Monday, May 12, 2008

May 11th Report - San Angelo S.P.

Interesting morning in the blind. I arrived about 30 minutes later than I like to, but got to "work" at around 8:45.

Black Tufted Titmouse
Black-chinned Hummingbirds
Brown-headed Cowbirds
Curved Bill Thrasher
Doves (White-Winged and Mourning)
House Finch
Northern Cardinal (Male/Female)
Northern Bobwhite Quail (Male)
Northern Mockingbird
Oriole (either Bullock's or Altamira -- ID Pending)
Painted Bunting (Male)
Red-winged Blackbird (almost exclusively male)
Sparrows (Rufus-Crowned and House)
Turkey Vulture
Wild Turkey (Hen)

This was my first opportunity to shoot with my gear dressed up in their new LensCoat gear. Initial impressions are very good. Many of the species appeared much more willing to perch on the three perching stations in front of the water. This resulted in nearly full-frame images of Mourning and White Winged Doves, Northern Cardinal (Male), and Red-Winged Blackbirds at 300mm.

It helped that the light was good, also. I was able to get some very good shots of Brown-Headed Cowbirds without the typical glare that I'm used to from having too much/wrong light.

This morning was my 2nd male Painted Bunting sighting in as many trips to the blind. He actually came in twice this morning. First was so quick that he was gone almost before I realized he was there--he left a Technicolor blur on a single frame. Second visit lasted almost a minute while he checked out the situation and grabbed a drink from the water feature. I have not seen a female to go with this male. My hope is that she is incubating some eggs somewhere so the population will increase.

On the pending ID of the oriole, this is where I will admit that I am a much more experienced photographer than I am a birder. I knew that something was up because I heard a call I'd never heard before. I saw a flash of yellow and was able to spot the bird in the trees. Unfortunately, I had neither enough lens nor an unobstructed view to get a great picture. Bullock's Oriole would make more sense as far as range goes--Altamira's are generally closer to the Rio Grande and points south. But the images I have look much closer to a Altamira--there's no black cap on the bird's head. I've passed the images to a far more experienced birder and I should have an answer soon. [May 12th Update: The bird in question has been identified as a juvenile Bullock's Oriole which likely would explain the lack of black cap and the lighter shade of orange.]

I saw another species in the blind I'd never seen before, but I'm also waiting on an ID on that one. This one I don't have much of a run on as to what it was, but I have much better pictures. More to follow in the next blind report.
[May 12th Update: The bird I couldn't identify in this instance was a Bronzed Cowbird. The image in the blog is it's cousin the Brown-headed Cowbird. I'll share the Bronzed Cowbird in a future post.]

Image: Brown-headed Cowbird, San Angelo S.P., (c) 2008 Jim Miller

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