Weekend of the Merganzers

I am finishing up the year of 2013 with a few miscellaneous photos from the past weekend.  We hadn’t seen any of the merganzer species in several months.  Of course, we wouldn’t see them during the summer anyway, but it is later than usual, what with it being  just a couple of days away from the New Year Holiday.

Yesterday we ventured out to our usual haunts at the Middle Concho and Spring Creek parks.  Actually we have been seeing several birds lately, but what surprised us yesterday was that as I was taking a long look at a bunch of Northern Shovelers, I notice that one of them looked out of place.  Upon further review thru my long lens, I realized that it was a Common Merganzer swimming right along with the Shovelers, like he belonged to the family.

Common Merganzer

Common Merganzer

This morning, Monday, I had a check-up with my doctor, and on the way home we drove along the Concho River.  There we saw a couple of Hooded Merganzers.  I got out of the car and ventured down along the river bank and managed to get one decent shot.

Hooded Merganzer

Hooded Merganzer

Although the Merganzers were the highlight of the weekend, we did see some more of our favorites, the Great Blue Heron.  I have a hard time resisting photographing them when the opportunities arise.  This one was no exception and I took two while he was just spending time on a tree log.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Enjoy the photos, and click on any of them to see enlargements.  I wish everyone a happy and prosperous 2014.

Weekend of Birding Fun

Ann and I had a fine time with our birding over the weekend.  On Saturday we went to our usual haunt at the parks around Lake Nasworthy.  On Sunday, she wanted to go again, but I thought it would be fun to go somewhere different for a change of scenery.  We decided to visit the water treatment ponds down at Eldorado, Texas.  I am glad we did, as there were numerous water birds there, some that we hadn’t seen up here around San Angelo lately.  After visiting the ponds we drove out a local county highway where there are a couple of Crested Caracaras nesting in a tree about 500 yards off of the road.  We spotted a couple of their heads above the nests, but too far away for any pictures.  Down the road a little farther we came to a large bridge over a creek bed.  There was a large pond of water where there were about 40 Canvasbacks swimming around, along with some Ruddy Ducks and Northern Shovelers.

All in all, we had a total of 52 different species spotted for both days.  We added several more to our 2013 list.  We now have 56 for the year already, of the 200 that we are shooting for.  Here are a few of those species.  Click on any of them to see enlargements.

Northern MockinbirdState bird of Texqas

Northern Mockinbird
State bird of Texas





Northern Shoveler

Northern Shoveler

Red-tailed HawkWind-blown atop utility pole.

Red-tailed Hawk
Wind-blown atop utility pole.

American Kestrel

American Kestrel

Here is a complete list of our birding weekend.

  1. Northern Shoveler
  2. White-winged Dove
  3. Killdeer
  4. Inca Dove
  5. House Sparrow
  6. Northern Mockingbird
  7. American Coot
  8. Pied-billed Grebe
  9. Red-winged Blackbird
  10. European Starling
  11. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  12. Black Vulture
  13. Double-crested Cormorant
  14. Western Meadowlark
  15. Eastern Bluebid
  16. Gadwall
  17. Vermilion Flycatcher
  18. House Finch
  19. Northern Harrier
  20. Great Blue Heron
  21. Golden-fronted Woodpecker
  22. Belted Kingfisher
  23. Black-crested Titmouse
  24. Black-bellied Whistling Duck
  25. Red-tailed Hawk
  26. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  27. Eastern Phoebe
  28. Northern Cardinal
  29. Ring-billed Gull
  30. Common Grackle
  31. Great-tailed Grackle
  32. Western Bluebird
  33. Bewick’s Wren
  34. Osprey
  35. Ladder-backed Woodpecker
  36. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  37. Green-winged Teal
  38. Mute Swan
  39. Ring-necked Duck
  40. Greater Roadrunner
  41. American Kestrel
  42. Ruddy Duck
  43. American Wigeon
  44. Lesser Scaup
  45. Bufflehead
  46. Eared Grebe
  47. Crested Caracara
  48. Canvasback
  49. American Goldfinch
  50. Savannah Sparrow
  51. Common Raven
  52. Northern Pintail

San Angelo State Park – Update

 I have been under the weather for a few days, but I am getting better.  However, my time in the field has been lacking, so I haven’t done much photography.  So today, I thought I would publish this rerun/update of this post from April of 2010.  I have updated it somewhat, and added a few more photos for your enjoyment.

Horned Toad

Since I do a large percent of my birding and photography at San Angelo State Park, I feel compelled to tell a little bit about it.  I imagine a large percentage of you readers have never heard of it, let alone visit it.


It was created in 1952 when O. C. Fisher Dam and Reservoir were completed for flood control.  In 1995 it was officially opened as San Angelo State Park.  It is comprised of 7,677 acres, mostly undeveloped land.  But the developed part is a gem. 

IMG_4660_blog_sasp Picnic site


There you can find wildlife of all types, white-tailed deer,  rattlesnake, javelina, bobcat, porcupine, jackrabbits, prairie dogs, and many more than I have space to list.  There is a herd of bison, and part of the Official Texas State Longhorn Herd  resides there. 


Did I mention that there many types of birds in the park.  There are 356 species of birds in the Concho Valley and you can see most of them in the park at various times of the year.

Eastern Bluebird

Also available are many campsites, some dry camps, other full-featured hook-ups.  Picnic tables abound for the day-trippers.  Air-conditioned cabins are for rent for visitors who don’t happen to own an RV or other camping gear.  And lest I forget, there are hiking trails galore.

Air-conditioned Cabin Air-conditioned Cabin


Kurt Kemp and his staff do a wonderful and efficient job of maintaining the numerous areas of the park.  At the South Entrance gate-house you can find maps, souvenirs, and get park information.


Plans for the future include additional bird-blinds for the birding enthusiast and bird photographers.  There is an ongoing project to eradicate the mesquite and salt-cedar to aid in water runoff for the Concho River and O. C. Fisher Lake.  The amphitheater, aptly named “Butterfield Stage”, has been completed and is now serving various functions.


So all in all, I would say that the future of San Angelo State Park looks rosy indeed.  Now if only we could get a little more rain on the North Concho River water-shed, the level of the lake would rise.  Then we could make use of the many boat ramps that are currently hundreds of yards from the shoreline.  At that time, boating can truly be added to the already long list of activities for park visitors.

Great Blue Heron and Roseate Spoonbill

Happy Birding!!

Concho River – Black-crowned Night Herons

The beautiful Conch River winds itself through downtown San Angelo, Texas.  I have not been down there in quite awhile, due to Ann’s and my responsibiities to the San Angelo State Park.  It seems activities there have taken over our lives to a certain extent.  Anyway, Friday evening an individual called me saying that he had seen some baby Black-crowned Night Herons perhaps nesting along the shore of the Concho River.

Black-crowned Night Heron

Ann and I decided to investigate, so we drove downtown the following morning to cruise along the river and observe.  We stopped near the location that the man had described over the telephone.  I immediately spotted an adult Black-crowned Night Heron up in a tree above the river.  About a hundred yards away there were two Great Blue Herons in another tree.  In still another tree were four Doubled-crested Cormorants

Great Blue Heron

I was surprised that there was so much bird activity along that river.  We didn’t see the young black-crowns unti were deciding to go home, then we spotted one juvenile sitting on a little dam at a low-water crossing.  Click on any of the images to see enlargements.  Below is a listing of the 12 birds that we saw along the river that morning.  We probably would have gotten many more if we could have stayed longer.

Black-crown Night Heron - juvenile

Happy Birding!!

Number of species:     12

Northern Shoveler     18
Ring-necked Duck     12
Pied-billed Grebe     4
Double-crested Cormorant     12
Great Blue Heron     4
Black-crowned Night-Heron     2
Common Ground-Dove     4
Blue Jay     4
Northern Mockingbird     4
Northern Cardinal     6
Common Grackle     6
Great-tailed Grackle     12

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!!