Birding advice for San Angelo State Park


I live only three miles from San Angelo State Park, and most of you know from my posts, that I frequent the place four to five times a week.  I get a large percentage of my bird photographs there, but not where you would suspect.

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Red-tailed Hawk

Occasionally, I stop at the bird blind to see what species might have stopped by.  During those visits I often see birders from out of town, that are camping there. I have found that most of them go only to the blind to see birds.  They don’t know what they are missing.

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Golden-fronted Woodpecker

I don’t know exact numbers, but I would suspect that there are 200-300 species that can be seen in the park, depending on the time of year.  As you know, they come and go with the migration and changing seasons.  But just a handful visit the blind.  That area mostly draws seed-eaters.  Remember, I said MOSTLY.  Others will stop by on occasion, because of the water feature.

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Ruby-crowned Kinglet

On a regular basis, you won’t see hawks, owls, egrets, flycatchers and other non-seed eating species.  Oh, yes, as I said, on a rare occasion one of these will stop by, if only for a drink of water, or to snatch an innocent sparrow.

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Great Horned Owl

I would recommend to leave your campsite, get in your car and just drive slowly over the twenty something miles of roads.  Watch the trees and brush for movement and you can get some pleasant surprises.  It is always fun to come upon some warblers, kinglets or gnatcatchers darting around.

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American White Pelicans

O.C. Fisher Lake is another great spot.  Pelicans, egrets, herons, grebes and other water birds can be seen at or from the shorelines.

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American Avocet

So my advice is to spend a couple of hours just cruising the park.  You will be surprised how many bird you can see.  After that, go to the bird blind and pad your lists. 🙂

For prints of these and some of my other work click HERE.

Until my next post, HAPPY BIRDING!!!

 

The birds are coming! The birds are coming!


The winter birds are not all here yet, but they are beginning to straggle in.  Ann and I went to our local parks yesterday and spent about two hours.  We spotted twenty-three different species in that short time.  Of course, some of them were residents, but we spotted a few Eastern Bluebirds, Yellow-rumped Warblers, a Greater Yellowlegs, three Pied-billed Grebes, and a few Gadwalls.

In other news, some friends of ours moved back to Abilene, so we went to visit them.  During the day we visited the bird blind at Abilene State Park.  Wow!  What a disappointment.  It is definitely not photographer friendly.  Several vertical ‘slats’, for want of another word, are spaced about 10 inches apart across the window.  Nor was it exactly great bird watching either in our visit.  The water facility didn’t have any water for example.  It is very tiny. There are several feeders right in front of the window that I thought was distracting.  It just seems to me that everything was just placed in a hap-hazardly manner.  Maybe it was just me, but I could see no organization it it.  In the thirty minutes we were there we saw exactly two bird species.  Black-crested Titmouse and Carolina Chickadee.  I think they need to visit our blind here in San Angelo or the nice ones at Pedernales Falls SP.

Great Egret - photographed near Abilene, Texas

Great Egret – photographed near Abilene, Texas

So that is my rant for the day.  The above photo, by the way, was not photographed near the bird blind.  Of course, you probably knew that.

Vermilion Flycatcher from my archives.  March 2014

Vermilion Flycatcher from my archives. March 2014

Today, I have been going back through my archives, and it seems that I keep making these discoveries.  The following photo was taken during a trip to Knoxville, Tennessee, way back in 2008.  We had been visiting our dear friends, the Tappans.  Ann and I, along with Deb and Paul were driving along the Tennessee River.  Deb is an awesome photographer, too, so when we came across a rookery of Black-crowned Night Herons, we promptly got our equipment ready.  There were at least one hundred of them, some flying around, and others roosting.  I had been wondering where those photos were, and I found them in a folder buried inside another folder.

A happy Black-crowned Night Heron from my archives.  June 2008

A happy Black-crowned Night Heron from my archives. June 2008

Our 2014 Big Year list is at 193 right now.  As I have mentioned before, we have a goal of hitting 200 by the end of the year so we only have seven to go.  Sounds easy, but we have to get to work.  We are going back to the Davis Mountains later this month, then a few weeks later we hope to make another trip to Uvalde.  Then there might be even time for a few days to visit the Big Bend area.  Hopefully, we can find those seven during those trips.

 

Bird Blind Update


Actually, there is really nothing much to update.  As far as I know there has been no progress on this project since our last meeting.  I don’t know what the holdup is as I haven’t talked to Kurt Kemp since.  I and Ruth Jordan received, by e-mail, a booklet of different plans for bird blinds.  It was sent by Jim Miller who is currently at Wright-Patterson AFB attending some classes.  Some of them looked pretty neat, from square ones to round ones that are set so birders can look out on all sides.  That would be great for bird photography also, because of the changing light directions.  Ruth said she would send a copy to Kurt for him to look it.

I haven’t been birding since we returned from our trip to Lake Ivie.  But yesterday, as I was driving down College Hill Blvd, we spotted a Great Blue Heron in that little creek by the empty gas station.  I had accidently left my

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Great Blue Heron

 camera with my 100-400mm lens on it at home.  But I still had my other set-up with my 500mm on it, so I managed to hand-hold it out the van window.  I caught this picture as he flew off.  I think I distracted him when I was adjusting that heavy camera through the window.

I spent yesterday afternoon at the airport.   Jodie Wolslager, who I am coaching on her photography,  has her office at their hangar where her airplane is kept.  She is new to Photoshop Elements and I am helping her on that.  She has some very good photographs.  Both birds and landscapes.  I guess maybe I can teach after all.  She is getting great results.

Today I have to start framing some more pictures.  I sold two more yesterday.  Both were framed 16×20 photos.  One of a Red-tailed Hawk, the other of a Snowy Egret.  They both had been hanging at Kenny Blanek’s Village Cafe.  I really appreciate him letting me show my work there.  Since I don’t have a studio, it gives me an option to tell folks where they can view my images.  And, by the way, I did replace those that were sold, so there are some very nice new ones in their place.  Go have a look.  If you haven’t been to the restaurant before, I have three pictures hanging immediately when you come in the door, then there are four more hanging in the far back corner.

Happy Birding!!

more photos at www.zellertexasphotos.com