and enter your e-mail address.  That simple.  Free.  No obligation. Period.  You can cancel anytime.

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Eastern Bluebird

Until the next time, HAPPY BIRDING!!!

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Post Number 1,000 – Yee-Haw


This is my 1,000th post since I started this blog back on September 11, 2009.  My wife, Ann and my dear friend and fellow photographer, Deb, (her website) both talked me into writing articles about photography and the great hobby of birding.  I had no writing experience of this nature and I was a little apprehensive.  However, after I got started, I discovered I could just type away and let my thoughts flow.

Looking back, though, I wonder how in the world was I ever able to think of a different subject 1,000 times.  But, as you have known, I have come up with some catchy titles.  Some very easy, some with a little tongue-in-cheek humor.  Ann accuses me of having a weird sense of humor.  If you don’t catch my puns the first time, well, I am sorry. 🙂  I do have one reader, Beth, from Winters, Texas that catches them all, and gets a chuckle out of all of them.

During the ten years duration of this blog, so far, I have went through about three different cameras and more lenses than I can count.  Well, that is an exaggeration but you get the picture. (pun intended).  I love getting into new equipment.  I can also look back and see how my photography and photo editing has greatly improved over the time.

I have always tried to include photographs in each of my posts.  This article will be no different.  I think I will celebrate this fine occasion with a few of my best.

This bobcat has to rank up with one of my favorites.  I shoot a lot of wildlife; mostly birds, but I can’t resist photographing an animal as beautiful as this.  Especially when one gives me such a great opportunity as this.  We were outside of Middle Concho Park here in San Angelo, when he strolled through the brush and sat down and gave me a staring look. And great poses.  As most of you know, I shoot from my mobile photo blind, i.e. my Ford Escape.  It enables me to get closer than I would if I was on foot.

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Young Bobcat

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Young Bobcat

One of my favorite haunts to do landscape photography is Big Bend National Park.  It is a spectacular, magical place.  Desert scenes, mountains, canyons to many to count.  All of which was created by something akin to the ‘big bang’.  This photo shows some of remnants of a long-time ago volcanic episode.  I guess the photo shows some of my Ansel Adams influence.  The boulders strewn among mountains of ash.

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“Texas Moonscape”

Also in Big Bend National Park, we were heading west towards Santa Elena Canyon, when I looked through my rear-view mirror.  As the sun was setting in the west, of course, it was reflecting back towards Mule Ears peak.  I stopped the car and took this show.  Never forget to look behind and see what you might have missed.

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Of course, this photo has to be one of my most interesting and challenging experience.  We were with friend out near Lake Nasworthy dam, and some herons and other birds were grazing in some rocky pools near the foot of the dam.  I observed this guy doing a little fishing.  I watched him for a while as he would dive his head quickly and come up with a fish.  I put my camera and long lens on a tripod from about 75 feet away.  With the camera set on high-speed shutter, when he started to dip his head I pressed and held the shutter at about 20 frames per second, through his process. This is my lucky result, as he quickly shifted the fish so he could swallow it head-first.

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Great Blue Heron

When photographing birds, nothing is more exciting that shooting the raptors.  The Red-tailed Hawk ranks as one of my favorites.  We were traveling north towards Ballinger, Texas one day when this creature rose from the grass on the left side of the road.  I had my camera on my lap.  I quickly drove right onto the shoulder, and grabbed it in time to catch the action as it flew by.

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Red-tailed Hawk

From the big to the little.  Photographing the tiny birds presents an exciting challenge.  Especially the Ruby-crowned Kinglet.  To me probably the fastest, quickest of them all.  Always on the move, flitting through the sometimes dense brush.  By the time, you think you have a shot, he disappears from the viewfinder, and he is on another branch or twig.  But perseverance pays off.  The red crown sometimes shows up on the crown making the result more exciting.

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Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Well, I think that wraps up this latest, but not my final post.  I will continue on and see how far this journey takes me.  So stay tuned for my 1,001th entry in a few days.

To see more photos, click my Gallery button at the top of this page.

Happy Shooting!!

 

 

The Feisty Titmouse….and more


In Texas there basically two Titmouse species,; the Tufted, found in the eastern part of the state, and the Black-crested that hangs out in the western part.  So here in the San Angelo area you will find the Black-crested Titmouse the year around.  A very feisty bird, I have seen many a licensed bird-bander get his hands scratched when trying to retrieve one from the mist nets that they use to trap them.  Trying to photograph one, is a feat in itself.  A fast moving bird in the brush, it is hard to keep in the viewfinder of a camera.

However, I have met the challenge several times.  Here are a few images of one that I got recently in the past week.

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Black-crested Titmouse

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Black-crested Titmouse

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Black-crested Titmouse

Besides getting photos of the titmice, I found many more photo opportunities.

Everybody loves the Great Roadrunner.

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Great Roadrunner

Western Meadowlarks have are around in great numbers.  I happened to see this one in a tree.  Not unusual, but I see most of them on the ground.

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Western Meadowlark

The Canyon Towhee, while not a really colorful bird, does have a certain beauty of it’s own.

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Canyon Towhee

The black-masked Loggerhead Shrike is another nasty bird.  Also know as the ‘butcher bird’, it captures it’s prey, then impales it on thorns or barbed wire to save it for a later meal.

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Loggerhead Shrike

American Robin, as American as apple pie and Chevrolet.  Always a harbinger of spring.

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American Robin

The Great Blue Heron; one of my favorite birds to photograph.  They can always be found around our local rivers and lakes.  It is always a nice thing to catch one in perfect light, such as this one.  About 150 yards away across the water, I think this is one of my personal favorites.

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Great Blue Heron

Osprey.  I love to photograph the raptors, and the Osprey is no exception.  This one gave me a nice frontal view.

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Osprey

The Say’s Phoebe is not a rare bird here, but neither is it a bird that has a large presence, so it is nice to come up on one.  A birder friend gave me a tip on where to find this one.  I went to that location, played his song on my iPad app, and he presented himself for this photo.  I love it when it is this easy.

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Say’s Phoebe

Well, I hope you enjoyed this latest collection.  I want to thank you readers and my Facebook friends, that comment so very favorably on my photography.  It is what keeps me excited about writing these posts.  So keep those letters and comments coming in. 🙂

By the way, you can subscribe and receive a notification of when I write a new post by going to ‘SIGN ME UP” on the right side of this page.

I’ll be back in a few days.  Until then………HAPPY BIRDING!!!

 

Nicer weather prevailing…….for now


The weather is about to get cooler here in San Angelo again.  But the past week or so there have been some spring-like temperatures.  I managed to get out a few times and with help of my wife, spotted a few birds to photograph.  I like having her along, as it is nice to have that extra pair of eyes when I am driving.

This female Norther Flicker was spotted as we drove out Spillway Road toward the Nature Trail.  As I can’t do much hiking anymore, I don’t walk the trail.  But near the entrance we can usually see many species.  The flicker was about 150 yards away and I wasn’t sure if I could get a decent photograph.  But my Canon 7D MKII and Tamron 150-600mm lens came through for me.  Of course, like most of my long range photos, it is heavily cropped.

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Northern Flicker

This Northern Cardinal was in the same area.  As you can see, he was facing into the early morning sun.

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Northern Cardinal

Back into Spring Creek Park we were driving around the familiar horseshoe drive.  It is a one-way drive, but because I am usually the only person in the park, I drive it backward.  That puts the water on my driver’s side, making photographs much easier.  I don’t have to get out of the car, avoiding flushing the birds.  So, that is how I came about shooting the nice photo of a Great Egret.

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Great Egret

Getting away from the water, we found this Grasshopper Sparrow in the brush.

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Grasshopper Sparrow

These meadowlarks are around in great numbers.  Easily seen as you drive through the countryside and the state park.  As you can see, I prefer photographing birds in their natural habitat.  I don’t mind having the twigs, leaves, etc. in my photos, as long as the birds are easily identifiable.

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Western Meadowlark

I hope you enjoyed this post.  It may be a few days until the next one, as the weather is getting colder for a bit.  Of course, that usually doesn’t prevent me from getting out, but since I have a few domestic chores to attend to………..well, you know how that is. 🙂  But I appreciate all of my readers that stay with me.

So….until then, HAPPY BIRDING!!!

Great Blue Herons Galore


There is a Great Blue Heron rookery near Lake Nasworthy, near Spring Creek Park.  You can’t miss it if you are driving around the little horseshoe shaped drive, near Spring Creek Marina.  It is a huge collection of nests high in the area across the water.

We checked it out a few days ago and noted that there were about a dozen herons sitting or standing on some of the old nests.  We didn’t see much activity other than that.  I believe they may be getting ready to nest.   In a few days or weeks, there will be many more, as there about thirty old nests still vacant.  In other years, when the young have fledged, we could hear them noisily crying out that they were hungry.  Crying isn’t the exact term.  It sounds more like they are clacking their bills together, making a cacophony the reverberates over the water.

This photo was taken about a week ago.

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Great Blue Heron

I really don’t know if this one is doing a mating call or is just stretching his neck.

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Great Blue Heron

This is an older photo from my files of a Great Blue Heron doing a mating dance.

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Great Blue Heron mating dance.

The kids never get enough to eat.  And as you can see, they are very large.  This will be a common scene in a few months.

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“But ma, we’re still hungry”

But there are many of these herons that can be seen in other areas.  I suspect they may be non-breeding birds or just don’t want to partake in such activities.  We were out to Spring Creek Park this morning and we saw several others.  This one was standing across the river.

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Great Blue Heron

The heron population in this area has been very good to me.  I have taken many successful photographs through the years.  Here are a couple of my ‘best sellers’.

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Great Blue Heron

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Fishing Great Blue Heron

That’s about it for this post.  I hope you enjoyed these pictures.   I will be back in a few days with more for your enjoyment.

HAPPY BIRDING!!!

 

 

 

 

Owl be seeing you…….


Okay, so the titles of my posts get a little corny, but I have to get your attention. 🙂

Ann and I went to Spring Creek Park, here in San Angelo, a few mornings ago.  One of the first things we do is to check out this huge live oak tree.  Half the time there is a Great Horned Owl hanging out there.  Sometimes his spouse joins him and this is one of those days.  We circled the tree from about 20 yards out.  We eventually spotted the male, but he was back in the branches, partially hidden.  I gave up on trying to get a good photo, and started to drive away.  As we did, we were startled to see the female take wing from another part of the tree.  We hadn’t realized she was even sitting in there.

Anyway, we watched as she flew low under other trees in the park and eventually came to rest on some dead limbs of another tree, 500 yards away from her initial perch.  We had a good view of her, and noticed that she was out in the open, about 30 feet above the ground.  We drove over to that location, being careful to not flush her.  We kept our distance, and stopped about 35 yards away where I had a good angle to photograph her.  With my long 150-600mm lens, I do not need to get close with my mobile blind, (My Ford Escape).   She was pretty much back-lit, but the skies were overcast so it made the job easier.  But I was able to correct that in editing.  Here is the result of that confrontation.

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Great Horned Owl

After that fun experience, we decided to see what else there was to see.  We drove down near a favorite reedy area on the water.  We are rewarded to see a Common Yellowthroat fly up into a nearby tree.  They are one of my favorite of the little birds.  A very shy bird, I was fortunate to catch it in the open.

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Common Yellowthroat

Another bird that is seen in great numbers around here this time of year is the Yellow-rumped Warbler.  We saw this one in another tree.  They move around a lot so it is difficult to catch one sitting very long.  I like the pose of this one.

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Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle variety)

The sparrows are my nemesis.  I have difficulty with the identification of most of them.  So it was with this Rufous-crowned Sparrow.  I had a suspicion that was what it was when I took the photo, but I took to Facebook to get confirmation from some birding friends.  We spotted it in Spring Creek Park amongst the trees.

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Rufous-crowned Sparrow

Those were the only “keepers” of that little foray into the wild.  I’ll be back again in a few days with more.

Until then, HAPPY BIRDING!!!

YEE HAW!! Rodeo Time in San Angelo


This is the time when the rodeo and stock show gets into swing.  Our rodeo runs for a couple weeks with about ten performances.  Plus we have a parade and of course, a carnival at the fairgrounds.  Great fun for everyone.  I did take my camera out there one year.  I sat in the stands with an original Canon 100-400mm zoom lens.  After leaning around the guy in front of me with his ten-gallon hat, I was able to get this shot.

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Bull Rider

But, the birding goes on.  Here are a few shots I have captured since my last post a few days ago.

We have friends down in Eldorado, Texas, about 40 miles south of San Angelo.  Suzanne Johnson called us and said that a Greater Scaup had been seen at the city water ponds there.  We high-tailed down there Monday morning.  We saw several water birds; ruddy ducks, shovelers, coots, pintails,  a Lesser Scaup, but no Greater Scaup.  However, it was fun spotting this Marsh Wren, that was co-operating by hopping around in plain view outside the reeds.  Here are two of my favorite images of him.

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Marsh Wren

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Marsh Wren

 

Those two images were the only keepers that I got on that little trip.

This morning, Thursday, we woke early hoping to get some birding in before the predicted winds got up.  It was very cloudy and it looked like a threat of rain but that didn’t materialize.  But to me, cloudy overcast makes for great photography.  But on the other hand, it can also keep the birds down when it is cool like this morning at 41 degrees.  But we made the best of it.  I managed to get these nice photos.  I hope you like.

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Northern Cardinal

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Golden-fronted Woodpecker

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Ladder-backed Woodpecker

I guess that will do it for this post.  Hopefully, I will be going back out in a few days to grab a few more photographs.

Incidentally, on the birding side, Ann and I have seen 86 different species to begin our quest to see how many different birds we will see for the year.  Our goal is 200.

Also, I should also say that my new book, “My World of Nature”, 52 page soft-cover, of some of my best images, is doing very well.  Contact me at bobzeller@pobox.com for prices.  Click this link to preview it:  http://www.blurb.com/b/9237421-my-world-of-nature

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HAPPY BIRDING!!!!!