Just a few birds………..

Monday morning was getting warm but there was a thin layer of high cloudiness.  With the diffused sunlight, I thought I would venture out to the San Angelo State Park to see what I might find to photograph.  Ann was doing the laundry and housecleaning and preferred that I was somewhere else anyway.

Arriving at the park, I decided on going to the bird blind first.  If a person is going to sit in there very long, it is best to do it early as it warms very fast these days.  However, when I got there I was very disappointed.  The grass and weeds were more than two feet deep.  The pond was covered in algae.  There was no trace of anything in the feeders.  I scrounged in the bin, and found only a handful of seed that I could scrape off the bottom.  I put that meager amount out in hopes of attracting a few birds.  It is obvious to me that the park personnel have no desire to maintain the place anymore.  The “Friends of San Angelo State Park”, seem to be directing their efforts elsewhere.  I don’t understand this, as birding is one of the largest growing hobbies in the state now.

Enough of my rant.  I sat there long enough to get a photos of a Northern Cardinal and a House Sparrow.  In it it’s own way, the sparrow is a very pretty bird.  Of course, I can’t say enough about the cardinal.

House Sparrow

House Sparrow

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

I also saw, while sitting there, numerous White-winged Doves, a couple of Black-crested Titmouses, and a Curve-billed Thrasher.  There were a couple of Bobwhites calling in the distance, too.

I decided to take a drive thru the park then, only to find that the birding was a bit sparse there, too.  Probably a combination of the heat and scarcity of water.  However, I did spot a Greater Roadrunner that I was able to photograph.

Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner

Early fall migration is right around the corner.  Beginning in late August, we might start to see some birds coming back from their journeys elsewhere.  Enjoy the photos, and click on any of them to see enlargements.

Don’t forget, Part IV of my music journey, will be published this coming weekend.  The plot thickens…………….

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

Sparrows, Sparrows, Sparrows

Since this blog is basically about birding, and bird photography, I have been sitting here pondering what to put in my next (this) post.  Thinking back, I didn’t know a sparrow from a pigeon before I got into serious birding.  Well, I guess pigeons were bigger, right?   Anyway, now I have come to appreciate just how many species of birds there really are.  In the area where I live, according to the people that know these things, there are thirty different species of sparrows alone.

To be perfectly fair, actually they are not all sparrows.  Four of those species classified in the sparrow family are towhees, three are longspurs, and one is a junco.  That still leaves twenty-two named sparrows, just here in the Concho Valley.  There are more than fifty species including other regions of the country. 

Like any other non-birder, I thought all sparrow looked alike.  Wrong!  Since I now consider myself a birder, albeit a little new at it, I have discovered that there are really many beautiful sparrows to be seen and photographed.  You can see from the following examples.

House Sparrow

Pictured above is the common House Sparrow (Passer domesticus).  Now I ask, isn’t this a pretty little bird.  Nice rich colors of brown, with that little patch of gray on his head, and that black chest, not to be confused with the Black-throated Sparrow.

Black-throated Sparrow

The above is the afore-mentioned Black-throated Sparrow (Amphispiza bilineata).   Another little cutie.

Lark Sparrow

Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus)  Another pretty bird with distinctive markings that you can’t miss.

White-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)

Field Sparrow

Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla).  So these are five of my favorites.  Now when you see a sparrow, take a closer look, and you may be surprised at what you see.  Click on any image to see an enlargement.