Cabin fever blues and cold buns….

Again, we are having cold, freezing moisture.  It is keeping me inside, as moisture and cameras do not mix.   Of course, that is just a good excuse, as I don’t like to freeze my buns off either.  I will just post a few of my photos from the past few days, when it was nice enough to get few exposures.

Eastern Phoebe found something to sing about.

Eastern Phoebe found something to sing about.

Northern Shoveler - a pretty female.

Northern Shoveler – a pretty female.

White-crowned Sparrow - a juvenile looking pretty good.

White-crowned Sparrow – a juvenile looking pretty good.

Western Meadowlark - ya gotta love that yellow breast.

Western Meadowlark – ya gotta love that yellow breast.

Great Blue Heron - breeding time and gotta build a place for the wife and kids.

Great Blue Heron – breeding time and gotta build a place for the wife and kids.

Click on any image to see enlargements.  I am going to hibernate for a day or two, but I’ll be back. 🙂

American Kestrel and Western Meadowlark

I got this photo of an elusive American Kestrel near the entrance to Spring Creek Park here in San Angelo, Texas.  As I drove up, it was high on a wire off to the right side of my car.  I stopped and contemplated how I would get the shot.  I couldn’t shoot out the passenger side from where I was sitting in the driver’s seat.  I was worried that it would fly off any second.  I decided to take a chance.  I drove slowly forward a couple hundred feet and made a U-turn and came back.  Miraculously, it was still there.  I was shaking as I slowly aimed my Canon EOS 7D with 500mm lens and 1.4 tele-converter out the window, supporting it with my Noodle.  I was able to fire off a half dozen exposures before he flew.  I failed to get the take-off, but I did get this handsome image.5413_web-kestrel-bob-zeller

There were many birds around that morning and I also came up with another shot of a Western Meadowlark.5425_web-meadowlark-bob-zeller

The meadowlark was beneath a tree along with several of it’s friends, and the lighting was tricky.

Both images are cropped heavily.  The kestrel was about 35 feet off the ground and probably a total of about 150 feet away.  The meadowlark was perhaps about 60 feet away on the ground.  Feel free to click on either image to see an enlargement.

Hark, the lark, the Meadowlark

There I am again, getting cute with a catchy title.  But, I have to get your attention.  Today I have some Western Meadowlark images to show you.  I went out with Ann on Sunday morning to try and get some more improved images than what I have seemed to have gotten lately.  I was starting to doubt my own talents.  The day was one of those days where the birding was a bit sparse, but it was probably because of some chilly winds.  That is, chilly early morning, then it warmed to upper 70s in the afternoon.  I can hardly call that chilly.

Anyway we came across an area where there were several Western Meadowlarks, both on the ground and in the trees.  One thing that I have noticed about them, is they like to keep their back to you.  Maybe it is some kind of defensive thing, but it is hard to get nice photos of their beautiful yellow breasts.  Having said that, though, I did get a shot of one lurking in the grass a little further away.  I was able to capture it with my 500mm lens with a 1.4 tele-converter.  I used the same set-up on the other two images as well.

Mind if I lurk a little bit??

Here’s another with a side view.

Western Meadowlark’s great profile

This one keeps looking over his shoulder.

Here’s lookin’ back at ya. 🙂

In closing, here is a frontal view of a Western Meadowlark that I captured back in the year 2009.  I was undecided about posting it because of the reeds that are in front of his face.  But the picture grew on me, and I think that the growth adds a bit of a natural look.  I hope you agree.

Western Meadowlark on barbed wire.

I hope you enjoyed these photos.  I am going to the central Texas area tomorrow.  First to visit Hornsby Bend Bird Sanctuary in Austin, then on Wednesday we will go to the Canyon of the Eagles at Lake Buchanan and take the Vanishing River Cruise and hopefully get some images of some Bald Eagles.  So my next post will be around next weekend.

San Angelo State Park Birding Jan. 2

Ann and I decided to do a little birding this morning out at San Angelo State Park.  During a two hour period we saw 29 species.  Pretty good for such a short time.  The temp was about 45 degrees but no wind, so it was quite comfortable.  Here is a list that includes the female Northern Cardinal that you see pictured below.

Blue-winged Teal     4
Northern Shoveler     6
Northern Bobwhite     2
American White Pelican     100
Great Blue Heron     4
Red-tailed Hawk     2
American Kestrel     1
Killdeer     2
Greater Yellowlegs     4
Least Sandpiper     8
Ring-billed Gull     200
White-winged Dove     5
Mourning Dove     1
Ladder-backed Woodpecker     1
Loggerhead Shrike     1
Black-crested Titmouse     2
Northern Mockingbird     8
Curve-billed Thrasher     2
Spotted Towhee     1
Canyon Towhee     2
Vesper Sparrow     5
White-crowned Sparrow     12
Northern Cardinal     8
Pyrrhuloxia     4
Red-winged Blackbird     50
Western Meadowlark     6
Common Grackle     8
House Finch     24
House Sparrow     6

Click the image to see an enlargement.

Happy Birding!!

Calendar Particulars

Much was said yesterday about my new 2011 Calendar, but not enough info for obtaining one.  Just contact me at or call 325-944-1839.  You can have one for a 20.00 donation that includes all shipping in the United States.  I do business the west Texas way.  A handshake, so to speak.  I will send you the calendar by priority mail, then you mail the check.

The calendar is 12 months, printed on high quality, high gloss paper that is heavy enough to last years.  The title is ” Texas Tweeties 2011″ and as such, it is a collection of some of my bird photogaphs.

I hope to hear from you.

Happy Birding!!!

Birding Eldorado Saturday 10/30

Friday evening Suzanne Johnson called us from Eldorado and told us that there was an influx of birds at the water treatment ponds.  She invited us to come down there Saturday morning for some birding there.  We were happy to hear that there were finally some birds arriving there so, Ann and I headed that way.

I don’t remember how many different species that we saw but there were, Green-winged Teals, Pied-bill Grebes, Gadwalls, American Wigeons, Eared Grebes, Northern Shovelers, Blue Huron, Vesper Sparrows, Red-winged Blackbirds, Savannah Sparrows, Meadowlarks,  Ruddy Ducks, Lesser Scaup, one Redhead, Pyrrhuloxia, and one female Ring-necked Duck.

The weather was nice, but very windy, and it made photographing these birds on the water difficult.  Hear are a few photogaphic highlights.  Some are not award-winning images, but good enough for identification.

Green-winged Teal

Ruddy Duck

Eared Gebe

Wind-blown Vesper Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Back here in San Angelo, activity with some migratory birds are picking up.  On O. C. Fisher Lake we have seen numerous American Kestrels, Loggerhead Shrikes, Meadowlarks to name a few.  There are several hundred American White Pelicans, American Avocets, Greater Yellow-legs, Least Sandpipers also.  We have seen two Norther Harriers almost daily.  This morning we saw two Red-tailed Hawks also.

 Click on the above images to see enlargements.

Happy Birding!!

Another one for the life list……

Back in the spring, I think I had 187 birds on my life list, and I remember saying that I wanted to make 200 by the end of the year.  Being the novice that I am, I thought that was a reasonable goal.  Well, heck, today I registered number 214.  Gee whiz, and there are still two months to go.

Ann and I were able to spend an extra few hours at O. C. Fisher Lake this morning.  We have been busy with some other tasks so our birding was put on the back burner for a few days. 

Anyway, at the boat ramp I had set up my camera with the 500mm lens on it.  Ann had her spotting scope on her tripod.  She looked at an adjacent shoreline and exclaimed that she had spotted a Black-bellied Whistling Duck.  It was pretty far away.  I could see a bit of it through my camera lens, so I tried to get an image.  After bringing it home, and downloading it to the computer, then looking at Sibley’s book, I found that it was a Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons).  Here is the photograph, taken from about a quarter-mile away.

Greater White-fronted Goose

In addition while we were there, we spotted winter migratory new comers Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) and Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna).

Loggerhead Shrike

Eastern Meadowlark

I hope you have enjoyed the photos.  Click on either one for an enlargement. 

Happy birding!

Super Bowl weekend photos

Merlin on utility pole.

Dismal weather doesn’t hold me back.  We were in and out of the house, just hanging out and driving around.  Friday morning on the way home from breakfast we spotted a Merlin high up on a power pole.  I checked and it is a prairie sub-species.  Later we drove downtown along the river with Jodie Wolslager and saw several Hooded Mergansers again.  This time I got a photo of a female, with the familiar red Don King hairdo.  Also saw a female Belted Kingfisher, and a Ringed Kingfisher.

Yesterday morning, Ann and I went to the bird blind at the state park to

Wstern Meadowlark

check on the feed supply and ran into a couple of new-comers to San Angelo.  They are Mike and Diane Coleman, who have moved here from Fallon, Nevada, and birding is one of their hobbies.  We then drove through the park for a bit and saw some beautiful Western Meadowlarks plus some other interesting sights.  We saw a Northerh Harrier soaring near the lake, apparently hunting prey, and saw another Harrier sitting on a large rock near the shore of the lake, chowing down on a large fish.

I am going to put some photos here.  The weather, for the most part, was damp and chilly so a few of the photos were taken from the car. 

Sharp-shinned Hawk

The Sharp-shinned Hawk was photographed at park’s bird blind.  It flew in, scaring the crap out of all of the other birds, and landed in a smaller tree.  At the time I had my Canon 7D with my 100-400mm zoom lens in myhands.  For the shot my vision was limited by a tree, but I had just enough room to place my center focus point on the hawk and came up with a good enough image to be able to identify it.

The Great Blue Heron, with it’s breeding plumage was high up on a lamp pole

Great Blue Heron

 along the Concho River downtown.  For that photo I got out of the van.  I sought out a vantage point fron behind some trees and hand-held my 7D with my 500mm lens.  I then had Ann help me get up off the ground so I wouldn’t fall into the river.  It’s hell to get old. 🙂

The Roadrunner was photographed from the window of the van as we were driving around the park.  He had just caught what looked like a large grasshopper.  The Western Meadowlark was in a tree nearby also.  So enjoy the photos.  Click on any of them to see enlargements.

Belted Kingfisher - female

Happy Birding!!

Hooded Merganser - female

Greater Roadrunner

Northern Mockingbird

Birding Tour Washed Out

The monthly Adult Birding Adventure at the San Angelo State Park, was washed out this morning.  But, heck, it wasn’t my fault.  Ann and I went out early about 8:00AM to feed the birds so they would be active.  The temp then was up to about 15 degrees.  But the sun was shining brightly and no wind, so it was not unpleasant.

After doing that chore we checked the lake for interesting sightings.  There was a light coating of ice near the shoreline and there were several hundred gulls walking on the ice or wading on the water near by.  After that we went back to ths South Gate-house to greet our “participants”, or fellow birders.  Alas, we were all alone.  Nary a person showed up at the appointed time of 9:00AM.  So we shall wait and try again next month on Feb. 13.  9:00AM, South Gate.   Hopefully the weather will be more co-operative. 

I guess I should mention that while Ann and I were spending a few minutes making those observation early this morning, we did see beside the Ring-billed Gulls, we saw Northern Pelicans, House Finches, Red-winged Blackbirds, Savannah Sparrows, Meadowlarks, Northern Mockingbirds, at least one Loggerhead Shrike and a Great Blue Heron. 

I now have a “Now Showing” page on this blog.  There you can hear about the various showings of my photography.

Happy Birding!!

Good Morning, Christmas Eve

Well, this is Christmas Eve morning.  It will probably be another day or two before I post again, so I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.  Ann is in

Western Meadowlark

the kitchen doing some cooking for us for the holiday, and I am trying to decide whether to be naughty or nice. 🙂   I gave up on today’s crossword, something rare for me.  I can usually handle them with a bit of ease, although sometimes I spend nearly all day on some of them, but this one this morning is a real kicker.  Anyone know a 5-letter word for “matter components”?  The third and fourth letter an “o” and an “m”.

Yesterday, Suzanne and Sid from Eldorado stopped by.  They were in town doing shopping, but had a few hours to kill, so they wanted to go birding.  We started out to Lake Nasworthy because they wanted to see the Black-bellied

Northern Mockingbird

 Whistling Ducks that have been hanging around out there.

Then we ended up out at San Angelo State Park, just driving around to see what there was to see.  Hundreds of Ring-billed Gulls, a Says Phoebe that eluded my camera, several Northern Mockingbirds and Western Meadowlarks.  Also watched a Northern Harrier do a little hunting.  The weather was beautiful at about 75 degrees.  This morning, by the way, right now it’s 34 degrees with a real light snow.  Now you know why I have a little cabin fever.

I’ll put a couple of photographs here.  Neither of them were taken yesterday, however the Western (or maybe Eastern) Meadowlark was photographed at the park on a previous trip.  The Northern Mockingbird was photographed in our front yard earlier this year.

As I now look out the window, the snow is coming down a little heavier and actually starting to stick.  The roofs and lawns are starting to look whiter.  Maybe we’ll have a white Christmas, something of a rarity around here.  I guess I’ll stay in for a bit and look for another way of getting in trouble. 🙂

Oh, I just remembered, the 5-letter word for “matter components” is “atoms”.   Of course…… how could I miss that one?  I knew I would get it sooner or later. 🙂

Happy Birding