Fort Davis abreviated visit.


Once again, my medical problems intervened with our anniversary trip to the Davis Mountains.  But not to worry, as I write this I am feeling fine again.

We arrived late in the afternoon on Sunday, and this is what greeted us just a few miles before we were to arrive in Fort Davis.

Gathering storm over the Davis Mountains of west Texas.

Gathering storm over the Davis Mountains of west Texas.

We were in luck as the rains held off until later that evening.  As we were unloading, this Say’s Phoebe hopped along a concrete curb.  That was a bird that we could add to our 2014 Texas Big Year list.  A nice start to our weekend.

Say's Phoebe

Say’s Phoebe

We were staying at the Davis Mountains Inn, a very nice bed-n-breakfast.  Our room was huge with king-sized bed, flat-screen TV, jacuzzi, walk-in showers, and a walk-in closet that was big enough to use as a spare bedroom.

We were early enough so after checking in and putting our stuff away, we decided to make a quick run to the bird viewing area at Davis Mountains State Park.  Immediately, we were able to see and photograph a White-breasted Nuthatch.

White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch

A Rufous Hummingbird lit on a nearby feeder.  I had only a few seconds to get a shot.  I rattled off a few, but unfortunately all of the images caught him as he was dipping his head to get that nectar.

Adult Rufous Hummingbird at the feed trough.

Adult Rufous Hummingbird at the feed trough.

We left after that to get some dinner then head back to our room to get some sleep, looking forward to a full next day of birding and getting some photographs.

The next morning, Monday, Annette Huffaker cooked us a very excellent breakfast of scrambled eggs, tasty sausage and a creation of hers, french toast casserole.  Breakfast was served at 8:00, but as Ann and I rise much earlier, we were there drinking coffee and sitting on the porch, watching the sunrise, and a few butterflies.

Queen Butterfly

Queen Butterfly

After eating, we headed back to the state park.  Going straight to the bird viewing area, we were then quickly rewarded with a female Black-headed Grosbeak,

female Black-headed Grosbeak

female Black-headed Grosbeak

a male Black-headed Grosbeak,

male Black-headed Grosbeak

male Black-headed Grosbeak

then a male Summer Tanager.

Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager

We saw several other species there, but the above photos were some of the highlights.  Traveling between the park and our inn, I was able to photograph a Cassin’s Kingbird.  It wasn’t a new bird for me, but it was the first time I was able to get a good photograph of one.  The Cassin’s is a rare kingbird around our home in San Angelo, but here in the Davis Mountains, they are seen quite regularly.

Cassin's Kingbird

Cassin’s Kingbird

It was about then that I experienced some medical problems, and I ended up spending the rest of the day resting in our room.  But we were happy with what we saw for the three or four hours that we were able to spend.  We saw 32 species and we added four new one to our 2014 Texas Big Year list.  We are now at 178, with our goal of 200 well in sight.

We hope to come back to the Davis Mountains soon, but we also want to visit Bob Shackleford down in Uvalde, Texas so see some great birds, and also make another trip to the Big Bend National Park area.  So if my health holds out we still have an exciting fall and winter coming up.

I hope you enjoyed this post and and the photographs.  Click on any of them to see enlargements.

 

Quiz #2 – Final Results


Here we go again.  This second quiz garnered more votes than the first one, so it seems that the interest in them are growing.  I, for one, am really enjoying them, but of course I have an advantage.  I know the answer.  But I hope more of you are starting to use some photo guides to help you along.  It is not cheating to do so.  I encourage it.  This is the original picture that you were asked to identify.

So after a world-wide vote of 84 votes, here is the final tabulation:

  1. Spotted Towhee                                 39
  2. Black-headed Grosbeak                  19
  3. American Robin                                18
  4. Orchard Oriole                                     7
  5. Dark-eyed Junco                                 1

The correct answer is Spotted Towhee.  That means that nearly half of you readers got it right.  That’s not bad, as the wrong answers were birds that are very similar. as these pictures show.

Black-headed Grosbeak

American Robin

Orchard Oriole

Dark-eyed Junco 

So that does it for Quiz #2.  I will let you digest this for the evening.  Tune in tomorow, Saturday morning for the always exciting, Quiz #3. 🙂

Spotted Towhee or Black-headed Grosbeak


Bill Yeates sent me a photo yesterday of a Spotted Towhee, but he had identified it as a Black-headed Grosbeak.  It is easy to see how the mistake can be made by looking at these photos, as the colorization is very similar.  But after looking closer, you can see the differences in the shape of the bill, etc.    The top one is the Spotted Towhee and the bottom is the Black-headed Grosbeak.  Actually I had to check my Sibley’s guide after Bill sent me the photo.  And, by the way, thanks for sending it, Bill

Spotted Towhee

Black-headed Grosbeak