Birding San Angelo News and Photos


I haven’t posted to my blog for a couple of days.  It just got so bone-chilling cold today, that I decided to stay in.  So I haven’t decided on anything special to write about.  I did get my life list up to 220.  I added an American Pippit last week, thanks to Sue Oliver.  We ran into her at O. C. Fisher Lake and she pointed one out.  I haven’t gotten close enough to get a decent photo yet, but now that I know what they look like and where they are, I should be able to come up with a nice image soon.

Blue Grosbeak

The monthly Adult Birding Adventure is coming up this weekend.  I hope to see some more of you out there.  The number of birders that are participating is increasing, but always room for more.  The weather forecast looks good, too.

Bald Eagles - Llano, Texas

The Phainopepla that hung around for about a month has left the building.  He certainly kept to the same area while he was here.  Almost always in the same tree, but alternated with a couple of nearby ones.  He will be missed.

The O. C. Fisher Lake level is drastically decreasing, and therefore the shorebirds are getting harder to see.  But there are plenty to see if you have binoculars or a spotting scope.  A huge number of American White Pelicans have left, but there was still around two dozen yesterday.  We have been seeing at least one Herring Gull

White Ibis

Since plans for a second bird-blind has been put on the back burner, Ann and I have expanded the feeding area at the present one.  On the east side, we have added a couple more feeders so the viewing experience has been enhanced.

Nest week on the 15th, Ann and I, along with Jodie Wolslager are heading to New Mexico to spend a couple of days.  We plan on visiting the Boxque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.  I hope to bring back some new photographs, hopefully of some Snow Geese, Sandhill Cranes, and I hope to get lucky and see a Bald Eagle.

Ringed Kingfisher

By the way, these photos have nothing to do with today’s subject.  But I can’t resist not putting photos with my posts. 🙂  Enjoy them, and click on either image to see an enlargement.

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

No Time to Make Dessert


You ever have one of those days.  So much to do, so little time.  It all started this morning when it took me a little extra time to do the daily crossword.  My original plan was to first go to breakfast at Roxies’.  Yes, that is the name of the diner where we eat our first meal of the day.  In your mind, picture a Roxie, picture a little diner, you will then say that sure looks like a Roxies’ Diner.  🙂

Phoebe (Says or Eastern)

Then after breakfast,  the important stuff;

 1. do the crossword, (a must),

2. go feed the birds at the park, 

3.  fill the van’s gas tank,

4. wash the van,

5. take a new photo of the Santa Elena Canyon over to the Frame-up Gallery to get it framed,

6. check on my exhibit at Crocket National Bank to see if I need to leave some more cards,

7. come home then and try to do a post for my blog.

Well, you know about the best laid plans…….   I just finished number 2.   It is 3:00 PM and I am just getting started on number 7.  I had to skip numbers 3 throught 6.  I didn’t fill the gas tank; I think I can make it to Roxies’ (remember her?) tomorrow morning.  I post-poned washing the van, ‘cuz it gonna rain tonight.   I can wait about going to the Frame-up Gallery.  Ditto to see about my exhibit at the bank.

The reason that it took so long to feed the birds (#2) was it turned out to be a gorgeous sunny day, a perfect day for birding.  So after feeding the birds that’s what we did.  We saw 29 different species.  That includes the pictured  Phoebe.  Can anyone say definitely which it is?  An Eastern Phoebe or a Says Phoebe.  Ann’s list that she sends to E-bird, is below for your information.

So now it is almost 4:00PM and almost finished with this post.  I am pretty warn out and I think it is almost time for a margarita.  It’s a good thing that I don’t cook, because there definitely would  be no time to make dessert. 🙂

Location:     San Angelo State Park
Observation date:     1/24/11
Number of species:     29

Northern Shoveler     30
Northern Bobwhite     8
American White Pelican     30
Great Blue Heron     5
Black Vulture     70
Northern Harrier     1
Red-tailed Hawk     1
American Coot     3
Greater Yellowlegs     2
Least Sandpiper     24
Ring-billed Gull     12
White-winged Dove     6
Mourning Dove     4
Greater Roadrunner     1
Eastern Phoebe     1
Say’s Phoebe     1
Black-crested Titmouse     2
Northern Mockingbird     12
Curve-billed Thrasher     1
Phainopepla     1
Spotted Towhee     1
Chipping Sparrow     3
White-crowned Sparrow     18
Northern Cardinal     6
Pyrrhuloxia     8
Red-winged Blackbird     120
Western Meadowlark     6
House Finch     12
House Sparrow     6

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)

Sharp-shinned Hawk


Yestereday, despite the cold wind, Ann and I decided to venture out to the park again.  The sun was shining nicely, so it made up for the cool temps.  We stopped at the bird blind, but saw nothing that we haven’t seen the past few days.  But after deciding to take a short drive around the park, I spotted this Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus), sitting among the mesquites.  At least I think it is a Sharp-shinned.  They are easily confusedd with a Cooper’s Hawk.  But this one has the more rounder head of the Sharpie.  If anyone has a different opinion I would appreciate hearing.  I think it is one of my best images of this particular hawk.  You can click on it and see an enlargement.

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Location:     San Angelo State Park
Observation date:     1/21/11
Number of species:     19

American White Pelican     30
Great Blue Heron     3
Black Vulture     30
Sharp-shinned Hawk     1
Red-tailed Hawk     1
American Kestrel     1
Greater Yellowlegs     20
Least Sandpiper     30
Ring-billed Gull     10
Mourning Dove     2
Black-crested Titmouse     1
Northern Mockingbird     20
Spotted Towhee     1
White-crowned Sparrow     24
Northern Cardinal     4
Pyrrhuloxia     4
Red-winged Blackbird     20
Western Meadowlark     2
House Finch     12

MLK day at San Angelo State Park


In yesterday’s post I said that I hoped that the fog would lift.  Well, lift it did, a couple of hours later.  It turned out to be a wonderful day, with the temps somewhere in the mid-seventies, with plenty of sunshine.  Ann and I decided to spend a few hours at San Angelo State Park.  Where else would we be??  🙂  It is so nice to be retired, and have such a great park only three miles away.

We just had a good time driving around, not only watching birds, but just enjoying watching other people enjoy it, too.  There were hikers, bikers, walkers, and we came across this fisherman that was just bringing his catch in from the shore.  A huge catch that it was.  Look at all the big Yellow Catfish, probably near 100 lbs worth, judging from the effort that it took the young man to lift them.  He even had to use a wheelbarrow to carry them in from the lake.  There is some fine eatin’ somewhere in town this evening. 🙂

Catch of the Day

We had a great day of birding, also.  Check out the list at the end of this post.  In addition to the usual suspects, we were joined by a Rock Wren, A Golden-fronted Woodpecker, and six Northern Bobwhites.  And a nice surprise.  We spotted the Phainopepla again that has been hanging around.  After chasing him through the mesquites, I came up with this photograph.  I think it is quite an improvement over my original image that I captured a few days ago.

Phainopepla

Click on either photo to see an enlargement.  Here is the list of birds that we saw on Monday, January 17, 2011

Number of species:     26

Northern Shoveler     6
Northern Bobwhite     6
American White Pelican     20
Great Blue Heron     2
American Coot     6
Killdeer     2
Greater Yellowlegs     4
Least Sandpiper     20
Long-billed Dowitcher     6
Ring-billed Gull     20
Herring Gull     2
White-winged Dove     4
Mourning Dove     2
Golden-fronted Woodpecker     1
Tufted Titmouse     0
Black-crested Titmouse     2
Rock Wren     1
Northern Mockingbird     10
Curve-billed Thrasher     2
Phainopepla     1
White-crowned Sparrow     12
Northern Cardinal     6
Pyrrhuloxia     5
Red-winged Blackbird     12
House Finch     6
House Sparrow     4

Happy birding!!

Foggy Monday Birds and a Beast


Okay, okay, I know I haven’t posted in a few days.  I’ve been waiting for a sunshine-filled happy day.  As I am writing this, it may not happen for awhile.  This morning it is very, very foggy.  However, I am hoping for the sun to break through later today.  So I will fill in with the latest birding results from yesterday, posted at the end of this post, and a couple of pictures.

Nine-banded Armadillo

What is a post without some pictures, right?  Yesterday, after doing a little birding, we were on our way out of San Angelo State Park, when we observed a couple of Armadillos rooting around, looking for something edible.  The above image  pictures one of them.  Also, a little earlier, while at the bird blind, I photographed this Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus).  I believe that it is a 1st year male. Click on either photo to see an enlargement. 

Red-winged Blackbird

The following is a list of birds that we saw and reported yesterday.

Location:     San Angelo State Park
Observation date:     1/16/11
Number of species:     24

Northern Shoveler     6
American White Pelican     20
Great Blue Heron     2
Red-tailed Hawk     1
American Kestrel     2
American Coot     12
Killdeer     2
Greater Yellowlegs     2
Least Sandpiper     6
Ring-billed Gull     50
White-winged Dove     6
Greater Roadrunner     1
Ladder-backed Woodpecker     1
Northern Mockingbird     10
Curve-billed Thrasher     1
Spotted Towhee     1
Canyon Towhee     1
White-crowned Sparrow     12
Northern Cardinal     4
Pyrrhuloxia     5
Red-winged Blackbird     10
Western Meadowlark     1
House Finch     6
House Sparrow     8

Happy Birding!!

Spotted Towhee


Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatis).  This specie is very closely related to the Eastern Towhee, according to my Sibley’s guide.  Until recently they were considered one single species.  They’re both found in dense brush, where they scratch noisily through dead leaves, but are difficult to see.  Stocky, long-tailed, dark head and rufous flanks.  Sometimes it will appear to have a crest.  I took the two following photos at Cedar Gap Farm, near Abilene, Texas.

Spotted Towhee

Spotted Towhee

I hope you enjoy the photos.  Click on either one to see an enlargement.  Here are the listings for the birds that were seen at our monthly birding tour this morning at San Angelo State Park, San Angelo, Texas.

Saturday, January 8, 2011   Total 27 species

Northern Shoveler     10
Green-winged Teal     10
American White Pelican     12
Great Blue Heron     3
Black Vulture     1
Northern Harrier     1
Red-tailed Hawk     2
Killdeer     2
Least Sandpiper     12
Long-billed Dowitcher     6
Ring-billed Gull     200
Herring Gull     1
White-winged Dove     4
Mourning Dove     2
Golden-fronted Woodpecker     2
Black-crested Titmouse     3
Verdin     1
Bewick’s Wren     2
Northern Mockingbird     10
Curve-billed Thrasher     2
White-crowned Sparrow     12
Pyrrhuloxia     4
Red-winged Blackbird     50
Western Meadowlark     6
Brown-headed Cowbird     3
House Finch     8
House Sparrow     6

Happy Birding!!

American White Pelican


Since we have been seeing several American White Pelicans Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) at O. C. Fisher Lake at San Angelo State Park, I thought I would make that the featured bird today.

It is an immense bird, 62 inches length, a wingspan of 108 inches or nine feet, and weighs in at over 16 pounds.  It is white with black flight feathers that can be seen in flight, and has a pinkish or yellow-orange bill.  This photograph was taken at O. C. Fisher Lake in San Angelo, Texas.  It was while I was taking this picture, that Ann was almost run over by a Bobcat.  She was standing behind me, and the Lynx came charging past, in pursuit of a jackrabbit.

American White Pelican

Today when we visited the park, there were about 75 pelicans there.  Some new arrivals were a couple of Chipping Sparrows that we hadn’t seen yet at the bird-blind. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011   Total species 24

Northern Shoveler     6
American White Pelican     75
Great Blue Heron     3
Cooper’s Hawk     1
Killdeer     2
Greater Yellowlegs     8
Least Sandpiper     12
Ring-billed Gull     200
White-winged Dove     6
Mourning Dove     2
Black-crested Titmouse     2
Bewick’s Wren     1
Northern Mockingbird     6
Curve-billed Thrasher     1
Spotted Towhee     1
Canyon Towhee     1
Chipping Sparrow     2
White-crowned Sparrow     12
Northern Cardinal     6
Pyrrhuloxia     6
Red-winged Blackbird     30
Western Meadowlark     4
House Finch     24
House Sparrow     6

Happy Birding!!