Monday, July 14, 2008

July 12-13th Report - San Angelo State Park

What an outstanding weekend of birding and bird photography at San Angelo State Park.

Saturday morning I skipped my usual Concho Valley Photography Club meeting and went to the Adult Bird Adventure in the park. This is put on by San Angelo Birding. Met some nice folks and took a few pictures. The special birds that we found that morning was a fledgling Bullock's Oriole (still had much of it's down on it), a number of shore birds at the lake, and a Yellow-Billed Cuckoo that was sitting in the area that should be being misted right now in the bird blind but for whatever reason is not.

As good as the birding was (and it was good), the company was even better and I thank Terry and the good folks who went with us for a fine morning.

After the bird adventure I went back to the blind and did a little bit of shooting. By the time I got back the light had gone away, and in all honesty it wasn't that good of light to begin with--no clouds to diffuse the bright sun. It was good to touch bases with one of the local photographers who was also in the blind with me.

Sunday morning was another matter all together. The skies started as "fair" and it got progressively cloudier. But the clouds were not so thick to kill of the light. On the contrary, the light was very good because of the diffusing and I got a lot of images shot.

Species spread was pretty good and what was there was very photographic. The list this time is a combination of Saturday and Sunday and as always only covers what is seen inside of the blind.

Species List
Ash-Throated Flycatcher
Bewicks Wren
Black-Chinned Hummingbird (Male & Female)
Black Crested Tufted Titmouse (Adult & Juvenile)
Bronzed Cowbird
Brown-Headed Cowbird
Bullock's Oriole (Female)
Cactus Wren
Curve-Billed Thrasher
Golden-Fronted Woodpecker (Juvenile Male)
Grackle, Great-Tailed
Greater Roadrunner
House Finch
House Sparrow
Ladder-Backed Woodpecker (Male)
Mourning Dove
Northern Bobwhite Quail (Male only)
Northern Cardinal (Mating Pair[s])
Northern Mockingbird
Pyrrhuloxia (Mating Pair)
Red-Winged Blackbird
Turkey Vulture

Western Kingbird
White-Winged Dove
Wild Turkey
Yellow-Billed Cuckoo

Sunday's highlights...

-- There were two Western Kingbirds who hung out in the blind for a long period of time. They perched well and I got some good images.
-- The Northern Cardinals exhibiting their ritual feeding behavior was very cool. I had seen it in weeks past, but did not have any luck capturing it. As seen above, I'm guessing I did a pretty good job.
-- A Greater Roadrunner came all the way into the blind for the first time since I've been coming out. Roadrunner started by coming from the east and climbed up a tree between A and B trees. It then made it's way into B tree and glided down from about 15-18ft to the ground. From there it looked around a bit before jumping onto the water feature and eventually took a few drinks.
--A no-kidding Cactus Wren sighting. Both my photographer friend and I did a double take and it took until I got the images home to verify it. We assumed based on it's shape it was a Wren. But the photographic evidence proved it.

Red-winged Blackbirds were way down on Sunday as were the house finches and house sparrows. Hummingbirds are also decreasing a bit in population, but that could have been as much the weather as the normal shift in things.

Saturday there was a Wild Turkey that made a few passes into the blind but never really stuck around long. Same could be said for some Bullock's Orioles that wandered through on Sunday. They hung out in the trees on the outside of things but never really did stay long enough for a good shot.

And our friend Peter Cottontail made his first visit inside of the blind, sticking around for the better part of an hour or so, helping to knock down the green grass inside the blind area.

Northern Cardinals (mating pair), San Angelo S.P., (c) 2008 Jim Miller
Greater Roadrunner, San Angelo S.P., (c) 2008 Jim Miller

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