~Birding in Texas, Orange-crowned Warbler?

I believe this little wet one is an Orange-crowned Warbler. I didn’t observe one that wasn’t wet for comparison. They were listed on the park’s birding list, as being sighted, along with the Nashville and Tennessee. What makes me think it is an Orange-crowned is: the thin slightly decurved bill, the yellowish broken eye ring and the length of its tail. However, it is pretty yellow. If anyone can identify this little guy, please let me know.

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“Do you think I should go again?”
Orange-crowned Warbler
“Okay, here I go.”
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Shake it baby!
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“That was fun.”

For comparison, a Nashville Warbler.

Nachville Warbler
Nashville Warbler. Grey head, solid white eye ring. A pair had a nest near by.

If you enjoy bird watching and don’t have a place for them to take a bath, you are missing out on some entertaining shenanigans. In South Llano River State Park, park personal have setup “Texas Hill Country” stone slabs with just enough of a crevice for the birds to bathe.

Happy Birding!

Header  photo: this was our site in early March, We went back in mid-April. We could certainly tell the difference.

~Sitting in a bird blind…

My favorite Bird Blind
My favorite of the four bird blinds at South Llano River State Park

It is April, just after noon on a beautiful not-quite-spring day. I leave the coach heading down the paved loop in the state park toward the bird blind. As I walk along the paved road, shadows fall across my path making interesting patterns for me to step on. Patterns made from the trees lining the road most with newly sprouted leaves.

I hear birds signing and see them flitting in and out of the trees. Spring is a busy time for them. Some have just arrived from their winter home, some are trying to attract a mate, while others are already building nests.

Bright flashes of orange catch my attention. A Summer Tanager flies up into the air after a bug and returns to its tree-branch lookout. What a beautiful bird.

I choose this time of day on purpose. I know there might not be anyone sitting in the bird blind. Birders and photographers get out early to take advantage of the morning light. So perhaps after a busy morning they are eating lunch and resting  for their afternoon adventures.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy meeting other birders; they are warm, friendly and helpful people.  We share a passion. During our stays at South Llano River State Park, I have met some of the nicest people, elderly, young and all ages in-between. They travel from all over the United States and other countries to visit this state park just for the birding. All have stories to tell, bird sightings and locations to share.

After a short distance I turn down a pebbled pathway toward the bird blind. I try to walk slowly.  I try to be as quite as I can. As I get closer to the bird blind a listen for whispers. Birders sitting in a blind speak softly to each other pointing out what they see. I don’t hear soft-spoken voices. Could I have chosen wisely? As I reach the board walk entrance to the blind I am tiptoeing and come to a stop just inside the entry. 

The blind is empty, I am thrilled. I select the bench closest to the plate glass window and not in front of the open window. I quietly take a seat. I take a deep breath, exhale slowly and relax. Joy!

I  glance around the fenced yard and toward the water fall, and I see lots of birds. My arrival didn’t disturb them. I want to observe these amazing creatures doing what they do – taking a bath, bringing nesting materials to their nest, eating from the feeders, sitting on a tree branch or fence post, mating, chasing each other away or flying in and out of the blind.

On this day, I want to be in the bird blind alone. I want to relax and enjoy the experience. I want the silence. I want the sounds that float toward me to be sounds of nature, of water falling from stone slabs into pools and of birds.

I didn’t bring my camera, just my binoculars. You see, if I have a camera my time is spent trying to take the perfect photo. It can be a struggle to setup the camera with tripod in such a small area, pointing the camera lens just far enough out of the open window without the birds getting scared, and in most cases kneeling down on the floor.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the challenges of taking bird photos, love it!

However, on this day I don’t want any challenges, I want to sit quietly all by myself and observe. To just be still and enjoy what nature offers.

I don’t know how long I sat there, probably a long time.

Summer Tanager (male)
Summer Tanager (male)

This photo taken on another day.

Happy Birding!

~Birding in Texas, Ladder-backed Woodpecker

South Llano River State Park, Junction, TX, March and April, 2017

Time for me to get back to sharing the birds I observed, this past winter, while traveling in Texas.

If you have been visiting this blog you know that one of our favorite places to stay is South Llano River State Park in Junction, TX. South Llano River State Park draws birding enthusiasts from all over the country, offering four bird blinds for observation. If interested please visit their web-site here, South Llano River State Park.

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Ladder-backed Woodpecker (female), 03/06/2117

This Ladder-backed Woodpecker would shyly makes its way into the bird blind staying along the perimeter and in the surrounding trees. It would eat for a few minutes, always in the same location. She habitually stayed alert for any signs of danger.

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Same location on 03/07/2017

I believe these photos are my first of this woodpecker.

 

Site 34, South Llano State Park

Happy Birding!

 

~A few last photos from Lake Colorado City State Park

~Lake Colorado City State Park, Colorado City, Texas, April, 2017

oOo – Follow your dreams wherever they take you.

Way to the Lake
Path to the lake.

oOo – Take a moment and enjoy your surroundings.

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Eastern Cottontail

oOo – Keep exploring, enjoy the journey.

Cottontail

oOo – Find the beauty in all things.

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Lake Colorado City State Park beginning to bloom.

oOo – Be with those that bring you joy.

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Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Bullock’s Oriole

oOo – Enjoy spending time alone.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (more photos of these gorgeous birds later)

Howard and I enjoy staying at this 500 acre Texas State Park with lake views and access. It is picturesque and quiet (in the early spring anyway, don’t know about the summer when full lake activities begin). Nature trails to walk with lots of wildlife to observe.

I imagine this park wouldn’t be for everyone. Too isolated with few amenities. However, if you love nature, birding, wildlife, peaceful days and dark skies then stop here for a few days.

oOo – A few photos from March, 2016:

The evening glow of sunlight across the park is gorgeous.

All alone.
All alone and loving it!

Here is a link: Lake Colorado City State Park

Golden-fronted Woodpecker
Golden-fronted Woodpecker

 

Happy Birding and Exploring!

 

~Birding in Texas, Ash-throated Flycatcher

~Lake Colorado City State Park, Colorado City, Texas, April, 2017

I worked hard to capture this Flycatcher, following him/her around the park. Finally, she perched long enough for me to take this photo.

I saw the Ash-throated Flycatcher for the first time on April, 7, 2012 at this park.

Ash-throated Flycatcher
Ash-throated Flycatcher

Secretive and usually solitary, they like to perch on twigs within thickets waiting for insects to fly by. They also enjoy eating berries.

 

Great bird habitat
Perfect birding habitat. View outside our coach window.

Happy Birding!

 

~Birding in Texas, Greater Roadrunner

~Lake Colorado City State Park, Colorado City, Texas, April, 2017

Everybody loves the Roadrunner, right?

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Beep, Beep!

I have never seen a pair of Roadrunners. At some point, one would think, we would see a pair. Always searching for insects, lizards and snakes, and seemingly always running. I was lucky to see a few of them running around this lovely state park. Occasionally, a brief pause. And, I mean brief!

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One evening, Howard and I were walking in the park and spotted this Roadrunner sitting in a tree. I have seen them (briefly) sitting on a fence post, but never in a tree. I wonder if he thought he was hiding from us.

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Greater Roadrunner
Greater Roadrunner

Now, go catch an insect!

Happy Birding!

Enjoying retirement: On The Road & At Home