More from the San Angelo State Park

The San Angelo State Park has been our most productive area in the past couple of weeks of birding.  Here are a few of my most recent images.

This Merlin was really nice to pose for me for several images.  When we spotted it, an American Kestrel was sitting on the same branch.  Upon spotting us, the kestrel immediately flew off.  The Merlin was in the act of finishing a meal, and from the looks of a yellow claw that we saw him devour, I suspect he had just finished off another kestrel.  This turned out to me one of my best photos of this species……..if I do say so myself.



A Curve-billed Thrasher, perched in a tree.  It was a chill morning for this one, and he didn’t feel like moving.


Curve-billed Thrasher

The cooler weather didn’t bother this American White Pelican.  Usually they are out more in the middle of the lake, but this one was a bit closer, making for a nice photograph.


American White Pelican

Mourning Doves are very plentiful in the park, and I usually pass them by because they are so common, but I decided that this one deserved to be seen.


Mourning Dove

This Cactus Wren seemed to be working on it’s nearby nest.


Cactus Wren

In one area of the park, there is what we have named our ‘warbler bush’.  It seems that we can always see a warbler, kinglet or some other small bird there.  We just need to park and watch patiently.  This time we were not disappointed and saw many of these Orange-crowned Warblers.


Orange-crowned Warbler

It is always nice to see a Pyrrhuloxia.  Locals that can’t pronounce the name, simply call it the desert cardinal.



Click on my “Gallery” button at the top of this page to see more photos, and information for purchase.  I add more images frequently, so keep checking.  I hope you enjoyed these and would love any comments that you wish to make.  Also refer to my last post if you are interested in purchasing one of my 2018 calendars.

Happy Birding!!

Let’s blog for another year.

In my previous post I mentioned that it was the seven year anniversary of this blog.  After much soul-searching, horn-blowing, champagne-drinkin’ and general partying, I have decided to go for another year.  Or at least make it until my 1000th post, which this one is my 927th.  Or which comes first.  We will whoop it up then and make another decision if need be.

The birding is still a bit slow, considering the time of the year.  I guess it is because of the continuing high temperatures here in San Angelo.  I think the summer birds got tired of the heat and left town.  Their replacements, the fall and winter birds, decided to delay their visit because it is still darned hot here.

But, we still get out several days a week, hoping to get to see something new or get good photos of any hangers-on.  Here are a few recent images that I am proud of.  I was using my Canon EOS 7D Mark II.  Lens was my Tamron 150-600mm.  I will begin to try to put my exposure data under each photo.  It is something new that I thought I would try.  Several of my readers say that they would like to know how I shoot my photographs.

We stopped near a shrubby area at the Isabelle Harte Multi-use area of San Angelo State Park.  We spotted some bird activity within, and after waiting a few minutes, this Yellow Warbler came out of the branches into view.  It was early in the morning, and the bird was backlit, thus the reason of the one stop EV adjustment.

Yellow Warbler - 1/1000th sec. @f7.1, +1 EV, ISO 1000.

Yellow Warbler – 1/1000th sec. @f7.1, +1 EV, ISO 1000.

This bobwhite was about 30 yards away, partially backlit and shaded by some tree branches.

Northern Bobwhite - 1/1000 sec. @ f7.1, +1 EV adjustment, ISO 1000.

Northern Bobwhite – 1/1000 sec. @ f7.1, +1 EV, ISO 1000.

This Vermilion Flycatcher was high atop a tree branch, pretty far off, but my Tamron 150-600 long lens helped me out.

Vermilion Flycatcher - 1/1000 sec. @ f6.3, ISO 160.

Vermilion Flycatcher – 1/1000 sec. @ f6.3, ISO 160.

There are still several Scissor-tailed Flycatchers in San Angelo State Park.  Most of them we have found lately are the short-tailed juveniles, but we did come upon this adult.  One of my favorite birds.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - 1/1000 sec. @ f7.1, ISO 250.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher – 1/1000 sec. @ f7.1, ISO 250.

This morning we heard, before we saw it, this Cactus Wren.  Very rare for me to get so close to one.  Another one that was heavily backlit by the morning sun.

Cactus Wren - 1/640 sec. @ f6.3, +1.7 EV, ISO 320.

Cactus Wren – 1/640 sec. @ f6.3, +1.7 EV, ISO 320.

I hope you enjoy my post today.  I would love to hear your questions or comments, so let’s hear what you have to say.

Happy Birding!!


Visiting the Big Bend – Part One

We just returned from a glorious trip to the Big Bend area of Texas.  That is the place where the Rio Grande makes that bend from flowing southeast to flowing northeasterly.  In that Vee shaped area is the Big Bend National Park, and adjacently, Big Bend Ranch State Park.  It is a harsh, isolated, but beautiful environment.  There you will find the wild Rio Grande cutting through narrow canyons with cliffs up to 2,ooo feet high.  The Chisos Mountain range is the center piece of the national park, with high peaks laced with hiking trails and home to black bear, mountain lions, and other wildlife.

This is where Ann and I, along with our dear friends from Tennesse, spent five wonderful days.  In this post, and part 2, I am going to show you some of the scenic land, along with some of the avian activity.  I will, for the most part, let my photos do the talking. They are random highlights from our adventure, and in no particular order.  Also, click on any image to see enlargements.

This is a view of the Chisos Mountains from about twenty miles.

Road to the Chisos

Road to the Chisos

A Cactus Wren looking for meal in the bark of a desert plant.

Cactus Wren

Cactus Wren

Greater Roadrunners abound in the area.

Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner

Along the Rio Grande is a trail that leads to a natural hot springs bath, built back in the early 1900’s by J. O. Langford.  He was seeking relief for his own ailing health.  The original rock walls are still in place, and tourists can sit and dip their feet or slip on a bathing suit and go all the way.

Indian Pictographs

Indian Pictographs

Hwy 170, of which a portion is in Big Bend Ranch State Park, is known as one of the most beautiful scenic drives in the country.  The following two images are from that highway.  Across the river, of course, is Mexico.

Along the Rio Grande

Along the Rio Grande

Colorado Canyon

Colorado Canyon

A Say’s Phoebe perches on an ocotillo branch.

Say's Phoebe

Say’s Phoebe

When driving through the Big Bend stay alert.  You may see a scene like this sneak up on you.  A Red-tailed Hawk, having lunch in some high rock croppings.

Red-tailed Hawk at lunch.

Red-tailed Hawk at lunch.

I hope you are enjoying our journey, so far.  I am working at processing more of my photos from the trip and will be publishing Part Two in a few days.  Watch for it!!




Sunshine and Cool Birds

Yesterday morning, Friday, Ann and I woke to a nice clear, sunshiny day.  The temp was still only about 20 degrees.  We waited a bit until it was up to about 28 then we headed to San Angelo State Park.  First we needed to put seed in the feeders.  We do that on a regular basis, not just to feed the birds, but for the main purpose of attracting birds for the numerous birders that frequent the popular bird blind.

Cactus Wren in the snow

I also wanted to take advantage of the snow still on the ground, to get some wintery photographs.  My vision was to catch a Northern Cardinal perched on a snow-covered branch.  But a vision was all it was, as there wasn’t any snow on the tree branches.  All we had was about an inch of it on the ground.  But I did get a couple of nice photos of some birds in the snow.  One was the Cactus Wren.  The other was a White-crowned Sparrow that seemed to be staring at some large cat tracks.  Perhaps a Bobcat??

A cool White-crown Sparrow

At the blind, I scared off a small Opossum as I approched.  The water trough, which is about 2 feet deep was frozen solid.  I tried to break through it, but to no avail.  I would have to wait and let the warming sun do it’s job.  O. C. Fisher lake, which is dwindling by the day, looked like it was frozen all the way across.  Leaving there, we stopped by the Prairie Dog village.  A few of them were sitting on the mounds, pondering if they should venture across the snow.

A young Black-tailed Prairie Dog

But, today the snow will probably leave for the most part.  The sun is shining brightly and the temperature is climbing again.  Will spring be just around the corner??  Enjoy the photos, and click on any of them to see enlargements.

Happy Birding!!  🙂