Northern Cardinal and more…….


Birding the past week has been delightful.  Our species daily counts are getting up there, one time reaching 40.  But most importantly, I was able to get some nice photographs.  Most of the photos were taken in the local parks around Lake Nasworthy.  San Angelo State Park has been closed as they are burning off nearly 25% of the park to rid it of unwanted brush and mesquite.  In the long run, that should help the flora and fauna rebound, beneficial to all.

Let’s start with this Northern Cardinal. always a favorite to photograph.

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

Some Western Bluebirds arrived to add to the beauty of the avian population.

Western Bluebird

Western Bluebird

The Yellow-rumped Warblers are here in large numbers now.

Yellow-rumped Warbler - Myrtle variety

Yellow-rumped Warbler – Myrtle variety

It seems that I have seen an increase in Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, compared to prior years.  Of course, it may be just me, getting more familiar with each specie as the years go by. 🙂

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

As we were driving along the fence line at Spring Creek park we were surprised to come upon this Blue-gray Gnatcatcher……

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

…….and this cute Ruby-crowned Kinglet.  I love the challenge of photographing these tiny birds.  They are quick, flighty never sitting still for more than a fraction of a second.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

A few rare Pine Warblers are still around.  Maybe they have found a home here for the winter.

Pine Warbler

Pine Warbler

Eastern Phoebes are always around, entertaining us with it’s quick flights from tree to tree, then resting for a few seconds before moving on.

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe

Another Yellow-rumped Warbler,this one a beautiful Audubon variety.

Yellow-rumped Warbler - Audubon variety

Yellow-rumped Warbler – Audubon variety

One of my favorite wading birds is the Great Blue Heron.  They are plentiful here, being seen at most of the lakes and waterways.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Wild Turkeys abound here in the Concho Valley.  I usually ignore them because they are so common.  But as we passed the narrow little inlet several took off to fly to the other side.  This group numbered about 30 and they were taking off about one at a time.  I decided to stop and try to catch a photo of one of them in flight.  I was lucky.  I say that because of all 30 or more, I was able to catch only one good image.  I was rattling off hi-speed shots as each bird blew.  Here is the best of the bunch.

Wild Turkey - hen in flight

Wild Turkey – hen in flight

So that’s it for today.  I hope to get more for another post before Christmas.  Click any image to see an enlargement.

Happy birding!!

Pine Warbler, a lifer…….


For you who may be unfamiliar to the birding vernacular, a lifer is a bird that an individual sees for the very first time, then adds it to his or her’s ‘life list’.  Currently, my life list is at 285. That is the total that I have compiled since I got into birding about six years ago.  Since there are nearly 800 species in the state of Texas alone, it certainly is nothing to brag about.  I would like, though, to eventually get to 300.  At my age, that is a manageable goal.  So, in that vein, I can tell you that I got my 285th yesterday.

Having had a successful little tour of Spring Creek Park, seeing several species and getting some photos, we ventured over to Middle Concho Park to see what might be there.  As we drove through, we saw an area where many small birds were darting through the Live Oak and Mesquite trees. Titmice, Vermilion Flycatchers, and American Goldfinches.  All of a sudden a yellowish bird caught my eye.  I knew instantly that it was not a goldfinch that I was looking at.  Then I remembered that a couple of other birders had mentioned that a Pine Warbler was running with a bunch of goldfinches.  After getting several shots off with my Canon 7D Mk II and Tamron 150-600mm lens, I looked at the images on the back of the camera and compared them to my Stokes Guide.  Lo and behold, a Pine Warbler.

A Pine Warbler is very, very rare to the Concho Valley and Tom Green County, so this was an exciting find.  This image is one of about seventy-five that I tried to get.  The bird is quick and fast, and I didn’t get very many usable photos.

Pine Warbler

Pine Warbler

After getting that photo, I got a shot of this very cooperative Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

As I mentioned above, previously we had been to Spring Creek Park.  Here are a few photographs from there.

This White-breasted Nuthatch is the first that I have seen in this park in a couple of years, although I know they are present.  Just not always visible.

White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch

In the same area this Bewick’s Wren was flitting among the brush……..

Bewick's Wren

Bewick’s Wren

……..along with this beautiful Eastern Phoebe.

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe

So, all in all, a pretty fun day, when I can come away with a few acceptable images to post here.

On another note, this is the time of the year when there are various Christmas Bird Counts going on.  This link to the Lost Pines was sent to my by Garth Beyer.  Check it out, it may be something you may be interested in.  It sounds like fun.  http://www.visitlostpines.com/hyatt-lost-pines/activities/christmas-bird-count.aspx.  I probably won’t participate.  I am at that age that I would rather stay by the fire with liquid refreshment on those upcoming cooler days.

 

 

The female Northern Cardinal


First an update:  It has been confirmed that the mystery bird in yesterday’s post was a winter Myrtle Yellow-rumped Warbler.  At first, I considered a Pine Warbler, but after contacting my friend Eric Carpenter in Austin, Texas, he indeed confirmed the yellow-rumped.

That was so much fun getting different opinions on the ID of that bird, I am thinking of maybe having a weekly contest.  Let me think about that. 🙂

So now, to answer Katie (her blog), who commented to my Northern Cardinal post, by asking if I had photos of a female.  Well, certainly, dear Katie, anything to satisfy my readers.  Here are three of my best.

female Northern Cardinal

Image number 1, photographed July 7, 2007.  Canon EOS 20D with Canon 100-400mm lens.  1/250 sec. @ f7.1, ISO 400.  Partial metering and aperture priority.

female Northern Cardinal

Image number 2, photographed June 27, 2009, Canon EOS 40D with 500mm lens and 1.4 tele-converter.  1/200 sec. @ f7.1, ISO 800, minus 1/3 EV.  Partial metering with aperture priority.

female Northern Cardinal

Image number 3, photographed April 29, 2008, Canon EOS 40D with Canon 500mm lens and 1.4 tele-converter.  1/200 sec. @ f7.1, ISO 800. Center-weighted metering and aperture priority.

I hope Katie and the rest of you enjoyed these photos.  Anytime that you wish to request certain species photos, if I can accomodate, I certainly will, if I have some presentable photos.

Click on any of the photos to see an enlargement.