Sunday, January 18, 2009

January 17th Blind Report - San Angelo State Park

Very fine morning of shooting in the blind. Polar opposite of my last visit in the blind...

As those of you who read the page regularly know, my typical day out to the blind is Sunday. My significant other and I do not share a specific common faith belief, so she takes off for a traditional church and I take off for my 2-3 hours of meditation and reflection.

But Friday night, looking at the sky conditions here in San Angelo I got to thinking about how Saturday might look. So a quick run to and the hour-by-hour forecast showed that Saturday morning was going to be mostly cloudy. Bingo. Guess we'll have an extra session of meditation and reflection on Saturday. It was a genuinely good call.

Light was perfect Saturday morning. Very cloudy to start with, but the clouds were not so thick to obscure all of the light. Sure, at ISO 200 I was at f/5.6 and between 1/50th and 1/100th at the very beginning, but I resisted the urge to step it up to ISO 400. I find that ISO 400 is very printable with the Canon 30D, but old film habits die hard and I always try to shoot with the lowest ISO possible.

As the morning progressed the light did get better and I eventually settled closer into the f/8 range with more manageable shutter speeds.

The shoot started very unusually--a Golden-Fronted Woodpecker was the first bird I was able to get an image of. First time in all of the times I've shot at the blind that this was the case.

Bewick's Wren, San Angelo State Park, ©2009 Jim MillerHere is the laundry list. Very good species spread. In addition to what is posted, there is an another sparrow that I've not seen before and I'm asking for some guidance amongst the local birding community. Update (Jan 19): The sparrow that I could not previously identify was a Lincoln's Sparrow. I will share the image in a future blog entry.

Some highlights: My first somewhat decent image of a male Pyrrhuloxia, though I would have preferred that he was perched on anything other than the terracotta feeder. Cardinals were running strong. The more ground-type birds (i.e. Greater Roadrunners and Northern Bobwhites) were nowhere to be found, but I did see a Roadrunner outside of the park as I was making my way to the blind.

I did get a life list entry. I saw my first Eastern Meadowlark. Okay, for those of you who grew up in this area you're probably scratching your head and going "Huh?" But I did not grow up in this area and while I've seen a Western Meadowlark, I've never seen it's eastern cousin.

Overall, this was an outstanding morning in the blind.

Pyrrhuloxia (Male), San Angelo State Park, ©2009 Jim Miller
Bewick's Wren, San Angelo State Park, ©2009 Jim Miller

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