January 11, 2018 Falcon Lake State Park, Texas

Pyrhuloxia
Pyrhuloxia

 Back to the Birds Again

After getting settled in at Falcon Lake State Park, I took a short drive over to the Salineno Birding Area where I volunteered a couple winters ago to say hi to Lois and Merle and see what changes may have occurred over the the last couple of years.

Not much changed, still a premier spot to see lots of birds up close in comfort with a couple of knowledgeable hosts to help with identification. A few trees have drooped a bit more and that led to a relocation for the host’s fifth wheel and thus the seating area is now a bit farther away from the action, but the colorful orioles, kiskadees, and green jays are still there in abundance.

Falcon Lake State Park

I chose a campsite with water and electric only rather than one with full hookups since the full hookup section is more open and the sites are a little closer together than I like. My pull through site is surrounded by dense shrubs and trees providing nice privacy, but, more importantly, the same shrubs and trees provide cover and perches for my feathered friends.

I set out a hummingbird feeder, an oriole feeder, a couple of platform feeders, my old reliable fencepost for the lard/peanut butter/cornmeal concoction, then spread a little cracked corn and sunflower seed around the edges of my feeding area, sat back and waited to see who would arrive.

Curve-billed Thrasher
Curve-billed Thrasher
Long-billed Thrasher
Long-billed Thrasher

It didn’t take long for two types of thrashers to come scooting out from the edge cover to grab some corn and scurry back to cover to eat.

Curve-billed Thrasher
Curve-billed Thrasher

This thrashers seem quite reluctant to spent much time in the open, lurking just on the edge of the feeding area …

Curve-billed Thrasher
Curve-billed Thrasher

… then dashing out and grabbing a couple of kernels of corn before retreating to the shadows.

Curve-billed Thrasher
Curve-billed Thrasher
Curve-billed Thrasher
Curve-billed Thrasher

 

Bewick's Wren
Bewick’s Wren

This cute little guy is all but impossible to keep up with, constantly on the move with herky jerky action, hopping from bush to bush, bush to ground, up and down the feeders, just never standing still.

Bewick's Wren
Bewick’s Wren
Bewick's Wren
Bewick’s Wren

 

Olive Sparrow
Olive Sparrow

The Olive Sparrow is one of the birds folks come here to add to their birding lists.

Olive Sparrow
Olive Sparrow

He’s another bird of the edges like the thrashers, reluctant to leave the cover of the bushes on the edges of the feeding area.

 

Pyrhuloxia
Pyrhuloxia

There are a couple of pairs of Pyrhuloxia coming in regularly and this is the first time I have been able to get some nice close shots of these guys.

Pyrhuloxia
Pyrhuloxia

 

Inca Dove
Inca Dove

So far, these small Inca Doves are the only doves that have shown up here.

Inca Dove
Inca Dove

 

Orange Crowned Warbler
Orange Crowned Warbler

Lots of Orange -crowned Warblers coming in.

 

Northern Bobwhite
Northern Bobwhite

I was pleasantly surprised when this lone male Northern Bobwhite came strolling in right next to my chair and began feeding on cracked corn, seemingly oblivious to my presence.

Northern Bobwhite
Northern Bobwhite

A little unusual to see a lone Bobwhite, but I assume the rest of the flock must be somewhere near by and hope they will eventually all come in.

 

Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal

So far at least two pair of Northern Cardinals have made an appearance.

Female Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal

 

Black Crested Titmouse
Black Crested Titmouse

Black-crested Titmice come and grab their single seed and hop off to the bushes to break them open.

Black Crested Titmouse
Black Crested Titmouse

 

Green Jay
Green Jay

One of my all-time favorite birds, the colorful Green Jay, is here in abundance.

Green Jay
Green Jay

As you can see above, they are not shy about helping themselves to plenty of my offerings.

 

Female Great-tailed Grackle
Female Great-tailed Grackle

Great-tailed Grackles arrive in large flocks, along with the ever present scourge of Red-winged Blackbirds. These pests I have to actively discourage to keep the food available for the birds I am looking to photograph. They do get to clean up the area ( along with the javelinas ) in late afternoon when I quit shooting for the day.

An Agility Test

Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal

I put out an old two liter Coke bottle that I had crudely cut up to make a hanging feeder, more to show my presence than to actually have birds use it since the platform feeders are much, much easier to access.

Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal

But here, a few birds have mastered the ability to land on this feeder and have unfettered access to some sunflower seeds without having to share with other birds.

Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal

Watching them land and then try to hang on as the feeder blows around in the stiff breeze is quite interesting.

Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal
Green Jay
Green Jay
Green Jay
Green Jay
Green Jay
Green Jay
Pyrhuloxia
Pyrhuloxia

The weather here since my arrival has been absolutely perfect, sunny 70 degree days and clear starlit skies with night time temps in the lower 50’s. Not real sure how long I will stay here before heading up the coast to shoot Whooping Cranes and ducks, as well as check out the hurricane damage around Port Aransas and Lockport.

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January 24, 2016 Salineno Birding Area, Texas

Moving in on the Oriole
Moving in on the Oriole

A Little Fun in PhotoShop

Incoming Blackbird, We're Outta Here
Incoming Blackbird, We’re Outta Here

Let’s see, now i have more than a few decent shots of small birds in flight, let’s figure out what to do with them.

On a Mac at least, right clicking on any of these images will open a larger, sharper version in a new window.

Rainbow of Birds
Rainbow of Birds

Every now and then, I have managed to capture multiple birds in flight in one image, sure doesn’t happen often, but as I’ve stated before, this small birds in flight thing is a numbers game, and I have the time, and place, to take a lot of shots.

Colorful Quartet
Colorful Quartet
Three Birds Incoming
Three Birds Incoming

So I thought, why not combine parts of several of my better images with some of the good shots that already have multiple birds in them … just play around and amuse myself in PhotoShop.

Three Orioles
Three Orioles

Since all of these shots are taken on a tripod and I don’t move the camera sometimes for a  hundred flight shots or more ( I am manually focused on a spot where I hope the birds will be ), many of these shots have the exact same background as several others making combining images a breeze.

Quartet
Quartet
Four Birds
Coming and Going
Cardinal and Jays
Cardinal and Jays

These shots should give you an idea of the sometimes almost unbelievable color you can see in the yard here in Salineno. I have been sitting here watching these guys now for three months and it still amazes me.

Great Kiskadee and Altamira Orioles
Great Kiskadee and Altamira Orioles
Three birds
Make Room !
Three Birds
A Seat for All
Five birds
Not enough Room for Five

Only two of the birds in the above image were added, guess which ones.

Unwanted Intruder
Unwanted Intruder
Six Birds
Six Birds

This combined image gives you an idea of how difficult it sometimes is to shoot here because of the shadows of the overhanging branches. These shadows from the mesquite tree looming over the seating area move about the yard as the sun tracks across the sky, casting shadows over all the props I have set up in the yard to bring the birds in close for viewing. So many good shots are ruined by these shadows being cast over dark parts of the birds, such as the heads of the Green Jays and the Audubon Orioles, making their eyes indistinguishable from the dark feathers surrounding them.

Green Jay and Northern Cardinals
Green Jay and Northern Cardinals

The two shots combined here were taken at the very end of the day as the sun set behind me around 6 PM.

Hope you may have enjoyed these, let me know what you think!

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November 27, 2015 Salineno, Texas

More Birds at Salineno

Strutting Tom, South Llano, Texas
Strutting Tom, South Llano State Park, Texas

Hope everyone had a  Happy Thanksgiving  ( but I bet the individual in the image above most likely did not ) as I did here at the Salineno Birding Station. My co-hosts, Lois and Merle cooked up a small turkey with all the fixings and invited myself and another couple, who are hosting the Roma site, over for a great Thanksgiving dinner. For this forty year resident of New England, the 85 degree temperature, along with high humidity, certainly did little to lend a traditional feel to this holiday, but enjoyable nonetheless.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Female Northern Bobwhite
Female Northern Bobwhite
Male Northern Bobwhite
Male Northern Bobwhite

Northern Bobwhite Quail arrived on the scene this week with an even dozen now coming in to take advantage of the cracked corn, making several appearances every day.

Olive Sparrow
Olive Sparrow

The elusive, and much sought after Olive Sparrow, who normally keeps himself on the edge of the yard, very near some kind of cover, thus always in the shade …

Olive Sparrow
Olive Sparrow

… came out for a bath today and so I got to see him in the sunlight for the first time.

Olive Sparrow After Bath
Olive Sparrow After Bath
Olive Sparrow After Bath
Olive Sparrow After Bath
Green Jay
Green Jay

The always entertaining, as well as colorful, green jays …

Green Jay
Help Yourself!

… have discovered where all that delicious cracked corn and sunflower seeds come from, and now feel free to just help themselves.

Audubon Oriole
Audubon Oriole

The Audubon oriole pair had us a little worried when they didn’t show for a couple of days, disappointing folks that came specifically to see them, but have now shown up again.

Black-crested Titmouse
Black-crested Titmouse

Finally had a chance to photograph the Black-crested Titmouse. These guys are constantly on the move and spend 99 per cent of the time in the trees above our heads, so are difficult to capture with the camera.

Kiskadee
Kiskadee

Kiskadee numbers are increasing and we now will have four or five in the yard at the same time.

Golden-fronted Woodpecker
Golden-fronted Woodpecker

And the Golden-fronted Woodpeckers, a couple of males and one female make several appearances daily.

We have a Sharp-shinned Hawk coming in on the fly almost every day now, making as many as a dozen passes through the yard in a day, looking for an easy meal. Unfortunately, I won’t be getting any shots of him as he comes in unannounced and traveling at an incredibly high speed, making a pass across the yard in about half a second. Despite many attempts, we haven’t seen him catch anybody … yet.

A list of species seen here so far ( 53 and we are only a month in! )
In years past the total number of sightings varies between 70 and 80.

Green jay
Golden-fronted Woodpecker
Northern cardinal
Olive Sparrow
Altamira Oriole
Audubon Oriole
Inca Dove
White-tipped Dove
White-winged Dove
House Sparrow
Great Kiskadee
Common Yellow-throat
Osprey *
Turkey Vulture *
Crested Caracara *
Northern Mockingbird
Ladder-backed Woodpecker
Long-billed Thrasher
Plain Chachalaca
Black-crested Titmouse
Hooded Oriole
Red-winged Blackbird
Great-tailed Grackle
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
White Pelican *
Bewick’s Wren
Orange-crowwned Warbler
Mourning Dove
Lesser Goldfinch
Ringed Kingfisher *
Eastern Phoebe
Verdin
House Wren
Blue-headed Vireo
Pyrrhuloxia
Gray Hawk *
Couch’s Kingbird
Black Phoebe
Lincoln Sparrow
Common Grackle
Bronzed Cowbird
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
White-crowned Sparrow
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher *
Snow Geese *
White-fronted Geese *
American Robin
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Eastern Screech Owl
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Northern Bobwhite
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch

  • Denotes Flyover

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March 25, 2014 S. Llano River State Park

Vermillion flycatcher
Vermillion flycatcher

 

Images From the Acorn Blind

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

A nice brisk morning so as soon as there was any light, I walked down to the Acorn Blind here in the campground. The bird activity there was pretty good and steady all AM.

In the afternoon I checked out the other three blinds in the park and decided that the Acorn Blind is the one. There seemed to be the same birds at all four blinds, but a greater number and variety at the Acorn Blind. Also, that blind is the only one that has a seat to use at the one open window you can shoot through.

I was told I missed the turkeys displaying by the office building this AM. I have yet to see even one turkey here.

Vermillion flycatcher
Vermillion flycatcher

Once again, I am posting this entry on a PC in the Junction library, so I apologize for the image sizing and spacing problems, but I just can’t get WordPress to operate properly like it does on my Imac in the RV.

 

Pine siskin
Pine siskin
Black crested titmouse
Black crested titmouse
Black crested titmouse bath
Black crested titmouse bath
Black crested titmouse
Black crested titmouse
Spotted towhee
Spotted towhee
White winged dove
White winged dove
White winged dove
White winged dove
White winged dove
White winged dove
Ground dove
Ground dove
Northern cardinal drinking
Northern cardinal drinking
Female northern cardinal
Female northern cardinal
Northern cardinal drinking
Northern cardinal drinking
Black throated sparrow
Black throated sparrow
Black throated sparrow
Black throated sparrow
Female black chinned hummer
Female black chinned hummer
Chipping sparrow
Chipping sparrow
Bathing chipping sparrow
Bathing chipping sparrow
Chipping sparrow
Chipping sparrow
House finch
House finch
House finch drinking
House finch drinking
House finch
House finch
House finch
House finch