March 19, 2016 Salineno Birding Area, Texas

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

Tomorrow it all Ends

Hard to believe that five months here have passed so quickly, but with the recent heat, I would have to say, I am ready to head for cooler climes.

Salineno Birding Area
Salineno Birding Area

It dawned on me that I had never shown you the bird feeding yard here at Salineno, the scene of all these small birds in flight shots. So the image above shows you where all the action takes place and where 80 % of all the shots shown on this blog were taken.

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

The other 20% were taken next to where my motorhome is parked, just a hundred feet or so from the the feeding yard shown above.

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

On many of my two days off, I haul my portable post (feeding) prop over to my site and set up a small feeding area of my own.

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

Here I have no overhanging branches and shadows to contend with, as I do in the main yard. Also have a completely different type of background where I can get some nice soft pastel colors to show as a backdrop for the birds.

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

You can probably tell I kind of liked the interaction of this White-tipped Dove and the Great Kiskadee, set against that wonderful watercolor wash background.

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Long-billed Thrasher and Great Kiskadee
Long-billed Thrasher and Great Kiskadee

The Dove was not the only other bird to contest the Kiskadee for the peanutbutter/lard/cornmeal mix concealed in the top of the post.

Long-billed Thrasher and Great Kiskadee
Long-billed Thrasher and Great Kiskadee
Long-billed Thrasher and Great Kiskadee
Long-billed Thrasher and Great Kiskadee
Great Kiskadee and Green jay
Great Kiskadee and Green jay
Long-billed Thrasher and Great Kiskadee
Long-billed Thrasher and Great Kiskadee
Long-billed Thrasher and Green Jay
Long-billed Thrasher and Green Jay
Great Kiskadee and Green jay
Great Kiskadee and Green jay
Great Kiskadee and Green jays
Great Kiskadee and Green jays
Great Kiskadee and Green Jay
Great Kiskadee and Green Jay
Great Kiskadee and Green Jay
Great Kiskadee and Green Jay
Northern Cardinals
Northern Cardinals

It’s that time of year and the males are fighting.

Northern Cardinals
Northern Cardinals
Northern Cardinals
Northern Cardinals
Altamira Oriole and Green Jay
Altamira Oriole and Green Jay
Audubon Oriole and Green Jay
Audubon Oriole and Green Jay

” What you doing down there, Shorty !”

Northern Cardinals and Green Jay
Northern Cardinals and Green Jay
Northern Cardinals and Golden-fronted Woodpecker
Northern Cardinals and Golden-fronted Woodpecker

A Couple New Closeups

Female Northern Bobwhite
Female Northern Bobwhite

We have two coveys of Northern Bobwhites that come in several times a day so I thought I ought to make some effort to get a couple nice ground level shots of these neat little birds. Above a female and below the male.

Male Northern Bobwhite
Male Northern Bobwhite
Ladder-backed Woodpeck
Ladder-backed Woodpecker

A male Ladder-backed Woodpecker with a nice soft green background. The background, up until this last week, would have been bare branches with bright sky holes, but now the mesquite trees are displaying their spring green finery.

Female Black-headed Grosbeak
Female Black-headed Grosbeak

And finally, a rare South Texas visitor, one female Black-headed Grosbeak, visiting us regularly over the past three weeks.

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10 thoughts on “March 19, 2016 Salineno Birding Area, Texas”

  1. Your photographs from Salineno are wonderful. Thanks, also, for the equipment and technique info. Can
    “ordinary folks” put out feed as you describe to draw birds into a particular position, or only “volunteers”? Do you know if the site will be open and staffed in Jan., 2017. I was there last in 2008.

    1. The couple that were hosting at Salineno with me last year are there this year also, I believe it is their 7th year hosting the site, so , yes I assume it will be open as usual. When you get there, just ask ( volunteer ) Merle if he would allow you to do what you would like to do. He is a very friendly, agreeable type, so, unless you have something way out of line planned, he probably would go along with you.

  2. Bob:
    Great photos. Do you mind sharing your camera setup and settings for those bird close ups? I’m slowly adding to my camera equipment. Just recently purchased a lens specifically for astrophotographers, but after seeing your birds, I’m ready for another lens!

    What cooler climate are you planning to head towards? Keep on truckin’ (I guess statement dates myself).

    Mike

    1. All these shots were taken with the Nikon D810 with a Nikon 200-400mm lens on a Really Right Stuff tripod and head. I set up my props baited with a peanut butter/lard/cornmeal mix ( mixed 1 part-pb-1-part lard-3 parts cm) and position a couple of landing perches that will guide the birds to the prop I want them coming in to in such a manner as to have them fly on a path that is exactly perpendicular to my camera. That way there is a very good chance that they will be in the same narrow focal plane where I am Prefocused as they approach the target. My D810 can handle 800 ISO without getting too noisy, so that is the ISO I use unless I happen to have some really good light, then I can drop the ISO a little. Always try to shoot at at least 1/1500 sec or faster if possible. That means that I am seldom able to use anything better than F4 as an aperture, but again, if I have a little light I will try and get that up to F8, though that doesn’t happen very often. Always shooting manual or aperture priority. Use a cable release and shoot with high speed continuous that gives me still a rather slow shot rate of 6-7 fps. That is the main disadvantage of the D810, the slow fps rate. Hope this helps. Good luck!

      1. Thank you for the great pictures and information. On the PB/Lard/Cornmeal mix, do you melt anything or just mix the ingredients and spread?

        1. Easiest to melt down the lard, add the peanut butter then the cornmeal.If you are putting it out when you expect warm sunny days, use moor cornmeal to make it stiffer, less if during winter cold days.

    1. It has been TOO hot for me here the past few weeks, though I have been told that this winter has been much warmer than usual. Last several days before the cold front came through had been in the low to mid 90’s and that signals to me that it is time to head north.

  3. I have loved every post you’ve shared at Salinero…. My husband and I were volunteers at Santa Ana NWR in 2002 and have visited that area several times since. So even though I could picture where you shot your photos I did like seeing today’s location featured. Don’t know where you’re headed next but I’ll be looking forward to whatever photos you post.

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