Birding Twin Buttes Reservoir

Much has been said in my post about our birding at Spring Creek and Middle Concho Parks.  Most of my recent photos have been taken at one or both of these areas.  Such as the Great Blue Heron and Great Egret, both of which I took yesterday.

Great Egret - Spring Creek Park, San Angelo, Texas

Great Egret – Spring Creek Park, San Angelo, Texas

Great Blue Heron - Middle Concho Park

Great Blue Heron – Middle Concho Park, San Angelo, Texas

But another area that we have pretty much neglected to bird, is an area at Twin Buttes Reservoir.  This lake, with one of the longest earthern dams in the country, was built in the early ’60s as a flood control project.  As with most of the local lakes around here, it has almost dried up during our drought.  However, with a thunderstorm a couple of days ago, there are a few puddles of standing water.  Such is what we found when we decided to drive out there after spending time at the above mentioned parks.

It was hot by the time we got there, but this one spot among a dozen mesquite trees felt like a little oasis.  There was a low area about 50 feet long by about 15 feet wide filled with muddy water that hadn’t soaked into the ground yet.  There were numerous small birds flitting between the trees and the water.

Bullock's Oriole on mesquite branch.

Bullock’s Oriole on mesquite branch.

Western Kingbird on mesquite branch.

Western Kingbird on mesquite branch.

Blue Grosbeak - female - thinking about taking a bath.

Blue Grosbeak – female – thinking about taking a bath.

Greater Roadrunner - cooling off

Greater Roadrunner – cooling off

Besides the above birds, we also saw a Painted Bunting take a quick splash in the water, but was gone before I could get the camera to my eye.  We also spotted an Orchard Oriole on a nearby high wire.

This is the kind of birding that I really enjoy.  To find a nice birdy spot like this, sit and watch from our blind, a.k.a. our car.  The fun is not knowing what you are going to see.  We will be going back very soon, before the water dries up.

Click an any image to see an enlargement.

Birding at Lake Nasworthy

Our two favorite spots at Lake Nasworthy to bird and to photograph birds, are at two of the parks there, Spring Creek and Middle Concho.  This past Sunday morning Ann and I decided to take in the nice weather and visit both places.  It was enroute home from those places that we encountered the Black Vultures that I featured in yesterday’s post.

We entered Spring Creek Park first, and we didn’t see many birds early on.  However, we saw about seventy Wild Turkeys further down the road.  They were drinking from the creek, then heading back into the nearby woods.  We didn’t see any of the herons or water birds that we usually come upon, but because of the beautiful weather, there were numerous fisherman in their boats, trawling along the water.  That probably spooked the wildlife somewhat.  But that is okay, as the park is for everybody.

But we persisted, continued driving slowly through both parks.  We finally came upon an area in Middle Concho Park, where amongst the trees there was more bird activity.  I stopped the car, got my camera out and set up a tripod in a small clearing where I would have a good view of nearby trees.  I was using my Canon EOS 7D with 500mm lens with a 1.4 tele-converter giving me a working focal length of 700mm.

The trees were still pretty dense, so I could hear many birds, and see them flying between the trees, but I wasn’t very lucky at getting many photo ops.  I did finally get these two “keepers”.

Golden-fronted Woodpecker with pecan

This female Golden-fronted Woodpecker was making herself heard, then she flew up onto this dead limb, with a pecan in her mouth. Exposure 1/2500 sec. @f8 with ISO 400 and aperture priority.

Eastern Bluebird

Swinging my camera around on my Wimberley gimbal tripod head about 45 degrees, there was a flurry of activity and I spotted about a half dozen Eastern Bluebirds.  They were in a shaded area, and one of them settled on a visible branch.  Exposure was 1/1000 sec. @f8 plus 1/3 EV – ISO 400.  If I would have had the time, I probably would have opened up the lens a bit more, but with a little help in post processing I managed to get it lightened enough.

From the birding aspect, during the 2 – 3 hours we spent there we managed to see these 24 species:

So, all in all, we had a fun morning.  The weather was gorgeous, and it was wonderful just to get out and enjoy nature.  Click on either image to see an enlargement.