FOS Black-crowned Night Heron

Well, it is back to the birds.  I had numerous comments that opined that maybe I was out of character with my post of the Texas Bluebonnets.  Maybe so.  I am more in my own element when I am photographing birds or wildlife.  Even though I got lucky with some flower pictures that made me a lot of money, I have always had a lot more fun making images of the avian variety.  So this morning I had a couple of hours to kill, so Ann and I made a soiree out to Middle Concho Park.

The highlight was the spotting of a Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax).  This is the first one of the season for us, arriving just about right on schedule, which is mid-April for them.   As a matter of fact, we may have witnessed the actual arrival of the first one.   He may have gotten an early flight out of Mexico City. 🙂

Black-crowned Night Heron in tree

We were just driving slowly along the shore of the Middle Concho River, when we spotted this fairly large bird come flying in and landing in a tree across on the opposite shore a little ahead of us.  I stopped the car and put the binoculars on him.  I immediately identified him as a male Black-crown Night Heron.

Black-crowned Night Heron in tree

We drove further along, so I would have a good position opposite of him on my side of the river.  I was able to put my camera on my Puffin’ Pad© and photograph him from the window of the car.  I used the Canon 7D with my 500mm f4 lens and 1.4 tele-converter.   Exposures were about 1/1250 sec. @ f6.3, -0.3EV, ISO 160.  Aperture priority.

Black-crowned Night Heron in flight

After getting several photos of him in various positions, he took wing and flew further down the river.  I was able to get a decent shot of him in flight as well.  I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I did in capturing them.  During the rest of the little trip along the river, I came up with several more pictures of other birds that I will show you in the coming days.  So stay tuned. 🙂

FOS Ash-throated Flycatcher

I drove out to Middle Concho Park yesterday afternoon.  Earlier in the day, I had been to my doctor to have a biopsey taken from a little thingee on my neck.  I don’t recall what it was called, something that ends in ‘noma’.  Anyway, it is minor, but afterward I got restless.  A beautiful day, and I had to get outside.  However, for some reason or other, the birds must have been taking a siesta elsewhere, as there wasn’t much activity, except for a bunch of woodpeckers.

But one bright light was that we spotted a pair of Ash-throated Flycatchers (Myiarchud cinerascens).  The first ones that we have spotted this season.  So maybe this is a sign of things to come.  I am anxious to get back out and see what else will be arriving.  Click on either picture to see an enlargement.

Ash-throated Flycatcher

Fun Birding with Bob and Ann

Did you hear the one about the drunkard that was standing on the beach throwing rocks at the seagulls?  When the cop asked him why he was doing that, the sot said, “I don’t want to leave any tern un-stoned”. 🙂

Boy, that is a great lead-in to my post today.  Around noon Saturday Suzanne Johnson called, said she was in town with her husband, Sid.  They had just been near Lake Nasworthy and told us there was a couple of Forster’s Terns (Sterna forsteri) out there on some buoys.  Well, you know me.  “Have camera, will travel”.  I grabbed my camera, then grabbed Ann and we headed out there.  Forster’s aren’t really common around here.

Sure enough, when we got there about 10 minutes later, we saw one of them.  It was a little far for a decent photo.  The one that I show here is one that I took a couple of years ago down at the water treatment ponds in Eldorado.

Forster's Tern

Since the weather was pretty nice, and since we were already there, we decided to check out the parks around the lakes and see what else might make a showing.  It turned out to be a fun afternoon.  Another highlight was seeing some Dark-eyed Juncos (Junco hyemalis). I am very familiar with the Juncos, but it was the first time I had ever seen them here in San Angelo.  Our local check list shows them to be uncommon here.

Dark-eyed Junco - slate-colored

For you interested birders, here is a complete list of the 30 species we saw Saturday afternoon.

  1. Forster’s Tern   1
  2. Mute Swan   1
  3. Ring-billed Gull   11
  4. American Coot   75+
  5. Northern Mockingbird   4
  6. Great Blue Heron   2
  7. Northern Shoveler   15
  8. Pied-billed Grebe   4
  9. Western Meadowlark   10
  10. House Finch   18
  11. Orange-crowned Warbler   1
  12. Dark-eyed Junco (slate)   12
  13. Cedar Waxwing   30
  14. White-crowned Sparrow   12
  15. White-winged Dove   10
  16. Northern Flicker   1
  17. Red-winged Blackbird   6
  18. American Goldfinch   14
  19. Eastern Bluebird   12
  20. Clay-colored Sparrow   12
  21. Yellow-rumped Warbler   6
  22. Golden-fronted Woodpecker   4
  23. Ladder-backed Woodpecker   1
  24. Double-crested Cormorant   20
  25. Eastern Phoebe   1
  26. Cinnamon Teal   3
  27. Great-tailed Grackle   1
  28. Great Egret   1
  29. Vermilion Flycatcher   1
  30. Ring-necked Duck   2

Camera used on both photos was my Canon EOS 7D with 500mm lens.

Forster’s Tern:  1/1250 sec @ f22, -0.3EV.  ISO 1250, partial metering, aperture priority.

Dark-eyed Junco:  1/400 sec @ f4, ISO 3200.  partial metering, aperture priority.

Click on either photo for an enlargement.