Damp, Cool, Overcast Day

Hey, this isn’t Michigan.  This is supposed to be West Texas, where it is usually hot and dry.  As usual, the rain that we get isn’t in the right places.   O. C. Fisher Lake is down to only 4% of it’s capacity according to the experts, but I suspect it is getting closer to 3%.

It could be worse.   Many, many years ago, there was a TV show called “Laugh-in”.   It starred two comedians by the names of Rowen and Martin.  Well, they gave San Angelo “The Fickle Finger of Fate” award when O. C. Fisher lake caught fire and took a fire truck with it.

Ann and I are taking over the bird-feeding job at San Angelo State Park bird blind for a few days, as the people that usually do it are out of town.   We went out there this morning, and it was chilly enough for a jacket.   We hung around for a bit but I think most of the birds were hunkered down for warmth.

I wanted to see those MacGillivray’s Warblers again.   I want to be sure that I hadn’t mis-identified them.  The Mourning Warbler is very similar and it would have been very easy to make a mistake.  But both species are seldom seen around this area.  It would have been quite a co-incidence of both were here at this time, and I don’t think that happened.

In the photo that I posted a few days ago of the MacGillivray’s, I thought I could see the dark lore that connected across between the eyes.  The Mourning Warbler doesn’t have that.  However, the photo is not very distinct; the only usable one I obtained.  That may well be just a shadow over the eyes.  The bird presented a challenge to photograph as he or she, was flitting in and around a reedy, grassy wet area. 

I may get lucky soon.  Stay tuned……………

Happy Birding!!

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MacGillivray’s Warbler

Forget about all that talk yesterday about my age, and birthdays and all that stuff.  Today it is back to normal for me.

We got a call from Sid and Suzanne Johnson.  They wanted to come to San Angelo to go birding.  You don’t think that I am going to say no to a proposition like that, do you.  Ann says let’s do it.

After they arrived we headed to San Angelo State Park and the bird blind.

MacGillivray's Warbler

MacGillivray's Warbler

We put the usual feed out as we like to help out there on week-ends.  Not much activity there for awhile, mostly because there was a hawk shadowing the area for awhile.  After he was gone things picked up a bit.  House Finches, Black-crested Titmice, House Sparrows, Red-winged Blackbirds, but not much else until………….. there was movement in an area of some standing water and some reeds.  We spotted three MacGillivray’s Warblers.  They are a specie that is seldom seen in the area.  I managed to get a few photos but the birds were flighty in amongst the grass.  The one shown here is the best of the lot, then not the greatest.  I was using my 100-400mm hand-held. 

I went back to the van for my 500mm but by the time I got it set up, the moment and warblers were gone.  Next time I will have my 500mm set up first and be ready as soon as I walk into the blind.  Nevertheless, it was a lifer for me.

Later, after leaving the blind, we drove down towards the lake shore.  The American White Pelicans, and the American Avocets were  still hanging around.  Also some Blue Herons, Egrets, Sandpipers, and I think I spotted some American Coots.

Then we drove out the the Nasworthy Dam.  There they had the outlet flowing pretty heavily so that gushing torrent did nothing for any bird watching.  So we decided to call it a day, but for one last stop over the Twin Buttes Reservoir Equalization Channel.  There we spotted three Ospreys.  So all in all, not a bad day considering it was pretty much cool, cloudy and windy.

Happy Birding!!

More photos at www.zellertexasphotos.com

Birding at Lake Nasworthy Dam

Ann and I went out again yesterday to see if the Ringed Kingfisher was still there at the Lake Nasworthy Dam   She was, but only briefly, as she left hiding to fly downstream.  We discovered that this place is a really great place for birding.  We saw a Great Blue Heron fishing.  Also a Green Heron, Least Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, and a Killdeer.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

There were probably many more species in the trees and reeds, but I got involved in photographing the Great Blue Heron and the Green Heron.  Here some shots for you to see.

To get to this area, drive south on Knickerbocker Road, go past Bentwood Country Club, turn left at the bottom of the hill onto Beatty Road.  Follow it as far as it goes, follow the curve around to the right.  You will see a dirt road

The Catch of The Day

The Catch of The Day

branch off to the left.  That will lead you down around to the base of the dam.  Drive as close to the dam as possible.  After you get out of the car, walk towards the dam.  You will see some more shallow little pools of water among the boulders. 

Green Heron

Green Heron

Have binoculars and/or spotting scopes.  Watch the reeds across the river, look in the pools, and especially look carefully at the dam itself.  You may see different species of shorebirds or others, either along the bottom of the dam, or sitting up in hidden spaces, or on the rails above.  This is one place that I am going to add to my favorite hot spots list.  Please let me now what some of your favorite hot spots are, and I’ll mention them here.

In other news, I’ve heard that there are tentative plans for building an additional bird blind at the San Angelo State Park.  That will be nice for all the birders that frequent that place.  The water is way down at the lake.   It only gained a little over 3 inches from the rains, and that will probably be gone again soon.  The eleven or so American Avocets are still out there.

Happy Birding!

More photos at www.zellertexasphotos.com.