Sunday, December 21, 2008

December 21st Blind Report - San Angelo State Park, And Equipment Failure...

Paint Rock Pictographs, Paint Rock, Texas, ©2008 Jim Miller
A morning of frustrations in the blind. Yesterday I was out at a field trip to Paint Rock--an area about 35 miles east of San Angelo that has Native American Pictographs. It was a field trip with the Concho Valley Photography Club. As it turns out, the light was much more favorable yesterday for bird photography than it was today--slightly overcast with good diffused light. Today it would have been better to be out at Paint Rock--directional sunlight to highlight the Winter Solistice rock/painting effects. Oh well, stuff happens.

Frustration number two was the death I had in the family. My Bogen/Manfrotto 3265 tripod head has died. For those that are not familiar, the 3265 is a pistol grip style ball head. It is rated for 5.5 pounds. The 30D with the battery grip, the 300mm f4 IS, and the 1.4x extender is about 5.2 pounds. This morning I noticed that the head had almost no rigidity to it. My guess is that with the passage of time, and a little bit of abuse and/or overweighting with my current setup that I destroyed part of the internal mechnaisms. She has served me well, having survived four years in Iceland and another nearly 3 years here, though admittedly I've used it far more often here than I ever contemplated using it in Iceland. It helped me through a very dry period of photography for me when I couldn't hold my camera due to a broken wrist. She will be missed.

Because I've bought into the RC2 system, I will likely replace it with another RC2 compatible head. I'd like to replace it with a 322RC2, but I'll probably end up with the 488RC2.

Traffic at the blind is very good. Ladder-backed Woodpecker was back out today and spent a good portion of time in and around the blind. Many Northern Cardinals were also making the rounds.

The Northern Bobwhite invasion continues. At one point today I counted 14 at once. One thing I'm confused about (and perhaps one of my loyal readers can help me with this onLadder-backed Woodpecker (Male), San Angelo State Park, ©2008 Jim Millere). One of the theories that floats around is that in dry years the quail population gets mighty tiny. This year, if media reports can be trusted, was supposed to be a bit of a dry year. Yet we have a veritable Bobwhite invasion at the bird blind and on another occassion I saw a pretty large brood over on the North Shore of the park. Any thoughts?

No laundry list today. Didn't take any notekeeping material out to the park. My hope is to get out there at least once more before the New Year.

Paint Rock Pictograph, outside Paint Rock, TX, ©2008 Jim Miller
Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Male), San Angelo State Park, ©2008 Jim Miller

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