‘Twas the day after Christmas……

And my true love said to me……  “Hey, lets go birding.”  Actually, we went birding Christmas Day, too, but didn’t spend much time.  The nice thing that we discovered was, hey, the winter birds are showing up.  Finally.  We had begun to think that they had by-passed San Angelo and the Concho Valley.

Today, we only spent two hours and twenty minutes.  But in that short period we saw 42 species.  It started immediately when we left the house, spotting a Blue Jay in a tree in our own yard, then see a Wilson’s Snipe in a wet area just a block from home.

We kept on going, heading for Middle Concho Park, then after that heading over to Spring Creek Park.  It seemed that there were birds everywhere.  That 42 total could have been higher, because there were a few that we saw yesterday that we didn’t see today.  Our personal record for birds seen in one day is 44, so we came close to breaking it.

Here are photographic highlights.

Bewick's Wren

Bewick’s Wren

The above photo of the Bewick’s wren was captured yesterday.

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe

I think this is the best photo of an Eastern Phoebe that I have ever gotten.  I was able to get pretty close.

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl

This Great Horned Owl never did open his eyes, during the fifteen minutes trying to get his photo.  I can’t blame him, it was a gorgeous day, sunny and no wind.

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

The Red-tailed Hawk was about 250 yards away across the river.  Almost out of range but I was able to get this image.  I had to crop it extensively to get this much.

Redhead - female

Redhead – female

We spotted this female Redhead duck, but didn’t see the male anywhere.  Nice looking duck, but not as pretty as the male.  But that is the case of most ducks.

Here is a complete list of the birds we saw this December 26, 2013.

  1. Wilson’s Snipe
  2. Northern Mockingbird
  3. White-winged Dove
  4. Blue Jay
  5. Inca Dove
  6. American Coot
  7. Pyrrhuloxia
  8. Great Blue Heron
  9. House Finch
  10. Golden-fronted Woodpecker
  11. Northern Shoveler
  12. Eared Grebe
  13. Double-crested Cormorant
  14. Western Meadowlark
  15. European Starling
  16. Black Vulture
  17. Great Egret
  18. Eastern Phoebe
  19. Mallard
  20. Pied-billed Grebe
  21. Bufflehead
  22. Eastern Bluebird
  23. Vermilion Flycatcher
  24. Spotted Sandpiper
  25. Great-tailed Grackle
  26. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  27. Northen Harrier
  28. Red-tailed Haek
  29. Ring-billed Gull
  30. Gadwall
  31. Killdeer
  32. Belted Kingfisher
  33. Osprey
  34. Northern Cardinal
  35. Great Horned Owl
  36. Ladder-backed Woodpecker
  37. Green-winged Teal
  38. White-crowned Sparrow
  39. Black-crested Titmouse
  40. House Sparrow
  41. Mute Swan
  42. Redhead

Damp Birding at Miles, Texas

Monday morning Ann and I traveled to Miles, Texas to see several ducks, geese and other water fowl that was reported to be on a large flooded area north of town.  It started a light drizzle on the way, and I had to put the wipers on to keep the windshield clear.  We kept on going, nevertheless, because as they say, you never know how things will turn out.

Well, by the time we got there the drizzle had nearly stopped, but the skies remained heavily overcast and slightly foggy.  With the poor visibility, it was hard to make IDs on most of the ducks in the water, as they were several hundred yards away.  However, we did make out plenty of Northern Shovelers, a half dozen or so of American Avocets, some Snow Geese and Greater White-fronted Geese.  With there being several hundred birds, I am sure that if we could have seen better we would have added many more to our list.

When we left, we decided to take a longer drive home, through some country roads that we hadn’t traveled in a long time.  We were rewarded with the Red-tailed Hawk and American Kestrel that are pictured below.  This first photo of the red-tailed was shot with my 500mm lens and 1.4 teleconverter making it a total focal length of 700mm.

Red-tailed Hawk

This next photo was using my 100-400mm lens set at the 400mm focal length.  This image is heavily cropped.

Red-tailed Hawk

By the way, I believe this Red-tailed Hawk to be a light morph.  After the hawk flew, which I completely missed the shot, we continued towards San Angelo.  We came across this American Kestrel on a power line.  I only had time to grab my 7D with the 100-400mmlens.  I also had to crop this image extensively.

American Kestrel

So even though our primary ‘target’ was pretty well enveloped in drizzle, we still had a fun trip.  We will probably return to Miles later.  In the meantime, here is the total list for our little trip.  We should double it the next time.

  1. Northern Shoveler
  2. American Avocet
  3. Blue-winged Teal
  4. Killdeer
  5. Sandpipers (unidentified)
  6. Northern Harrier
  7. Gadwall
  8. Meadowlark
  9. Red-tailed Hawk
  10. American Kestrel
  11. Snow Goose
  12. Greater White-fronted Goose

I’m baaaaaaaack!

Actually, we never went anywhere.  It’s just that I’m back to my blog again.  We received disappointing news from some friends, then literally minutes later we received news that an acqaintance had died in a car crash, along with her mother.  That made us think that, hey, life is too short to worry about little things.  So we made the best of the Thanksgiving weekend.  Ann cooked up a great meal for us.

We bought a Wii game thingee so we could get more excercise.  I almost got more than I bargained for, as we decided to try the bowling game.  That is Ann’s favorite.  Anyway, I thought I pulled a ham-string.  I know, that sounds hilarious, but the game feels so realistic, it’s amazing.  But after I got my groove back, I waxed Ann pretty good.  Ha! Ha!

We got out to San Angelo State Park for a little birding on Saturday.  The weather was really nice.  We spotted that elusive Harris’s Hawk again.  We watched him soar up and down this little valley area, always swooping near the ground.  At one point, a Northern Harrier entered the picture, trying to invade the hawk’s territory.  The Harris’s Hawk wouldn’t have any of that, and soon the Harrier left the area.

The hawk then left for another area, and I tried to follow him, around but I was always too far away to keep him in sight.  So I had to give up again, from trying to get a photograph.

On another subject, Suzanne Johnson sent me these two photos of a bird that she spotted near the water treatment ponds at Eldorado.  She has no idea what they are, and neither do I.  Does anyone have any ideas??  The wings seem to have a bluish tint to them.