December 21, 2017 Imperial Dam LTVA, California

Costa's Hummingbird
Costa’s Hummingbird

Just Birds

Anna's Hummingbird
Anna’s Hummingbird

I’ve had the hummingbird feeder out since I arrived here and it has attracted a few hummers, but not many. Today I finally managed a couple of shots of them as I waited around for the quail to show up.

Photo Setup
Photo Setup

All that gold/brown vegetation out there has made for some nice backgrounds for my setup here at the campsite.

Lesser Goldfinch
Lesser Goldfinch

Two new arrivals here today, this Lesser Goldfinch who flew in, took a look around and decided he didn’t see anything he liked …

Roadrunner
Roadrunner

… and this Roadrunner, who showed up as I was downloading images to the computer. The two shots of him were taken through my dinette window.

Roadrunner
Roadrunner

It really didn’t seem that cold to me at the time this shot was taken, around noon, but here he is in the classic “radiator” position.

Gamblel's Quail
Gamblel’s Quail
Gamblel's Quail
Gamblel’s Quail

The quail numbers continue to increase as does their frequency of showing up.

House Finch Lineup
House Finch Lineup

As always, lots of House Finches.

House Finch
House Finch
White-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow

And the same old assortment of LLB’s.

White-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Sagebrush Sparrow
Sagebrush Sparrow
Chipping Sparrows
Chipping Sparrows

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March 29, 2014 S. Llano State Park, Texas

 

Cedar Waxwing drinking
Cedar Waxwing drinking

Last night was a wonderful, star filled, cool night for sleeping with no intrusion by my neighbor’s spot lights. My thanks to the campground host who finally caught up with them and asked that they show some consideration for their neighbors.

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

Cedar Waxwing drinking
Cedar Waxwing drinking
House finch
House finch
Lesser Goldfinch
Lesser Goldfinch

 

 

 

 

Yellow rump warbler Audubon race
Yellow rump warbler Audubon race
Yellow rump warbler Audubon race
Yellow rump warbler Audubon race

Out turkey hunting at 7 with no luck. Went down to the Acorn Blind and stayed until noon, getting a couple Black throated Hummingbird shots and another nice Cedar Waxwing shot, but nothing out of the ordinary for new birds.

Black chinned hummingbird
Black chinned hummingbird
Black chinned hummingbird
Black chinned hummingbird
Black chinned hummingbird
Black chinned hummingbird
Yellow rumped warbler Audubon race
Yellow rumped warbler Audubon race
Yellow rumped warbler Myrtle race
Yellow rumped warbler Myrtle race

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a younger man, I always kind of laughed to myself when I saw someone out gazing at the trees through a set of binoculars. Never could understand how anyone could enjoy the pursuit of birdwatching. Then I bought my first good long lens and snapped a few images of these little wonders, and before I knew it, I was addicted. Now it doesn’t seem so strange that people can get such a thrill out of this pasttime. I mention this only because I have just realized that I have become one of them. The two images immediately above kind of brought this realization around. I have gone from seeing these two birds and thinking, nice little yellow spotted birds, to recognizing them as yellow-rumped warblers, to actually seeing that they are two distinct races of yellow-rumped warblers. I still have to go home and get the images on the monitor and look them up in a bird book to know this, but I guess I am becoming a birdwatcher.

Checked on mail at the office and renewed for Sunday and Monday while awaiting my mail package from NH. Drove into Junction for some groceries and to check the library hours, turns out they are closed all weekend.

10 PM on another beautiful night and on comes the neighbor’s spotlight, fully illuminating my living room and bedroom. This after the campground host had told him to be a little more considerate and keep the lights off, especially on the driver’s side of his unit ( like all RVs, their exit door and outside living area are on the curbside of the unit ). Since I was inside watching TV, I decided to wait it out and maybe they would turn them off before I retired. 11:10 PM came and I walked over to their rig and knocked three times on their door. No response. Knock three more times and the wife comes to the door and asks what I want. I ask if they could turn off their spotlights since they have apparently gone to bed. She turns and walks away with no response. Really nice folks.

After 11PM, I am not about to wake the campground host to intervene once more, and with no cell phone coverage, I can’t call a park ranger, so I return to my rig and figure I will have to close up my motorhome, just like last week at Goose Island and turn on the AC, on a perfect, cool evening for sleeping. As I was ready to step into the RV, here comes the neighbor, aggressively striding across the space between our units, and obviously looking to start something. Not really wanting a confrontation, I almost went inside, but at the last moment turned and walked toward him. That kind of stopped his rapid progress toward me, but he came close enough to start cursing me out and wanting to know what my problem was. I stated the obvious to him, that his spotlights were completely illuminating my site once again, that I was aware he had been instructed not to do so again, and told him I would appreciate him just turning them off and let both of us get to sleep.

This guy had a manner about him that showed he was obviously some kind of aggressive control freak, and quite used to using intimidation to get his way. That someone challenged him on his behavior and that the campground host had actually told him he could not do something must have really stuck in his craw. I had to chuckle as he made his way back to his unit and had to shield his eyes against his own lights so he could see where he was going. The icing on the cake was when his other neighbor across the street from his unit ( and not really in direct line of his lights ) yelled out to him to shut the damn lights off!

At 11:40 finally the lights went out!

Black chinned hummingbird
Black chinned hummingbird
Black chinned hummingbird
Black chinned hummingbird
Black chinned Hummingbird
Black chinned Hummingbird

 

 

 

 

Black chinned hummingbird
Black chinned hummingbird
Black chinned hummingbird
Black chinned hummingbird
Black chinned hummingbird
Black chinned hummingbird

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 27, 2014 S. Llano River State Park

Strutting Turkeys
Strutting Turkeys

Finally Some Strutting Tom Turkeys!

Awoke to the usual grey, solid overcast morning, but strangely enough, still no rain. Appears Texas is capable of experiencing an extended drought yet also never seeing the sun, in the winter at least. Was wakened from a sound sleep twice last night by the exceptionally vocal deer in the campground, they let out a vocalization like that of a screaming eagle, probably in response to some perceived threat.

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

Strutting Turkey
Strutting Turkey
Strutting Turkey
Strutting Turkey
Displaying turkey
Displaying turkey
Displaying turkey
Displaying turkey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Decided to do a road trip north of the park but had my plans changed when I finally ran into some strutting Tom Turkeys on the park road. I had about five minutes with them before a motorhome scared them off the side of the road and sent them running out of range. I turned around and travelled the park road back and forth hoping to see them again, but no such luck.

Wild turkeys
Trouble ahead!
Retreating Turkey
Retreating Turkey
Strutting Turkey
Strutting Turkey

 

 

 

 

 

 

During my time with the turkeys, the sun came out and the temperature started to climb. I stopped at the office to check the forecast and it called for sunny skies and temps in the upper 80’s! With good weather finally here, I decided to stay in the park and do some shooting from the blinds.

Female cardinal bathing
Female cardinal bathing
Northern cardinal bathing
Northern cardinal bathing

These Northern Cardinals really put some effort into their baths.

Chipping sparrow bath
Chipping sparrow bath

As does the Chipping Sparrow.

Lark sparrow
Lark sparrow

The Lark Sparrow was a new bird for me.

Black capped vireo
Black capped vireo

As was this Black-capped Vireo, a federally endangered bird with a sharply declining population due to habitat loss and brown headed cowbird nest parasitism.

Lesser goldfinch
Lesser goldfinch

Another new bird for me was this Lesser Goldfinch, not yet quite displaying the vivid demarcation of yellow and black that will be visible in a few more weeks.

Carolina wren
Carolina wren

Yet another new bird for me was this Carolina Wren, darting in and out so fast as to be almost impossible to catch.

Cedar waxwing
Cedar waxwing
Cedar waxwing
Cedar waxwing

Also making an appearance at the water feature in the Acorn Blind was one of my favorite birds, the Cedar Waxwing.

Audubon warbler
Audubon warbler

Another bird showing up regularly was this Audubon Warbler.

Bathing Inca doves
Bathing Inca doves

I got a kick  out of this Inca Dove going submarine while it’s mate tried to figure out what it was doing.

Inca doves huddling for warmth
Inca dove

These Inca Doves have colorful red/orange wing feathers on the underside and topside of their wings that only show in flight – or if they are trying to dry themselves after a bath.

Inca doves huddling for warmth
Inca dove
Inca doves huddling for warmth
Inca dove

 

 

 

 

 

Serengetti in Texas
Serengetti in Texas

Along the park entrance road there is large high fenced enclosure that gets you to thinking you have arrived on the Serengeti Plains of Africa.

Strutting Turkey
Strutting Turkey
Strutting Turkey
Strutting Turkey
Cedar waxwing
Cedar waxwing

 

 

 

 

Lark sparrow
Lark sparrow

 

 

 

 

Another Neighbor From Hell

A very large motorhome pulled into the space next to me today. This space is at least 100 feet away but there is nothing between us but grass. A really nice, new 45’ Class A. Just a little after it got dark, I had made a drink after concluding a long conversation with my other next door neighbors, and was getting ready to go sit under the stars for a while. One of the nice things about this park is the absence of road or site lighting, you can really enjoy the night sky here when it is clear. Just as I was about to step out the door, a flash of light hit, that I assumed must be a car going through. It wasn’t. The new neighbor had turned on his outside spotlights, THREE high intensity spots on the driver’s side of the coach ( turns out there are three more on the passenger’s side too ), front, mid section, and back, all pointing directly out at the neighbor’s site. And when I say they were bright, I mean I could read a book on my sight, over 100 feet away, with the light from his unit. I went over and knocked on their door to see if I could get them to turn them off so I could sit outside and enjoy a gorgeous starry night, but even though their car was there and the TV was on, no one would answer the door. This was only about 7:30, so I don’t know what they were doing, but they wouldn’t answer the door for the campground host either a few minutes later when I enlisted his help to get the spotlights turned off. So, I had no choice but to go inside, pull all the shades and watch TV instead of the stars. About 9:30, they finally turned the lights off. About 11PM, just after I went to bed, they turned them back on. Nice folks!