Back from Davis Mountains


We have returned from our stay at Fort Davis in the Davis Mountains.  I must say it is one of our best trips there, although the thunderstorms and hail did make things interesting.  First though, before I get to my photographs, there was an “it’s a small world type of thing”.

We have some friends, Suzanne and Sid Johnson, that live in Eldorado, Texas which is about 40 miles south of where we live in San Angelo.  We see them occasionally through the year.  Suzanne recently retired and they bought an RV and have been traveling around the state.  Well, we were on our way the the Davis Mountains, as as we passed the Balmorhea State Park I noticed a Belted Kingfisher on the power line outside the park along the road.  We just happened to be near the entrance to the park.  As I was trying to photograph the kingfisher, a pickup pulling an RV pulled out of the entrance.  The lady in the truck waved to us and jumped from the vehicle.  She turned out to be Suzanne.  Co-incidentally they were heading for the Davis Mountains State Park to stay for a few nights.  We, of course, were heading to nearby Fort Davis to stay, so we were able to get together and go birding with them during our stay.  Much fun.

Now for the photos.  First we saw a total of 65 species during our trip.  Most from the Davis Mountains area, Davis Mountains State Park, Balmorhea State Park, and Lake Balmorhea.  Here is a sampling of those images.

American Kestrel

American Kestrel

Red-tailed Hawk atop a utility pole.

Red-tailed Hawk atop a utility pole.

Chipping Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

House Finch - female

House Finch – female

Ladder-backed Woodpecker at Davis Mountains State Park

Ladder-backed Woodpecker at Davis Mountains State Park

Clark's Grebes

Clark’s Grebes

Western Grebes

Western Grebes

An interested spectator.

An interested spectator.

Snowy Egret making a landing.

Snowy Egret making a landing.

Great Blue Heron catching a small snack.

Great Blue Heron catching a small snack.

Greater Roadrunner in a yucca plant.

Greater Roadrunner in a yucca plant.

White-faced Ibis

White-faced Ibis

Vesper Sparrow

Vesper Sparrow

Swainson's Hawk

Swainson’s Hawk

Scaled Quail

Scaled Quail

Western Scrub-Jay

Western Scrub-Jay

I think that is the most images that I have ever published in a single post.  I hope you enjoyed them.  Click on any image to see enlargements if you are reading this on a computer.

Happy Birding!!!

 

 

 

Davis Mountains Vacation – Life Is Good


Disclaimer:  This post is best viewed on your computer where you can see all of the photographs, and click on them to see enlargements.

Life doesn’t get any better than this.  Ann and I had the most wonderful time in a long time, mostly because we were joined by our dearest friends from Tennessee.  We hadn’t seen them since 2008 but that seemed just like it was the day before yesterday.  It was wonderful getting caught up and reminiscing.  (gosh, I think I finally got that spelled right. )  We gave them a big Texas welcome and dragged them all over the place.

I had been invited to Fort Davis to be honored as a featured artist at the Art Gallery at the Drugstore.  Bill and Nancy Davis, who by the way, are also the innkeepers at the Davis Mountains Inn where we all stayed, also own the art gallery and the drugstore restaurant.  They, too, are wonderful people and we consider them among our best friends.  They had a reception for me on Saturday, where I sold some of my work, and signed my book, “Birds, Beasts, and Buttes”.  It was a huge success.

But it was small considering all that we did during the rest of the time, accompanied by our friends.  We took the 75-mile scenic wildlife loop tour;  Visited the McDonald’s Observatory; drove to Balmorhea State Park and Lake Balmorhea.  All in the name of birding, where we wanted to top off our 2014 list of birds.  We saw 54 different species during the trip.  One of those pushed us pass our goal of 200.  The Clark’s Grebe, mentioned later in this post gave us 201.  Oh, we also got a bunch of photographs.  I will show you them, in no particular order.  Remember to click on them to see great enlargements.

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawks and other raptors seem to be everywhere.

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Northern Harrier on the hunt for prey.

Northern Harrier on the hunt for prey.

The Northern Harrier was the most difficult hawk to photograph.  They are fast, flying close to the ground, and not stopping to perch.

I can’t forget the four-legged wildlife in the area.

Pronghorned Antelope

Pronghorned Antelope

Aoudad on mountain side.

Aoudad on mountain side.

Great scenic wonders abound, too, however I was more into the wildlife mode so I didn’t get too many landscapes.

 

Rocky Mountainside

Rocky Mountainside

Really, really, big rocks

Really, really, big rock

Of course, there are many smaller birds in abundance.

Whtei-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

White-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

Canyon Towhee

Canyon Towhee

On a quick trip to Balmorhea State Park, we spotted this Red-tailed Hawk on the way.

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

I told you the raptors were everywhere.  After arriving at the state park, we saw numerous American Coots and this one pretty Lesser Scaup.

Lesser Scaup

Lesser Scaup

When I first spotted it I hoped that it would have been a Greater Scaup, but after a closer look at the wings, I could see the white bar on the trailing wing didn’t extend to the wing tip as it would have on the Greater.  As you can see on the next photos that it indeed a Lesser Scaup.

Lesser Scaup

Lesser Scaup

Lesser Scaup

Lesser Scaup

Alas, on Sunday morning our dear friends had to return to their home in Tennessee.  We will greatly miss them until the next time we meet, hopefully some time in 2015.

On Monday morning, Ann and I decided to visit Lake Balmorhea.  We had never been to before, but we had heard about the great birding there.  We were not disappointed as there were many wintering birds there.  We only wish our friends could have spent another day as they would have loved this.

Eared Grebe

Eared Grebe

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

An American Pelican comes in for a landing.

An American Pelican comes in for a landing.

Clark's Grebe

Clark’s Grebe

A pair of Clark's Grebes swim through the reeds.

A pair of Clark’s Grebes swim through the reeds.

The Clark’s Grebe was number 201 on our 2014 Big Year Birding list.  It was also a ‘lifer’, being number 288 on our Life List.  It made for a fun, and very enjoyable five days in the Davis Mountains area.  After returning home, I received word from the San Angelo Country Club that two of my golf course photographs had been sold.  So now Ann and I can eat for another week. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed the rather lengthy post.  Click on all of the photos to see some nice enlargements.  That’s all for this time.

 

 

“It was a dark and dreary night…….”


Okay, I am trying to write a new post here.  But words are failing me.  Actually it is really a dark and drizzly day here.  Woke up to a light rain and so far at 11:00AM we have received over an inch.  Not a really good day for bird photography.  Water and camera lenses do not mix well.

So I think I will just show you a few more recent photos that I haven’t posted yet.  If you are on Facebook you may have seen them already, as I like to post there occasionally.  By the way, if you can view this post on your computer, please remember to click on the images.  You can see some great enlargements that way.

I had posted another image of this Bobcat earlier.  I originally ignored this one as I didn’t like my first impression of it.  But now, after looking at it again, it has grown on me and I really like it.

Bobcat

Bobcat

But that’s the way I am.  I find that sometimes I can go back through my archives and spot another picture that I didn’t like at first, then after processing it I sometimes get a nice surprise.

So here’s another from our recent trip to Fort Davis.  I usually like to really get close up to my birds, but in this image I found that I like the composition.

Female Ladder-backed Woodpecker dangling from branch of a century plant.

Female Ladder-backed Woodpecker dangling from branch of a century plant.

Another Acorn Woodpecker.  I love these guys.

Acorn Woodpecker

Acorn Woodpecker

How about a couple more of that magnificent Snowy Egret that we saw at Balmorhea State Park.

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

Hey, who is this masked man. 🙂

Loggerhead Shrike

Loggerhead Shrike

Well, I think that will be all for today.  I don’t want to use up all of my good stuff or I won’t have anything for my next post.  I hope you enjoy this one.