A return to the Big Bend

We got back to San Angelo Friday afternoon, after a five hour drive from our Casita at Far Flung Outdoor Center in Study Butte, Texas.  We were exhausted, not from just the trip, but from the great four days that we spent in Big Bend National Park and Chisos Mountains of west Texas.  We saw a great number of birds, although not as many as we had hoped.  But considering it is winter time, we should be glad.  We added five more to our yearly list, including a lifer, a Bushtit.  We are at 108 for the year as of now, and my life list is up to 294.

But apart from the birding, I was also able to get some nice landscape photos from that beautiful area.  I am usually in the birding mode, and I tend to not notice the majestic scenes of Big Bend National Park.  This time I made it a point to enjoy that aspect much more.

Here are a few photos from our memorable journey.  Click on any of them to see pretty enlargements.

There were plenty of Red-tailed Hawks.

Red-tailed Hawk - 1/1600 sec, @ f6.3, ISO 250.

Red-tailed Hawk – 1/1600 sec, @ f6.3, ISO 250.

We saw plenty of White-crowned Sparrows, too.

White-crowned sparrow - 1/640 sec. @ f9, ISO 250.

White-crowned sparrow – 1/640 sec. @ f9, ISO 250.

We also saw numerous of these Loggerhead Shrikes.

Loggerhead Shrike - 1/1600 sec, @ f6.3, ISO 200.

Loggerhead Shrike – 1/1600 sec, @ f6.3, ISO 200.

The grandeur of Big Bend National Park is amazing.  Photo opportunities at every turn.  This photo is from a very high lookout point along the Ross Maxwell Highway.  Probable altitude around 5,000 feet.  You can look across the top of Kit Mountain and see the opening in the 1500 foot cliffs that mark Santa Elena Canyon, a distance of around 20 miles away.

Sotol Vista - 1/320 sec. @ ff10, +0.7 EV, ISO 200.

Sotol Vista – 1/320 sec. @ ff10, +0.7 EV, ISO 200.

This is a typical desert scene.  Cerro Castellan is in the distance.

Desert Landscape - 1/640 sec. @ f8, +0.7 EV, I SO 200.

Desert Landscape – 1/640 sec. @ f8, +0.7 EV, I SO 200.

Here is close-up detail of Cerro Castellan.

Cerro Castellan - 1/200 sec, @ f5.6, -0.3, ISO 200.

Cerro Castellan – 1/200 sec, @ f5.6, -0.3, ISO 200.

When eating a breakfast of burritos and coffee in the morning in the ghost town at Terlingua, this cactus wren was happily singing near by.

Cactus Wren - 1/3200 sec, @ f6.3, +0.3 EV, IS O 2000.

Cactus Wren – 1/3200 sec, @ f6.3, +0.3 EV, IS O 2000.

From the window formation in the Chisos Mountains, altitude 5,000 feet, looking west, you can see forever.

Window View - 1/3200 sec, @ f5.6, +0.3 EV, ISO 250.

Window View – 1/3200 sec, @ f5.6, +0.3 EV, ISO 250.

I hope you enjoyed these image of our little vacation.  We are hoping to back again soon.  Now it is back to birding for a couple of months.

Now that Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us, why don’t you have a look at my gifts in my FineArtAmerica store.  Not only prints of my images, but coffee mugs, bags, and other nice gifts featuring my photography.

Happy Birding!!!


Red-tails in the Sunset

Okay, so I didn’t photograph these Red-tailed Hawks in the sunset, but I thought it made a catchy title to this post.  Actually, I got them over the past few days of the Labor Day Weekend.  Birding has been a bit slow, but as Ann and I were driving through Middle Concho Park, we spotted a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk on the ground, and upon further examination of the photo, it seemed to be contemplating snatching up a worm.  Whether it did snatch it or not I do not know.

Red-tailed Hawk checking out a worm on the ground.

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk checking out a worm on the ground.

We heard or saw movement above us, and discovered a mature adult Red-tailed Hawk sitting on a tree branch.  It appeared to be unaware of us, so I was able to get this photo.

Red-tailed Hawk in tree.

Red-tailed Hawk in tree.

We thought that was a neat encounter as we seldom see two of these hawks at the same time.  Our luck stayed with us, as a couple of days later we were near the same location and we spotted the juvenile high up perched on a dead tree.  This time I got several images of him and I picked these two to show you.

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk on the move.

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk on the move.

The adult was nowhere to be seen this day, but we did hear him scream a time or two, so he was somewhere nearby.  However, there were a number of Scissor-tailed Flycatchers around.

Young Scissor-tailed Flycatcher.

Young Scissor-tailed Flycatcher.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Also Eastern Phoebes…..

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe

And a few other assorted species……

Inca Dove

Inca Dove

Cassin's Sparrow

Cassin’s Sparrow

Loggerhead Shrike

Loggerhead Shrike



Bullock's Oriole.

Bullock’s Oriole.

I am happy to share all of these images with you.  It is the reason that I go out day after day, so I can get new images to post here.  I hope that you understand that, because my copyright is shown boldly at the bottom of each image, that these photos can’t be copied without my permission.  It would be my hope, that if anyone was interested, they would purchase a print from me for a nominal fee.  A friend wanted to print directly from my blog instead of buying.  Hey, with friends like that who needs an enema. 🙂

By the way, the photos you see here are at a very low resolution.  If you were able to use them to print, they wouldn’t be very usable.  I have spent many thousands of dollars on education and equipment in my profession.  The only way I recoup any of that is by selling prints.  On that note, I have my 2017 calendars now.  They are really exquisite, high quality, and beautifully printed.  The selling price is 18.79 plus 1.21 Texas sales tax.  Free delivery in San Angelo, Texas.  Out of town mailing add 6.00.


Harris’s Hawk

Just thought that I’d mention that the Harris’s Hawk is still hanging around out at San Angelo State Park, near O. C. Fisher lake. (or should I say O. C. Fisher Puddle.)  Oh well, there still is water there, but the shore line is getting farther away.

But anyway, if you want see the Harris’s Hawk, after you enter the main South entrance, just keep on going straight until you come to the boat ramp parking lot.  The hawk seems to have taken that whole area along the shore as his hunting area.  Ann and I have watched him for over 30 minutes on two occasions the past couple of days. 

At that area, you are about 25 feet above the shore line, so watch for him swooping low, some times hovering if he sees something of interest.    He doesn’t get above the horizon much, but he’s easy to spot with that bright flash of white near his tail.  I bought a new pair of 10×50 Leupold binoculars and I am having a great time observing him.  The next time I’m out, I’m going to set up my camera with my 500mm lens on a tripod and see if I can lock on and track him.  Maybe I’ll get some shots if he gets close enough.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting Monte Jones, a.k.a. the famous Biscuits O’Brien.  He purchased some framed prints of my Red-tailed Hawks.  He gave me an autographed copy of his book, titled “Biscuits O’Brien, Texas Storyteller”.   He’s quite a character.

Happy Birding!!

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