Wednesday, September 16, 2009

September 14th Report - San Angelo State Park

One final opportunity on this trip to spend some time out at the park. The weekend was a total washout when it came to photography and birding. Not that I am complaining--there is no such thing as bad or unwelcome rain in West Texas, especially as dry as it has been this year.

But come Monday the liquid sunshine went away and after getting the kids off to school (a special treat), I went out to the park for some much needed down time after driving back and forth to Dallas and before getting ready to hop on the plane and head back to Ohio.

The rain from the weekend was still very evident. The walk up the road was squishy--not quite mud everywhere but certainly the presence of soft ground. In the blind area there was still a little bit of standing water, but not much.

There was more color present than at my previous visit. Doves still dominated the landscape, but the first bird of the day was a Black-chinned Hummingbird. At one point there were three hummers flying around the area, but the light was minimal and I wasn't able to get a fast enough shutter speed to do justice with the images.

Still no Brown-headed Cowbirds or Red-winged Blackbirds. I'm guessing they're foraging elsewhere. House finches were few and really were towards the end of the visit.

A few Northern Cardinals were in the area--primarily one family unit but there were a couple of strays here and there. One Ladderbacked Woodpecker was doing some work on Tree D in the blind area. Also of note was a Curve-billed Thrasher. Both the Cardinals and Thrasher were in reasonably obvious signs of molt--out with the old and in with the new.

But the show stopper of the day was the Yellow Warbler. I had seen this bird last year and got a brief glimpse of it on my last visit. But this time it put on quite a show for me, giving me my best images yet. I would have killed for a 500mm or 600mm to get things even bigger, but I was happy with the end results.

Next trip into the blind will probably be around Christmas time unless business takes me back to San Angelo sooner.

Image: Yellow Warbler, San Angelo State Park, ©2009 Jim Miller

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