Recent Odds and Ends…..


The weather is continuing to be warm, read very warm, and the birds continue to be stressed and they keep to themselves hidden somewhere in the trees and landscape.  However, that doesn’t stop Ann and I from getting out a couple of hours each morning.  Although not getting many images, I have lucked out and got a few nice ones.  Here is a collection, mostly from the past several months that I believe that I may not have ever posted here.  Some may be even older.  My Facebook readers will probably recognize many of them.  If you can, PLEASE view this on a computer.  That way if you click on any image, you can see some very beautiful enlargements.

This Painted Bunting we found at an old mudhole that was on the verge of drying up.  If I were to go there this morning, I am sure it would be dry.  Anyway, I think this is one of my favorite photos of this bird, and I think it is a great start to this blog post.

Painted Bunting

Painted Bunting

This Greater Roadrunner that I photographed yesterday at San Angelo State Park ranks as one of my best of that species.  I love the way the light enhanced the various colors of the feathers.

Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner

Since I have been spending more time in the house, I have been at the computer going through images from the past few months, that I hadn’t edited or sorted.  This Pyrrhuloxia was photographed in the early morning light of July 21 of this year.

Pyrrhuloxia

Pyrrhuloxia

We came across this Greater Roadrunner one day at San Angelo State Park.  He was so close to me that I opted to get a portrait of him.  I found it quite interesting.

Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner

I never pass up a chance to photograph these tiny Vermilion Flycatchers

Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher

In the birding community, the females don’t usually get their due.  The female Grosbeak, in my opinion is a beautiful bird as you might agree.

Blue Grosbeak - female

Blue Grosbeak – female

One of the cutest birds that I know of, is the Black-crested Titmouse.  But they also are very feisty and you don’t like to be messed with.

Black-crestedd Titmouse

Black-crested Titmouse

At the Hummer House down near Christoval, Texas I as enjoying photographing the many, many hummgbirds there.  I thought this image moved the cute meter up a notch.

Black-chinnedd Hummingbird

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Of all of my Great Horned Owl photos, I rank this image as one of my personal favorites.  I try to photograph this species at every opportunity.

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl

This photo would fool you.  As a juvenile Curve-billed Thrasher, it has neither the curved bill nor the orange eye of the adult.

Curve-billed Thrasher - juvenile

Curve-billed Thrasher – juvenile

Another bird that is difficult photograph is the Ruby-crowned Kinglet.  To happen to catch one with the red crown showing is a bonus.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Another one with the same degree of difficulty is the cute little Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

When I was much younger and not at all interested in birds of any kind, I used to think that all the little ones were sparrows.  The medium size up was all pigeons.  The really big birds. think large and XX large, were all eagles.  Then the ones on water were all ducks.   But now that I am getting more educated in the avian species, boy, am I ever getting surprised.   I have found that there are over fifty different species of sparrows alone. Wow! Holey-moly, Batgirl!!  Who’da thought!  Well, this Grasshopper Sparrow is one of the more unusual ones.

Grasshsopper Sparrow

Grasshsopper Sparrow

I think that will be all for this post.  I hope you have enjoyed reading and seeing the photographs.

’til next time,

Happy Birding!!!

White-throated Sparrow – A Lifer


To a birder, a lifer is a bird that has seen for the very first time.  Hence, we saw a White-throated Sparrow on the 29th of February, for our first time.  It was at Spring Creek Park, scratching in the grass.  It was that it was all alone that got our attention to check it out.  It is a rare bird here, but not unusual to see on on ocassion.  Anyway, it brings my life list total to 286.  The photo isn’t really great.  As you can see, it was right at the edge of shade and bright sunshine.  That makes for difficult exposures.  But what a great start to a fun couple of days birding.

White-throated Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

As we drove through the park we spotted two photographers, both with the requisite camo clothes, tripods, and huge lenses.  Like I used to have.  They had out-of-state plates on their car.  Anyway, they had flushed that female Great Horned Owl off of it’s nest and it was resting high in a tree.  I stopped, got my little ‘ole 150-600mm lens out and nailed a great shot as it thankfully headed back to it’s nest.  I hand-held the camera and I was dressed in plain old clothes.

female Great Horned Owl heading to the nest.

female Great Horned Owl heading to the nest.

I think those two guys were part of a huge bunch that was harassing the owl on Sunday afternoon.  That group was headed up by the Mr. Doe that was instrumental in saying that I harassed wildlife by sharing the info to knowledgeable birders.  Well, ’nuff said about that.

We continued on through Spring Creek Park then headed to the Middle Concho Park that is located just across the water, but since there is no bridge, it is about an eight mile drive around to get to it.

Here are a few more images from around that area.  Click on any image in this post to see some very nice enlargements.

First, is this little Pied-billed Grebe.  They just swim around, occasionally diving under the water for something and usually coming up with nothing.  But what the heck…..they look like they are smiling and happy.

Pied-billed Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe

This Roadrunner was along the road, (where else?), looking for tidbits for lunch.  Since the little ground squirrels are coming out of hibernation, he should be able to start eating better very soon. 🙂

Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner

Can you take another owl?  This is the male that is supposed to guarding the nest where the previous female resides, sitting on the eggs.  He looks bored.  Wonder if he will make it another month or so.

Great Horned Owl - male

Great Horned Owl – male

A lot of these Meadowlarks hanging around now.  There are usually a few European Starlings tagging along.

Eastern Meadowlark

Eastern Meadowlark

There are also a lot of these Yellow-rumped Warblers here, too.  They will be leaving in mid-May, to return in October to spend the winter.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

The Sapsuckers can confuse a lot of people.  They look like the average woodpecker.  They used to confuse me, too, until I started to look for that white ‘stripe’ down the side of their feathers.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Let’s finish up with one of favorites.  I love photographing herons.  This is the same juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron from my previous post.  He has found a home across the water from Spring Creek Park. Always about 200 yards away. I imagine that his adult parent is watching from another hidden spot. This time he was more in the open, aiding me in getting a better image.

Black-crowned Night Heron - juvenile

Black-crowned Night Heron – juvenile

Well, that is about it for this post.  I had fun writing it and I hope you had fun reading it.

‘Til then, Happy Birding!!

 

Bobwhite, Roadrunners, and other stuff.


It is still pretty warm around here.  Mid 90s and higher.  We may just skip fall and go directly to winter without passing go and collecting our $200. 🙂

We did spot some duck types way off in the middle of O.C. Fisher Lake.  I guess they can keep cooler out there.  We are not seeing them closer to shore yet.  As a matter of fact there are few winter birds having arrived yet.

But there are still of our usual residents around and we have no trouble spotting a few at San Angelo State Park.

Here are a few images from our forays there in the past few days.  Enjoy.

This is probably one of the best photos of a Northern Bobwhite that I have taken to date.

Northern Bobwhite

Northern Bobwhite

These American White Pelicans did a brief flyover while were visiting San Angelo State Park.

American White Pelicans

American White Pelicans

Belted Kingfishers always lead me a merry chase.  This one finally stopped for a few minutes near Lake Nasworthy.

Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfisher

Notice the remnants of a grasshopper in this photo of the Northern Mockingbird.

Northern Mockingbird

Northern Mockingbird

A Greater Roadrunner at San Angelo State Park.  They seem to be in great numbers there.

Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner

The Loggerhead Shrike speaks for itself.  It is doing it’s thing, waiting for a snack to impale on one of those thorns.

Loggerhead Shrike

Loggerhead Shrike

The white eye-ring is prominent on this Vesper Sparrow.

Vesper Sparrow

Vesper Sparrow

The next two photos are of the same Greater Roadrunner at San Angelo State Park.  I liked both poses so I decided to post both.

Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner

This Nine-banded Armadillo is a young one.  It was feeding along the road in the state park and did not mind me getting this close-up.

Nine-banded Armadillo

Nine-banded Armadillo

I hope you enjoyed these images.  Check back in a few days for a few more.

Happy Birding!!

Labor Day weekend odds and ends……


As many of you know I am recuperating from a hospital stay with a nasty bout with a urinary infection.  I have been home for a few days and have been itching to get back in to the field.  So, feeling up to it, I and Ann sneaked out to San Angelo State Park for an hour or two.  It was hot and we really didn’t expect much, but I wanted to get out of the house.

We first drove down near the only operating boat ramp on the struggling O.C. Fisher lake.  The heat and evaporating are taking their toll.  I think the level has dropped nearly two feet in just the past three weeks.  Anyway, I spotted this Green Heron about 125 yards away in the reeds.  Since the pickin’s were slow I tried to come away with some kind of shot.  It was tiny in the viewfinder and I did’nt think I had a prayer of getting anything useful, mainly because of the focus problems with all of the reeds. I hand held the camera because I didn’t feel like lugging the tripod down there.  Anyway, I got lucky and here is the final result after doing some major cropping.

Green Heron

Green Heron

Venturing around to the Isabel Harte multi-use area, I came across this Great Roadrunner cooling under a shady Live Oak.  He presented a slight exposure problem with the shade and bright background.  But the good news, he was only about 25 feet away.  I was careful to ease my car into position for a shot from my window.  He posed long enough that I got several exposures.

Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner

Getting away from birding for a bit, I had nice comment to my About Me page.  It was from Kathryn Ingrid at Art-colored Glasses.  She lives in Denton, Texas and her husband, Richard, is a conductor and the interim head of the choral program at University of North Texas.  UNT has a fantastic jazz program, and I am acquainted with their One-o-Clock Lab band.  It brought memories of my own playing in the big bands of an earlier era.  Although I didn’t play in the ‘big name’ bands I loved any opportunity to play in a band with five saxes, five trumpets and four ‘bones, plus assorted percussion.  I love the jazz creations of Stan Kenton, the driving sound of County Basie, or the sweet saxophones of Ralph Flanagan.

As I said, I never played with likes of those, but I did play with many of the great musicians at after-hours late night (early morning) jam sessions while I was stationed in Reno, Nevada.

I thank Kathryn for bringing back those memories.  Maybe it will lead to another post about those experiences.

Greater Roadrunner, Orioles and others


Here are a few images that I have gotten since we got back from our Big Bend adventure.  We have been watching for new summer residents of the avian variety.  While doing such searching I was able to get a few other images for your enjoyment.  We found this Greater Roadrunner at San Angelo State Park.

Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner

The Bullock’s Orioles are starting to arrive.  I had seen a female a few weeks earlier, but now there are many of the bright colored males.  They are still hard to photograph among the trees but nevertheless, I managed a couple.

Bullock's Oriole

Bullock’s Oriole

Bullock's Oriole

Bullock’s Oriole

I love the Golden-fronted Woodpeckers.  They seem to be everywhere all the time and they are so photogenic.

Golden-fronted Woodpecker

Golden-fronted Woodpecker

Same bird, different pose.  He was trying to show me his better side.

Golden-fronted Woodpecker

Golden-fronted Woodpecker

A Lincoln’s Sparrow.

Lincoln's Sparrow

Lincoln’s Sparrow

A couple of Lark Sparrows.

Lark Sparrow

Lark Sparrow

Lark Sparrow

Lark Sparrow

The Scissor-tailed Flycatchers are arriving in large numbers and they will be seen soon all over the country-side.  I got a couple of images today.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Last, but not least, a Killdeer playing in the water at a mudhole near Twin Buttes Reservoir.

Killdeer

Killdeer

Enjoy the photos and I will be back soon with a few more.

Happy Birthday to Me…….


Almost to the end of another month.  And the end of another year in my life.  I will turn 80 on Thursday, which is October 2.  So to celebrate we, Ann and I will be doing our usual thing.  This time however, we will be birding at Uvalde, Texas.  A friend has invited us to use his bird blind down there, with promises of brand new birds for our life list.

We are leaving Wednesday morning Oct. 1, and will return Friday, October 3.  So I am looking forward to posting a blog over the weekend, hopefully with a bunch of new images of some new birds.

This will probably be my last post until the weekend, so here are a few recent photos that I have gotten locally.

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

This Northern Cardinal was at the bird blind at San Angelo State Park.  I thought he was too pretty to ignore.

Great Roadrunner on the hood of our car.

Great Roadrunner on the hood of our car.

We happened to look out the door of the blind, and we spotted a Greater Roadrunner on our Ford Escape.  Fortunately, besides the camera that was mounted on the tripod, I also had a second Canon 70D with my 100-400mm lens handy.  I grabbed it and got these shots before the roadrunner hopped off and ran towards the brush.

Greater Roadrunner on our car.

Greater Roadrunner on our car.

Not seeing as many birds that we had hoped, we took a drive around the park for a few minutes.  Not too many birds in the building.  A year or so ago, they, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, took upon themselves to spray the thick mesquite that is in abundance in the park.  The thought was that that the brushy trees were sapping too much of the valuable water of the area.  That was probably true, but in killling the trees, they also destroyed valuable habitat.  I believe that is why the populace of birds, hawks, and wildlife in general has declined.

But having said that, we was this Loggerhead Shrike on a thorny, dead branch.

Loggerhed Shrike

Loggerhed Shrike

So I apologize for the short post, but I hope to make for it in my next post.  But no promises, as I will then be an old man of 80, so we can get absent-minded.  But I would hate to have to start visiting the senior center downtown, because that is where all of the old people hang out. 🙂

Holiday photos – gotta get out more.


I am still ailing just a little bit, getting used to some new meds, but don’t fret, I should be 100% in a few days.  I really feeling like getting out more, and I did so for a few hours during the recent Fourth of July holiday.  Here are a few results, mostly from our local San Angelo State Park.

Greater Roadrunner resting in a tree.

Greater Roadrunner resting in a tree.

Greater Roadrunner enjoying the chase.

Greater Roadrunner enjoying the chase.

Golden-fronted Woodpecker - female taking a pose for me.

Golden-fronted Woodpecker – female taking a pose for me.

House Finch ruffling it's feathers.

House Finch ruffling it’s feathers.

Click on any image to see some enlargements and enjoy.  A couple of these will probably end up in my gallery at http:www.bobzellerphotography.smugmug.com.  Have a look when you can.