And then the rains came……..


Rain is nice.  Especially here in San Angelo, where it seems we are in a perpetual drought, except some years are worse than others.  This past year hasn’t been as bad as some previous.  So having said that, we have had drizzly showers on and off the past few days.  We have been limited to getting out to just a few hours between rains.

I have only a couple of images to show for the effort.

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl

The two images above were captured at Spring Creek Park, here in San Angelo.

In between our treks, I spent time going through some of my old images and I came across a few older ones that you might enjoy.  This are just random shots from early 2014.

Ash-throated Flycatcher

Ash-throated Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher - immature male

Vermilion Flycatcher – immature male

Vermilion Flycatcher - adult male

Vermilion Flycatcher – adult male

Western Scrub-jay

Western Scrub-jay

White-eyed Vireo

White-eyed Vireo

The clouds are starting to part today, so hopefully I will be able to get some new images in the coming week.  Click any photo to see enlargement.

Happy birding!!

Western Scrub-Jays at Pedernales Falls State Park


As I mentioned in my last post, Ann and I went to Wimberley, Texas for a visit with some friends.  Initially we had planned on going to the Hornsby Bend Bird Observatory in Austin, and also visiting the Mitchell Lake Audubon Center in nearby San Antonio.  As it turned out, Hornsby Bend was closed because of a fire a few days ago, and Mitchell Lake turned out to be open only on weekends.

So what to do if you are served lemons, well as they say, you make lemonade.  We were only a few miles from the Pedernales Falls State Park.  We decided to check out the bird blinds there that I heard about from a friend.  It turned out to be two blinds, each one facing the opposite direction.  For photography, that was excellent, giving that the light was so that you could have your choice of sun direction.

We made two trips there, on consecutive days.  I came home with 860 images of several different species.  Out of those, I hope to cull out maybe a dozen or so keepers.  For this post, I have picked out a few images of  a Western Scrub-jay, (Aphelocoma.californica).

Western Scrub-jay

Western Scrub-jay

Western Scrub-jay

Western Scrub-jay

Western Scrub-jay

Western Scrub-jay

I hope you enjoyed the photos, as much as I enjoyed our little trip to get them.  Incidentally, if you want to visit a picturesque little village in the hill country of Central Texas, this is the place to go.  For my own taste, I still love our wide open spaces at home in San Angelo, Texas.  But Wimberley has much to offer, great scenery, certainly more trees than I am used to, great little restaurants, and is closed to the attractions of Austin and San Antonio.

Click on any image to see an enlargement.

How about those Scrub Jays


First, I want to say thanks to the many of new subscribers that I have gotten recently.  I guess a lot of people are interested in what I have to say and like my photographs.  I have been writing this blog for over two years now.  A dear friend and my wife, both got me into this.  To date, I have had over 38,000 hits and I have readers in 116 countries and counting. 

One of my latest readers and a subscriber, is also another bird photographer.  He is John English, (website).     He is also listed at the right under my Favorite Websites.  Check him out.  If you like my bird images, you will certainly like his.   John, who lives in Abilene, Texas, have a lot in common, except he has a (sob) bigger lens.  🙂

Today, I decided to show you some old images of  the Western Scrub Jay.  They are not too recent, but I realized that I had never mentioned them in my blog.  For some reason or other, they are not in San Angelo, at least, not in any great numbers.  I photographed these at the X-Bar Ranch, southwest of Eldorado, and at the Cedar Gap Farms, just south of Abilene, Texas.

Western Scrub-Jay

Western Scrub-Jay

Western Scrub-Jay

 I hope you like the photos.  Click on any of them to see an enlargement.

More about X-Bar Ranch Nature Retreat


Sunrise at X-Bar Ranch Nature Retreat

Click here for X-Bar Ranch Nature Retreat information.  Ann and I made a visit last week and spent a few days birding and photographing.   I had told you about it briefly in a post last week.  Here are some photos that I promised you. 
 
We spent most of our time around the lodge area, about 50 feet from the cabin that we stayed in.  It was amazing how many bird species that we saw in that tiny area.  We could have driven around the ranch on our own, but we will do that on another visit, as we were afraid of missing a new bird.
 
We were the only guests there, so we had the entire place to our own.  Stan Meador, the general manager, welcomed us and saw to our needs, then basically just left us alone.  Stan returned on Tuesday morning, and took us in his pickup truck for a tour of the ranch.
 
Besides the birding opportunities, there is hunting, hiking, biking, and camping.  As a matter of fact, Eddie Salter, a national champion turkey hunter and guide from Hunter’s Specialties had just finished filming a hunt to be shown in January 2012 on the Outdoor Channel.
 
At the bottom of this post I have listed the total species that we saw there.  Click on any photograph to see an enlargement.
 

Painted Bunting

Golden-fronted Woodpecker
Northern Mockingbird
Chipping Sparrow
Western Scrub Jay
House Finch in flight
Rufous-crowned Sparrow
Canyon Towhee
Northern Bobwhite
 
 
Happy Birding!!
 
Location:     X-Bar Ranch
Observation date:     4/18/11
Notes:     These are our observations at the Lodge April 18, 19, & 20th.<br>from
the north & south ends of the porch!
Number of species:     37
 
Northern Bobwhite     8
Wild Turkey     4
Turkey Vulture     6
American Kestrel     1
Eurasian Collared-Dove     2
White-winged Dove     6
Mourning Dove     10
Black-chinned Hummingbird     4
Golden-fronted Woodpecker     1
Eastern Phoebe     1
Eastern Kingbird     1
Western Scrub-Jay     7
Barn Swallow     2
Black-crested Titmouse     4
Bewick’s Wren     2
Hermit Thrush     2
Northern Mockingbird     6
Orange-crowned Warbler     2
Nashville Warbler     1
Yellow Warbler     2
Yellow-rumped Warbler     3
Spotted/Eastern Towhee     5
Rufous-crowned Sparrow     2
Canyon Towhee     2
Chipping Sparrow     6
Lark Sparrow     2
Savannah Sparrow     2
White-crowned Sparrow     2
Summer Tanager     3
Northern Cardinal     6
Pyrrhuloxia     1
Blue Grosbeak     1
Painted Bunting     4
Great-tailed Grackle     2
Brown-headed Cowbird     1
Scott’s Oriole     2
House Finch     10
House Sparrow     2