Tag Archives: Junction

~Birding in Texas, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

 

~Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

I would see this lone Scissor-tailed sitting on a wire fence along the main entry road into South Llano River State Park. It had claimed this section of fence line and was hunting bugs.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
~Scissor-tailed Flycatcher~

I decided the best way for me to capture a few photos of this gorgeous flycatcher was to try and take the shots from my car.

When taking photos from the car, I roll the window about 2/3 down and place a swimmer’s noodle, that I have cut to size, over the glass.  It stays in the car for just this purpose. The lens fits nicely on top of the noodle.

I tried to take a few photos outside the car, but he/she would just fly down the fence line out of camera range. {sigh}

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~Pink underwing coverts~

The photo below shows the long tail and pink patch on the shoulder.

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~Beautiful long scissor-tail~

After a few days I noticed one other Scissor-tail hunting in the area; hopefully it was the mate.

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~They like to sit with their tails cocked to the side~

I can’t even guess how many Scissor-tailed Flycatchers we saw during the few weeks we were traveling in Texas. It was nice to see so many!

My challenge and goal is to capture a good photo of one in flight.

Happy Birding!

 

~Birding in Texas, Let’s Chat!

~South Llano River State Park, Junction, TX, April, 2017

 

~Yellow-breasted Chat…

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I first saw the Yellow-breasted Chat on June, 9, 1987 in Loveland, Colorado. I was out birding with my birding mentor Ann Means not long after Howard and I moved to Loveland. Ann was my dear friend and she taught me a lot about birds. She was a retired school teacher and loved nothing more than to go driving around in search of birds. She also loved to share her life time experiences with bird watching. I will always treasure my time with her.

Back on June 9, 1987 we were birding west of town on a dirt road off of Highway 34. You might be familiar with this highway; if you keep going west on Highway 34, from Loveland, you will come to the town of Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.

What I love most about the Chat is its varied, musical notes. They like to sit at the top of a shrub and sing! It likes to mimic the song of other species of birds.

It is an enjoyable experience to sit and listen to the Chat’s singing.

While visiting South Llano River State Park, the Chat would fly in to the yard of a blind, search around for just the right “puddle” of water and take a bath. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to hear it sing.

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Yellow-breasted Chat

I have a few more photos of the Yellow-breasted Chat that I will share.

Happy Birding!

~Birding in Texas, Painted Bunting, #2

~Painted Bunting, South Llano River State Park, Junction, TX, April, 2017

 

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“Do I still look handsome wet?”
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“I’am just thinking about how nice that felt. Think i’ll go again”
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Splash
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“Time to dry.”
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“Jeez, hurry up.”
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“I think I’am hungry now.”

After several good soakings, he flew toward the back of the bird blind and sat on this wire fence. He stayed there for awhile sunning himself. So pretty!

 

Happy Birding!

~Birding in Texas, Painted Bunting, #1

I don’t think an artist, given a blank canvas and asked to paint a bird, would have dreamt up the color combination of the Painted Bunting.

Reds, orange-reds, blues and greens all present in bold and iridescent shades, makes this male Bunting a striking specimen. Nature created magic with this beautiful bird.

Painted Bunting
Painted Bunting, male.

~

dressed

in

many

colors

a

sight

to

behold

~

I first saw this gorgeous bird at South Llano River State Park on April 13, 2014. It is number 365 on my Birding Life List. It was a thrill. Park staff told me when we checked in that one male Painted Bunting had arrived and was spotted at one of the bird blinds. I felt lucky to have seen it then and very happy to get to add it to my life list.

I took the photo above on April 17, 2017, and it was still a thrill to see this bunting.

More photos of the Painted Bunting to follow.

Happy Birding!

 

~Birding in Texas, Spotted-Towhee & a Texas Wildflower

 

~South Llano River State Park, Junction, TX, April, 2017

Spotted Towhee
Spotted Towhee

Nice to see the Spotted Towhee enjoying a bath. Towhees are one of my favorite birds.

 

Texas Wildflower

As you can see from the header photo above, spring was making its grand entrance. Lush green grasses and dazzling wildflowers were gracing the area with their presence.

 

Happy Birding!

Spotted Towhee
“See ya next time!”

 

 

~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!