A Few More Weekend Highlights

Ann and I got out to the local parks this weekend.  With the cooler weather, low 90s for us, it was quite comfortable.  The birds are still a bit sparse but things are looking up.  Here are some highlights.  On Saturday we opted for a visit to San Angelo State Park.  This female Northern Bobwhite had just led her covey across the road, and I guess she hopped to this branch to make sure all was clear.

Northern Bobwhite - female

Northern Bobwhite – female

I am not a fan of the Starlings, but I thought this particular one was very pretty.

European Starling - winter adult

European Starling – winter adult

This morning we decided for a quick trip to the local parks.  There had been some rains during the night and the birds were still quiet.  But luck was with us.  At Middle Concho Park, we had, for the past week or so, observed a Swainson’s Hawk, either in flight or just short glances of him in the distance.  Today, Ann spotted him ahead of us, up in plain sight at the top of a tree.  I quickly pulled to the side of the road where I could get a good view of him.  In the first two shots, he was partially obscured by some branches near his face.  I had to pull the vehicle forward about three feet, and as I did, two huge RV motorhomes passed between me and the bird.  Fortunately, after they had passed the hawk was still there and I was able to get some very nice poses of him before he took flight.  This one of them.  The others I will save for another post.

Swainson's Hawk

Swainson’s Hawk

That is all for this short post.  Click on the images to see great enlargements.

Pesky but beautiful European Starlings

I know that European Starlings, (Sturnus vulgaris), get a bad rap.  They proliferate across the country in large numbers and they say that they are obnoxious.  Look at the second part of the Latin name, vulgaris.  That in itself doesn’t make you feel real great about them.  However, they have never done anything to me to make me feel hostile towards them.  We have two that come to our yard frequently to feed and bathe in our little bird fountain.  I may change my feelings if they start to bring all their relatives and in-laws. 🙂

But you can’t deny that they are a beautiful bird to look at.  I photographed this one at our bird-bath this morning  I took the shot through the glass on our patio door.  Click the image for an enlargement.

European Starling

  • Canon EOS 7D
  • Canon 100-400mm zoom lens
  • 1/250 sec. @ f6.3 – minus 1/3 EV adjustment
  • ISO 400
  • Lens focal distance  320mm
  • Metering – spot
  • Aperture priority