Animals say the darndest things.

Isn’t it funny that sometimes you take a photograph of a bird or animal, and just happen to catch something humorous.   Here are three examples of mine.  The first is a hitch-hiking Northern Mockingbird.

"Going My Way?"

The following one is a Mexican Ground Squirrel, munching on a mesquite bean.  He seems to be taking offense that I am watching him eat.

"Well, what are you looking at?"

This pair of Black-tailed Prairie Dogs does’t mind putting on a show of public affection.  This photo was selected for a cover of National Wildlife Magazine a few months back.

"Blow in my ear and I'll follow you anywhere"

I hope you enjoyed these photos.  Click one any of them to see enlargements.

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!!

Hot morning at San Angelo State Park

Map of Tom Green County Texas highlighting San...

Image via Wikipedia

Ann and I made our usual trip to San Angelo State Park. As hot as it was getting be, her and I still had a good time after feeding the birds at the blind.  While at said blind I did manage to get this nice shot of a Black-chinned Hummingbird  It was feeding at the blossoms on a Red Flowering Yucca.

Black-chinned Hummingbird

 We then made a drive around with the windows open and the air-conditioning turned on.  Checked to see if the Roseate Spoonbills had stayed, but apparently they are not used to this west Texas heat.  We did get a good list of birds, though.

25  Red-winged Blackbird

50  White-winged Dove

2   Northern Cardinal

25   House Sparrow

10   House Finch

1  Black-chinned Hummingbird

12  Northern Mockingbird

2   Black-crested Titmouse

40  Common Grackle

2   Pyrrholoxia

1   Painted Bunting

3   Morning Dove

2   Brown-headed Cowbird

3   Western Kingbird

3   Killdeer

1   Long-billed Dowitcher

8   Black-necked Stilts

5   Snowy Egrets

2   Great Blue Heron

8   Double-crested Cormorants

3   Turkey Vulture

3   Canyon Towhee

1   Greater Roadrunner

1   Golden-fronted Woodpecker

3   Common Nighthawk  (all withing 10 yards of each other)

4   Barn Swallow

10  Lark Sparrow

3   Western Sandpiper

Several un-identified ducks.

Not bad count considering the heat.  Today is supposed to be the 23rd consecutive day of 100+ degrees.  So we’re setting a new record as the days go by.  The old record was 18 straight days.

So folks, I am going to cool off this afternoon in front of the TV and watch the Texas Rangers take on the Baltimore Orioles.  Life doesn’t get any better than this. 🙂

Happy Birding everybody!!

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!!

Week after Christmas

Well, here we are.  Beginning the last week of the year.  We had a beautiful Christmas holiday, though.  Can’t complain about the weather anyway.  But……..tonight snow is on the way.  The question is, will I finally get some snow scene photographs??  Stay tuned on that.

Northern Mockingbird

Ann and I got out for a few hours on Sunday afternoon.  Sue Oliver had asked on Saturday if we wanted to go with her on Sunday, but we begged off because Ann had a severe back problem and had said she didn’t want to go anywhere on Sunday.  But Sunday dawned and later in the day she was feeling better, and we had a little cabin fever so away we went.  Saw several birds, also spotted Harry the Hunting Harrier again.  I got a few photographs of a female Ladderbacked Woodpecker, also a cute on of a Northern Mockingbird. 

I got an interesting e-mail from Mr. Don Jeane.  He and his wife spent a few days at the San Angelo State Park in early November.  While there he visited the bird blind.  While he was watching the birds, an American Badger wandered onto the scene.  He got a photograph of it and there is a link to it in his comment at the San Angelo State Park page.  I had heard there was a presence of badgers at the park, but I have never seen one.  Now I will be on the watch for it.

Suzanne Johnson in Eldorado has a new camera that she is really enjoying.  She sent me a photograph of a Bonaparte’s Gull that she saw at the water treatment ponds there.   I wish I had seen it as it would have been a lifer for me.

I will be busy for a few days.  I have been asked to show my work in the lobby of the Crockett National Bank during January and February.  So if you are in town and want to see the display, the bank is located on the northbound Bryant Thruway (Huighway 277), on the river across the street from the San Angelo Visitors Center.  Stop in and see it beginning on January 4, 2010.

On Thursday we will do some birding with Sue Oliver.  She is one of the best birders in the Concho Valley, so I am sure that we will learn a lot from her.

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