August birding in Uvalde


Ann and I decided to take off for a couple of days and visit friends down in Uvalde.  We left Wednesday morning for the three hour drive.  We arrived at our friends, Bob and Marianne Shackleford, about noon, just in time for lunch.  Bob has fixed a water feature in his yard and has had many birds arriving to partake of the wet stuff and a free meal of birdseed.

Although, Bob complained that the birding was ‘slow’, Ann and I were very pleased that we were able to see some birds that we don’t usually see in San Angelo, and add six more to our 2016 list: Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Crested Caracara, Harris’s Hawk, Green Jay, Great Kiskadee, and a Roseate-Spoonbill.

About that Roseate Spoonbill, it is a very rare bird to show up in Uvalde.  I was fortunate to spot it in a pond about 75 yards off the highway.  We all had a good look at.  It was among some sparse shrubs of some type along the water.  I couldn’t get a decent photo from where we were parked, so I got out of the car and tried to quietly make my way closer.  But I was impeded by deep weeds that hid about 8 inches of water.  I accidently spooked a Great Blue Heron that was nearby, and it in turn, spooked the spoonbill.  So, unfortunately, no photograph.

I also missed a photo of the Great Kiskadee.  I was sitting in the Shackleford’s front yard.  As it came in, I was in the process of putting a new battery in my camera, and I didn’t get it turned back on in time.  The kiskadee was there for only a brief few seconds.

Here are some photos.  There are more, but I haven’t had time to get them all edited.  Click on any of these to see some nice enlargements.

Hariss's Hawk

Harris’s Hawk

Crested Caracaras

Crested Caracaras

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Green Jay

Green Jay

Here is a photograph of a Great Kiskadee from a previous trip to Uvalde.  Not a great photo, as it was taken from a greater distance, but I think you will like it.

Great Kiskadee

Great Kiskadee

Also after digging through my archives, I found this photo of a Roseate Spoonbill.  It and two others spent about three days here in San Angelo back in 2010.  I photographed it at O. C. Fisher Reservoir.

Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill

Before I forget, I wish to thank Bob and Marianne Shackleford for their generous hospitality.  We stayed at a nearby Hampton Inn, but the Shackleford’s insisted we dine with them for several meals.  As we say here, they fixed us up with some very nice vittles.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and as always, prints are available of all of the photos in this post or a previous post.  A further note, my 2017 calendars are in.  They will go fast, so contact me if you are interested.

Happy Birding!!

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Sandpipers and Sunflowers


This morning I noticed that the Roseate Spoonbills were too far out in the lake to try to get any photos.  I could barely make them out even with my binoculars.  I and Ann just strolled along the shore for awhile.  We saw several shorebirds including some Least Sandpipers.  They are very small birds and hard to photograph, when they move so much when feeding.  Here is the result of one image.

Least Sandpiper

 

On the way back towards the car, we came across a stand of Sunflowers.  I started to just bypass them, but on a whim I tried for some photographs.  I guess I was still thinking of the discussion on “photographyfree4all”‘s blog, about macro and flower photography.  I took this shot with my Canon EOS 7D, 100-400mm f4 zoom lens,  ISO 3200, 1/250 @ f14,  minus 1/3 EV .  I was about 8 feet away, and my lens was set at 260mm.  The sky was overcast.  By the way, I don’t claim this to be a macro shot. 🙂

Sunflower

I hope you enjoy the photos.  See more by clicking my Photo Album pages at the top of this page.  Click on any image for an enlargement.

Persistency equals great photos!


You probably remember that for the past ten days, I have been stalking a couple of Roseate Spoonbills that arrived here recently from the gulf coast.  They have been hanging around O. C. Fisher lake, but usually so far out that it was difficult to come up with great images.

But this morning, we found a spot where I could get the best photo yet.  No more crawling, mucking thru mud, mesquite brush and shoulder high weeds, trying to avoid critters like rattle snakes and bobcats.  This place required just a 500 yard hike along the shoreline.  Ann carried my tripod and I lugged the big 500mm with a 1.4 tele-converter.

The Roseate Spoonbills were about 100 yards off shore on a little spit of dirt and gravel about 30 feet wide.  Keeping company with them was a magnificent Great Blue Heron.  With my lens a working 700mm I was practically able to fill the frame.  For all three photos I had the ISO at 400, F16, at 1,250th of a second, minus 1/3 EV.

I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed taking the shots.  Click on either image for an enlargement.

Roseate Spoonbills and Great Blue Heron

 

Roseate Spoonbills and Great Blue Heron

Roseate Spoonbill and Great Blue Heron