San Angelo State Park – March Birding Tour

On Saturday March 17, San Angelo State Park had their new monthly birding

Northern Cardinal

tour.  I used to lead it until several months ago, when I gave up the job so someone else could take over.  It took awhile to find someone to fulfill the position, so finally one of the park personnel, Ranger Jade, decided that he would give it a try.  We met at 8:30 at the gatehouse and headed for the blind.  Ranger Jade asked me to assist him as this was all new to him.

Field Sparrow




It went quite well.  There were nine of us this time, but I think when the word gets out, there will be larger turn-outs.  This time they made the birding tour part of a spring break celebration of sorts.  They also had a nature tour, and a bison tour going on also.  Because of this the birding was somewhat abbreviated.  Most of the time was spent at the blind and with a quick drive by the lake to check out the water birds.   We only saw 25 species.  This is the complete list.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

  1. Canyon Towhee   1
  2. White-crowned Sparrow   12
  3. Northern Mockinbird   12
  4. Yellow-headed Blackbird   1
  5. Red-winged Blackbird   13
  6. Phrrhuloxia   3
  7. Mourning Dove   6
  8. White-winged Dove   8
  9. House Finch   15
  10. House Sparrow   10
  11. American Avocet   3
  12. Northern Shoveler  50+
  13. Northern Harrier   1
  14. Ruby-crowned Kinglet   1
  15. Field Sparrow   1
  16. Vesper Sparrow   6
  17. European Starling   4
  18. Golden-fronted Woodpecker   2
  19. Killdeer   2
  20. Western Meadowlark   6
  21. Turkey Vulture   4
  22. Black-crested Titmouse   1
  23. Ring-necked Duck   1
  24. Barn Swallow   4
  25. Curve-billed Thrasher   1

    Curve-billedl Thrasher

Click on any image to see an enlargement.  In the future the birding tours will be on a regular schedule of the third Saturday of each month, meeting at the South Gate at 8:30AM.

Yellow-headed Blackbirds

The end of the year is here, so I think I will show you some posts of photos from earlier in the year.  I don’t think you have seen these shots of the Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus).  I photographed the top two photos down at the water-treatment ponds at Eldorado, Texas, back in April.  They were wandering along the shoreline of one of the ponds.  The third (bottom) image was captured in September of 2008 at San Angelo State Park, atop a mesquite tree.

Western Texas is on their migratory path.  I saw my first one many years ago, when it landed on our back-yard fence.  Another time we saw one sitting on the roof of the kiosk at the entry to Big Bend National Park  The females, are somewhat non-descript and only about half the size of the male.

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Yelllow-headed Blackbird

Pertinent photo information:

Photo 1.  Canon 7D with 500mm lens and 1.4 tele-converter.  1/1000 sec. @ f11, -0.3 EV, ISO 640.  Aperture priority.

Photo 2.  Canon 7D with 500mm lens and 1.4 tele-converter.  1/1000 sec. @f11, ISO 800.  Aperture priority

Photo 3.  Canon 40D with 100-400mm zoom lens.  1/5000 sec. @ f5.6, ISO 400. Aperture priority.

I hope you enjoyed the photos.  For more of my images, click my Flickr Logo on the right side of this page.

Yellow-headed Blackbirds

Good morning to all.  In my endeavors to keep coming up with photos and subjects to write about, I came across these photos.  I don’t believe I had ever posted them before, so here they are.  I jokingly commented to someone yesterday that I take requests.  So in that vein, if any of you would like to see images of any particular bird, or actually anything at all, just let me know.  I will dig through my digital files and see what I have.  If I don’t have it, it may instill in me some inspiration to go out and get it. 🙂

These photos of a Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) were taken several months ago.  This bird is found mostly throughout the western part of the United States during warmer months.  It winters in Mexico.  The size is 9 1/2 inches, slightly larger than a Red-winged Blackbird.

Yellow-headed Blackbird

The above photo was taken at an earlier time with my Canon 40D at San Angelo State Park.  Lens was a Canon 100-400mm lens at 1/5000 sec. @ f5.6, ISO 400.  Aperture priority.

The two following photos were taken at the water treatment ponds in Eldorado, Texas.  By then I had purchased my Canon 7D.  I used it along with a Canon 500mm L lens with a 1.4 tele-converter attached.  Exposure for these two was 1/1000 sec. @ f11 with ISO 800.

Yellow-headed Blackbirds

Yellow-headed Blackbird

The first time I ever saw a Yellow-headed Blackbird was about ten years ago, long before I got caught up in birding.  It landed on the fence in my back yard.  It was several years later that I saw another.  Texas is in their migratory path, so I guess that accounts for the time between.  They are not always around in great numbers.

I hope you enjoyed these photos.  Click on either of them to see enlargements.