Quiz #7 – Results are in


Here are the results for this week’s quiz.  You were asked to ID these five birds, and select the one you thought was the Bronzed Cowbird.  Photo C is the correct answer.  The following images show the correct IDs.

Photo A – Brewer’s Blackbird

Photo B – Phainopepla

Photo C – Bronzed Cowbird

Photo D – Great-tailed Grackle

Photo D – Raven

As of this writing 34 votes were in and 20 of you selected the correct photo.  Tune in Monday morning for Quiz #8.

Tuesday Great Day Birding


I just got home a couple of hours ago and have been going through over 300 images that I took today.  Of course, about 280 of them will be trashed, but I did get a few good ones.  In all, the three of us, Ann, Carl Williams, my neightbor, and I saw/or photographed 43 species of birds.  We never left the San Angelo city limits. 

One of the highlights was to see a Western Grebe in the Middle Concho River.  It is an unusual bird to be seen around here.  It usually abides further west.  Then when we were driving throught Spring Creek Park, Ann pointed up into a tree where a Great Horned Owl was sitting on a branch.  It was back-lit by the sun, but somehow I was able to come up with a barely acceptable print.  Below is a complete list that we reported to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

  1. White-crowned Sparrow   12
  2. Brown-headed Cowbird   4
  3. Bullock’s Oriole   4
  4. House Sparrow   10
  5. House Finch   14
  6. Northern Mockingbird   22
  7. Red-winged Blackbird   12
  8. White-winged Dove   29
  9. Pyrrhuloxia   1
  10. Orange-crowned Warbler   1
  11. Northern Cardinal   3
  12. Golden-fronted Woodpecker   5
  13. Mourning Dove   4
  14. Scissor-tailed Flycatcher   24
  15. Lark Sparrow   10
  16. Barn Swallow   8
  17. Chipping Sparrow   4
  18. Bewick’s Wren   1
  19. Black-throated Sparrow   1
  20. Turkey Vulture   12
  21. Great-tailed Grackle   36
  22. Common Grackle   12
  23. Vesper Sparrow   6
  24. Black-necked Stilt   4
  25. Northern Shoveler   12
  26. Ash-throated Flycatcher   4
  27. Red-tailed Hawk   1
  28. Pied-billed Grebe   3
  29. Inco Dove   2
  30. Curve-billed Thrasher   2
  31. Double-crested Cormorant   10
  32. Neotropic Cormorant   3
  33. Black-crested Titmouse   2
  34. European Starling   3
  35. American Coot   3
  36. Western Grebe   1
  37. Great Blue Heron   3
  38. Savannah Sparrow   2
  39. Yellow-rumped Warbler   1
  40. Black-crowned Night Heron   1
  41. Osprey   1
  42. Eastern Bluebird   1
  43. Great Horned Owl   1

I hope you enjoyed this post.  I will have more photos later in the week.  I was somewhat rushed to get this done to publish it today.  Don’t forget to vote in my weekly Bird ID quiz at this link:   https://bobzeller.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/birding-quiz-of-the-week/ or at the “Birding Quiz of the Week”  post on right side of this page.  Results will be published Friday.  Then on Saturday I will have a brand new quiz for you.  I have already written it, and can’t wait for you to see it.

Great Blue Herons and a Ladder-backed Woodpecker


I haven’t posted for a few days, but that is because the weather has been so danged nice, I just couldn’t sit at the computer.  I’ll probably be posting only about three or four times a week now, instead of my nearly daily doses during cold weather.

Ann and I went out yesterday, with the goal of hitting our favorite birding spots with a couple of little short stops along the way.  We ended up seeing 44 species during an approximately 4 hour span.

Great Blue Heron

We started off with spending about a hour at the bird blind at San Angelo State Park.  We wanted to see if the Green-tailed Towhee was still hanging around.  It was.  After we left there to head to Spring Creek Park, we stopped briefly at a pond in the Bluffs Addition, and saw our first American Wigeon of the year.

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

After stopping at that pond, we then proceeded to Spring Creek and then the Middle Concho Park.  Among the highlights was the spotting of two Western Bluebirds, a specie that is normally found west of San Angelo.  Actually, the previous day when visiting the park with a neighbor friend, we saw seven of those.   Aside from the pictured Ladder-backed Woodpecker, we also saw six Great Blue Herons, one of those is pictured above.

All in all, it was a very fun day.  If you’re interested, here is a complete list of our species for the four hour adventure.  Click on either image to see a glorious enlargement.

  1. Great Blue Heron   6
  2. Cinnamon Teal   7
  3. Green-winged Teal   4
  4. Gadwall   16
  5. American Coot   22
  6. Malard   7
  7. Northern Shoveler   30
  8. Northern Mockingbird   14
  9. Eared Grebe   1
  10. Western Bluebird   2
  11. Pied-billed Grebe   6
  12. House Finch   20
  13. Red-winged Blackbird   10
  14. Eastern Bluebird   12
  15. American Goldfinch   4
  16. Blue Jay   2
  17. European Starling   12
  18. Black Vulture   2
  19. Forster’s Tern   5
  20. Ring-billed Gulls   220
  21. Double-crested Cormorant   6
  22. Mute Swan   1
  23. Northern Cardinal   2
  24. Western Meadowlark   15
  25. White-crowned Sparrow   30
  26. Phyrrhuloxia   2
  27. Belted Kingfisher   1
  28. Golden-fronted Woodpecker   6
  29. Yellow-rumped Warbler   3
  30. Vermilion Flycatcher   1
  31. Curved-bill Thrasher   2
  32. Northern Flicker   2
  33. Osprey   1  (flyover)
  34. Ring-necked Duck   2
  35. American Wigeon   4
  36. Great-tailed Grackle   6
  37. House Sparrow   6
  38. Black-crested Titmouse   4
  39. Canyon Towhee   2
  40. Green-tailed Towhee   1
  41. Mourning Dove   1
  42. Ladder-backed Woodpecker   1
  43. Savannah Sparrow   14
  44. Eastern Phoebe   1

About the photos:  Both photos taken with my Canon 7D.

Great Blue Heron:  500mm lens with 1.4 tele-converter.  1/3200 sec. @ f8, -1.7EV, ISO 100.  I accidently adjusted the EV un-necessarily and had to correct in post processing.

Ladder-backed Woodpecker:  100-400mm zoom lens.  1/500 sec. @ f7.1, +0.3EV, ISO 500.

More birding formation.  I found out this morning that a Snowy Owl has been seen, photographed and verified, near Lake Ray Hubbard near Dallas, Texas.  Since it is about 300 miles east of San Angelo, I will not go to have a look.  Maybe it will head west…………. 🙂  Hey, we can always hope. 🙂

The Great Blue Heron – plus……Lifer 241


We took a run out to Middle Concho Park today.  One of the highlights was catching a photo op of the Great Blue Heron, (Ardea herodias).  The Great Blue is I believe my favorite of all of the herons to photograph.  This one flew up from the river and lit high in the top of a tree on the other side.  I love the way the light breeze was blowing his plumage.  He was about 125 yards away.

I was in the car, but I was facing the wrong way to get a shot from the drivers side.  I got out and hand-held my Canon 70D with 500mm lens and 1.4 tele-converter, resting against the hood of the car.  Exposure was 1/1250 sec. @ f8 with a ISO of 125.  Center-weighted metering and aperture priority.  Click on the image to see a beautiful enlargement.

Great Blue Heron

As I said above, that was one of the highlights.  There were others and one was the spotting of not one, but two Brown Creepers, (Certhia americana).  The Brown Creeper is another rarity for the San Angelo area, so I was very pleased to see these two.  And, by the way, since I had never saw one before this was lifer number 241 for me, if anyone is keeping count.  I did get photos for confirmation, but they are not publishable quality by my standards.  They are good enough for identification purposes.

It was a good birding day.  In all we saw these 35 species:

  1. American Coots   35+
  2. Northern Shoveler   50+
  3. Gadwall   12
  4. Northern Mockingbird   4
  5. House Finch   12
  6. Great Blue Heron   9
  7. Pied-billed Grebe   6
  8. Cinnamon Teal   11
  9. Great-tailed Grackle   4
  10. Belted Kingfisher   2
  11. Ladder-backed Woodpecker   2
  12. Common Grackles   6
  13. Red-winged Blackbird   2
  14. Golden-fronted Woodpecker   6
  15. Great Egret   2
  16. Green-winged Teal   8
  17. Brown Creeper   2  (lifer)
  18. Meadowlark   6
  19. Yellow-rumped Warbler   2
  20. Eastern Bluebird   2
  21. Cooper’s Hawk   1
  22. European Starlings   8
  23. Black-crested Titmouse   3
  24. Dark-eyed Juncos – slate   12
  25. Mallard   2
  26. Northern Cardinal   2
  27. Blue Jay   1
  28. Savannah Sparrow   1
  29. American Robins   2
  30. Forster’s Terns   2
  31. Ring-billed Gulls   50+
  32. Northern Pintail   2
  33. Hooded Merganzer   1
  34. Ring-necked Ducks   50+
  35. White-winged Dove   1