Red-tailed Hawk and Birding results

First, I want to say that this may be my last post for about a week.  Ann, Jodie Wolslager and I are heading for New Mexico to visit some birding and wildlife areas there.  I hope to come back with some nice photos and new experiences to tell you about.

This morning we had our monthly Adult Birding Adventure at San Angelo State Park.  We had one of the largest participant turn-outs ever.  However, the bird activity left a little to be desired.  Plenty activity at the bird blind though.  By Ann’s count we had a grand total of 29 species.  Not bad for an off-day.  A total list appears at the bottom of this post.

Red-tailed Hawk

In keeping with my habit of including a photograph with each post, I submit this in-flight image of a Red-tailed Hawk, from my archives.  Did I ever tell you that I love to photograph raptors??  Click on the photo to see an enlargement.

By the way, I am overwhelmed by the comments to Holly’s Blog about in-flight photography, referring to the advice and tips that I gave her.  See    I thank one and all  for reading the tips.  I only hope that every one has good results from them.  I do need to clarify one thing.  My tips were based on my own experience with a Canon DSLR.  I remember that Holly shoots a Nikon, but I think that most DSLRs have a tracking type of auto-focus.

Happy birding and picture taking!!  🙂

Location:     San Angelo State Park
Observation date:     2/12/11
Number of species:     29

Mallard     3
Blue-winged Teal     20
Northern Shoveler     18
American White Pelican     12
Great Blue Heron     2
Black Vulture     6
Turkey Vulture     3
Red-tailed Hawk     1
American Coot     2
Killdeer     2
Greater Yellowlegs     3
Least Sandpiper     10
Ring-billed Gull     100
White-winged Dove     2
Mourning Dove     4
Ladder-backed Woodpecker     2
Black-crested Titmouse     2
Rock Wren     1
Bewick’s Wren     1
Northern Mockingbird     6
Curve-billed Thrasher     1
Canyon Towhee     1
White-crowned Sparrow     24
Northern Cardinal     6
Pyrrhuloxia     4
Red-winged Blackbird     12
Western Meadowlark     10
House Finch     18
House Sparrow     6

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(

Northern Bobwhite – Jan 3 birding list

When Ann and I arrived at San Angelo State Park yesterday (Sunday) morning, we saw this Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus).   Actually, there were two, but as they scurried away I was only able to capture one.  There is also another species of quail in this area; Scaled Quail (Callipepla squamata).  I haven’t seen one in quite awhile, but I am sure they are here, lurking about in the tall grass somewhere.

Northern Bobwhite

Scaled Quail

The above photo appeared in Texas Farm and Ranch Magazine a couple of years ago. Tomorrow look for a photo of a Cooper’s Hawk that I photographed this morning.   Click on any image for an enlargement.

Here is the bird count for this morning Monday, January 3.

Cooper’s Hawk     1
Red-tailed Hawk     2
White-winged Dove     4
Black-crested Titmouse     2
Northern Mockingbird     4
Curve-billed Thrasher     1
Canyon Towhee     1
White-crowned Sparrow     6
Northern Cardinal     6
Pyrrhuloxia     4
Red-winged Blackbird     20
Common Grackle     10
Brown-headed Cowbird     1
House Finch     6
House Sparrow     4

Happy Birding

Red-Tailed Hawk Begins 2011

Well, here we go again.  I got my sightings all tallied up to date.  My life list stands at 218.  In 2010 I and Ann saw and identified 181 different species.  As I mentioned in a previous post, our original goal was 200.  We came close and we should make it in 2011, as we are now a bit more esperienced.  I also want to get an accurate count of how many of my 218 life list that I have photographed.

Red-tailed Hawk

We missed a few local ones that we should have seen, but we are planning on making a few more longer trips around the state to get some from other areas.  That includes more visits to the Big Bend NP area, Davis Mountains State Park, the X-Bar ranch, then maybe a trip or two into central Texas.  Possibly a trip to the Gulf Coast.

As far as posting to my blog, I will continue to write posts as frequently as I can.  I should be able to include at least one photograph, but some may be older ones taken some time ago.  But, nevertheless, they will be new to you.  The above image of the Red-tailed Hawk, is another from the series that I took this past week.

You may have noticed that I have far fewer flags on my counter to the right.  I was fooling around, trying to tweak it a little, and I lost all my flags.  So I had to start all over.  So I need all of my friends from all over the world to comment on one of my posts, so I get my flags back.  I promise I won’t lose them again.  Fortunately, my ClusterMap still is up to date, so you can click there and see most of my overseas readers’ locations there.

Happy Birding!!

Bird of the Week – Greater Roadrunner

Today I have picked the Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) as my Bird of the Week.  I was able to get some photographs recently and I will show them here.  This bird is in the cuckoo family, and better known as the bird that is always trying to outwit the wolf in the cartoons, with his familiar “Beep, beep!”

Greater Roadrunner

The Stokes Field Guide to Birds of North America describes the Greater Roadrunner as a large, very long-tailed bird with relatively long neck and thick legs.  The skin behind the eye is bluish, and sometimes  other colors show up in certain lighting. 

Greater Roadrunner

Other traits is that the roadrunner doesn’t require water.  He gets moisture through his diet.  He can fly short distances, mostly gliding with his wings and tail spread.  His voice is not the comical beep, beep, but actually a deep mellow cooing wooh wooh whoa whoa.  He loves the arid areas of the south and southwest parts of the country.

Greater Roadrunner

I hope you have enjoyed this narrative and pictures.  If you have, please leave a comment.  Click on any images to see enlargements.  Now I am outa here.  Beep! Beep!  🙂

Bird of the Week – Red-tailed Hawk

Red-Tailed Hawk(Buteo jamaicensis)  This is the hawk that which all other others are compared.  The benchmark, so to speak.  It is one of the largest of the hawks, perhaps the largest.  You can often see it perched along the roadside,  on utility poles, trees, or other high points.  It hunts mostly mammals from these perches, and also from the air.  They are a beautiful bird in flight, their red tail glinting in the sun. 

This image was shot during a trip to Ballinger, Texas.  The hawk was in the grass along the roadside, apparently in the act of feeding on something.  As I slowed, he started to fly.  I was prepared with my Canon EOS 40D with a Canon 100-400mm zoome lens.  I was able to lock-on my auto-focus and pan with him as he flew, continually pressing the shutter.  ISO 400, 1/3200 sec. at f6.3.

Red-tailed Hawk

Sibley’s describes them as stocky, broad winged, with bulging secondaries.  The adult has the distinctive red tail, where the juvenile is much paler.  It sports a length of 19 inches, a wingspan an impressive four feet and one inch.  It weighs in at 2.4 lbs.  More information on these gorgeous birds can be found by clicking on the link at the beginning of this post.

This image was photographed with my Canon EOS 40D, hand-held with a Canon 500mm lens with 1.4 tele-converter.  Exposure was 1/800 sec. at f6.3 with ISO of 400.

Red-tailed Hawk

I hope you enjoy this information about a majestic bird.  Click on either image for an enlargement.  In the future, my Bird of the Week posts will be on Thursdays, instead of previously mentioned Fridays.

Happy birding!!

Back from X-Bar Ranch

We got back from the Live Oak Lodge at the X-bar Ranch this morning.  Still in the act of getting caught on some of my stuff that needs doing.  We picked up Suzie, our Shi-Tzu from the sitters and she is glad to be back.  We had a great time and are looking forward to going back in the spring.

We saw a bunch of birds there that we don’t usually see around San Angelo.  There were many Hermit Thrushes.  I hadn’t seen one in the wild in a couple of years.  Susan and Sid Johnson, who live in Eldorado not far away, brought pizza out to our cabin Tuesday evening so they could bird with us for with a couple of hours.  Suzanne instantly brought our attention to a Dark-eyed Junco.  Darn, she’s good. 🙂 

Hermit Thrush

Wednesday morning Ann and I got out early and saw a Spotted Towhee, then a somewhat rare White-throated Sparrow.  That is another lifer.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of it.  It didn’t stay long enough to get a decent image. 

In other news, I have decided to start a Bird of the Week series.  It will begin tomorrow, so watch for it every Friday.  Earlier I had contemplated doing a Bird of the Day, but decided that series wouldn’t last very long at that rate.   But the weekly idea means I can string it out much longer.

As you can see, I have inserted a photo of the Hermit Thrush.  On Monday, I will show you some more images after I sort through them and do a little editing.  And I’ll have a little story about our hike.

Black Vulture re-visited

When I wrote yesterday’s post I did not have an image of a Black Vulture.  Well, lo and behold, this morning when out for a drive, what did I spot in a tree.  You guessed it, a Black Vulture.  The ensuing photograph is posted here for your enjoyment.  Am I lucky or what??  🙂

Black Vulture

In other news, also while out there cruising near O. C. fisher lake I picked up another lifer, A Marbled Godwit  (Limosa fedoa)  wading near the shore.  Then at the bird blind, yet another lifer, a Nashville Warbler (Vermivora ruficapilla).

I have no images of either the Marbled Godwit or the Nashville Warbler.  But perhaps I’ll get lucky soon on getting those.

Happy Birding!!!

Bugs, Beasts, and Birds

Just a few tidbits from around the area.  We have spent a few hours trawling around the state park for some interesting photo ops.  The photos below show what I have come up with.  By the way, the photo of the spider needs identification.  If any of you can help me with this arachnid ID give me a holler.  I am not an expert on snakes either, but the nearest I can come to, is I believe it to be a Rat Snake.  Okay, so the snake isn’t a beast, but a reptile.  But it had a beastly expression on it’s face.  Besides, I needed a catchy title for this blog  🙂  Enjoy the pictures.  Click on any image to see an enlargement.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Unidentified Spider

Bullock's Oriole


Rat Snake


Golden-fronted Woodpecker

End of a week, Start of a month

Spotted Sandpiper

It’s the end of the week but starting a brand new month.  I’m going to show you a few highlights of the past week.

Yellow-headed Blackbird

On Tuesday Ann and I decided to take our friend Jodie Wolslager on a little birding trip.  We headed to Eldorado first to tour the water waste ponds there.  There are always a good selection of waterfowl there, and you never know when you might get surprised.  Suzanne Johnson had e-mailed us that there were about the thirty-seven White-faced Ibises there the previous day.  By the time we got there the count was down to nine.  But nevertheless I obtained some photos.

White-faced Ibises

We also saw some Yellow-headed Blackbirds, both adult and juvenile.  We saw Spotted Sandpipers and a few other sandpiper types that we were unable to identify for certain.  Also in attendance were probably one thousand Wilson’s Phalaropes.

Leaving there we headed to Christoval and back to our favorite place the Hummer House.  

Wilson's Phalaropes

A great collection of birds there, many more than than what we saw on a previous trip.  Our first Painted Buntings of the season, Summer Tanagers, Pine Siskins, Vermilion Flycatcher. Lesser Goldfinches, plus many others.

This morning Ann and I were out at the San Angelo State Park to give a little presentation on birds for a group of Girl Scouts.  I guess because of the cooler weather this morning, most of the birds stayed away.  However, we were treated to a young male Wild Turkey that entered stage left, and left stage right.  We did see a couple of Bullock’s Orioles though.

Upon leaving the park Ann and I spotted our firse Common Nighthawk of the season.  He was perched as always, parallel on a branch.  I got a few nice photos which I will post one here.  After I took the photos, another birding

Common Nighthawk

 friend of ours, Jimmy Villers, drove up with his wife.  She had never seen a nighthawk before, so she got quite thrill out of it.

Click on any photo to see an enlargement.

Happy Birding!!

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


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