Tag Archives: South Llano State Park

~Carolina Chickadee gathering nesting material

Photo taken in South Llano State Park

Junction, Texas-March, 2017

 

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Carolina Chickadee

Our Keeshond has lots of fur, so I try to brush her often. While camped at South Llano State Park a few days ago, I got our her brushes.

After I was finished brushing Skye, I placed several clumps of her fur in the surrounding trees near our RV site. It is almost spring and I noticed the birds were starting to gather materials for nest building. What better nest material than thick, soft doggie fur?

It didn’t take long for the birds to find Skye’s present. With amusement, I sat back and watched this Carolina Chickadee pull apart a ball of fur and fly off with it toward a distant tree. Perfect!

 

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Skye likes to share!

 

 

 

 

~A Change of Scenery

~

Easy and slow,

is the way, 

we want to go,

doing our best,

to relieve our stress

.~

Holding lovely memories,

in our hearts,

adding new ones,

as we enjoy,

what comes next.

~

Well, it has been eleven months since we have traveled in our RV. We arrived home at the end of March, 2016 and haven’t  been out on the road since. We elected to stay home with Kloudy, because of her illness and we have no regrets with that decision.

A week ago we decided a change of scenery was needed, so we hit the road. Our first night we stayed in Lamar, Colorado, second night we stayed at Amarillo Ranch,  in Amarillo, Texas, the third night, Lake Colorado City State Park, in Colorado City, Texas.

OoO Lake Colorado City State Park:

Site 46, Lake Colorado City State Park
Site 46 at Lake Colorado City State Park. Quiet, nice sites, not crowded, beautiful sunsets.
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A great place to spend a couple quiet nights. Lots of space between sites.

For four nights we stayed at South Llano State Park in Junction, Texas. This state park is a birders paradise and one of my favorites. The weather has been wonderful, not too cool and not too warm, and no rain! The park is still experiencing late winter, but if you look closely you can see spring trying hard to grab hold. Also, the male birds are dressed in breading plumage and chasing the ladies around. I wish it was April, because I believe we would have seen a lot more birds.

OoO South Llano State Park, Junction, Texas

Site 34, South Llano State Park
Site 33. Huge sites, plenty of birds and deer, lots of hiking trails.

We have seen twenty-five species of birds, including Wild Turkeys, which this park is known for. We enjoyed a few fun walks and a few trips into town to eat at some of the local restaurants. Junction has some excellent BBQ places. And, we met lots of wonderful, nice people. Why is it that we find the people down south so darn friendly?

OoO We are headed somewhere we have never stayed before. Waco, Texas here we come!

I want to walk around The Silos, eat at some of the food trucks located there, and of course eat a cupcake at Joanna’s Bakery. I have fallen in love with the Gaines family from Fixer Upper and thought, what the heck, lets go visit Waco.

Hoping to tour downtown Waco and find a few neat shops to browse. And, maybe tour a few antique stores, if I can convince Howard what fun that might be!

It is amazing how many people are staying in Waco, just to visit The Silos. We arrived today at Riverview RV Park, Waco, Texas, after trying several other parks (all full). A neighbor told us that he felt there were at least four hundred people at The Silos on Thursday! Wow!

Our ride here from South Llano State Park, at first was most enjoyable, traveling the back roads of Texas (which we love to do) on highways 377 and 29. Beautiful, rustic towns along the route, especially  Mason, with Bluebonnets blooming almost the entire way.

Highway 29, taken from a pull off.
Bluebonnets along the side of a Texas highway. Taken from a pull-off, when we stopped for a short break.

We wanted to get on I-35 at Georgetown, which we did without any trouble. But, further north driving through Tempe it was awful, lots of construction, which had traffic backed up for miles. There were two accidents within a mile of each other, one going south bound and one going north bound. Horrible!

OoO Anyway, I have several photos of the birds I saw at South Llano State Park, which I will be posting. It will be to get back to blogging, it has been awhile.

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Vermilion Flycatcher. Check out the new growth.

Has anyone been to Waco, Texas to visit The Silos?

 

 

~Today’s Feathered Friend – silky-tailed songbirds~

 

Cedars have velvety chests of gold,

and crests fitting of a king,

their colors so prominent and bold.

~

While wearing a black facial mask,

and smiling, it appears,

stealing berries their task.

~

Bright as the sun, a tail dipped in yellow,

distinguished with age,

are these fellows.

~

Among the ladies, they are measured,

 for their waxy, red, wing tip,

and then granted pleasure.

 

 

Cedar Waxwing
Cedar Waxwing

 

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A Cedar Waxwing sitting in an Oak Tree

 

Gregarious by nature
Gregarious by nature

 

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Sun-streaked in beauty

~

a charming, courtship ritual they exhibit,

while sitting on the branch of a tree,

passing a cherry, insect or petal of a flower,

back and forth to each other,

until the gift is accepted, freely

~

A pool party
A pool party!

 

We have never seen so many Cedar Waxwings in one location. It was fun watching them come in for a drink. In all the photos I captured of them drinking, there was always one Cedar preforming the task of “lookout”. Photos taken in April 2014 in South Llano State Park, Junction, Texas. I was using my Canon 70D with Canon EF 75-300mm 1:4-5.6 lens.

 

Added to my Birding Life List

on o6/09/87

Loveland, Colorado

(with Ann Means, my birding friend

and my Mom who came for a visit [special])

 

Sharing with: Wild Bird Wednesday

http://paying-ready-attention-gallery.blogspot.com

~

Prairie Birder

http://prairiebirder.wordpress.com

 

 

~Today’s Feathered Friend-Color me Indigo~

A Tanka

~

unique in color,

depending on how the sun,

shines its light on him,

a deep blue to purple sheen,

is how seen, his name Bunting

~

What a beautiful bird!
What a beautiful little bird measuring only 5 1/4 to 5 3/4 inches

 

 Today’s Feathered Friend:

Indigo Bunting

 

Male:

`deep-colored bright blue overall (breeding plumage)

`only North American small finch to appear blue all over

`blue-purple head

`dark blue to black lores

`blue edging to blackish wings and tail

`dark gray conical bill

Female:

`plain, but beautiful brown

`two tawny buff wing bars

`short, gray, conical bill

`blue-edged feathers on wings and tail

Facts:

`populations are expanding with the creation of disturbed habitat after logging, highway and power line    construction and from farmland abandonment (yeah to expanding)

`likes forest edges, roadsides, hedges, dry brush lands, orchards, open woods, creeks and rivers

`eats grasshoppers, beetles, weevils, aphids, cicadas, cankerworms, span worms, flies, dandelion seeds, aster, thistle, grasses, grains, berries and more

`nests in raspberry and other shrubs

`song is a sweet-sweet, where-where, here-here, see-it/see-it (pretty melody)

`many are killed, while migrating at night, striking power lines and tall buildings (wind farms next?)

`neotropical migrant, flight speed measured at 20 m.p.h

`common hosts to cowbird parasitism 😦

 

Indigo Bunting taking a bath
Deep blue with purple sheen on head

 

Splish-Splash I'am taking a bath
“Splish-Splash I’am taking a bath”

 

**If  you want to learn more about the Indigo Bunting, please go to The Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American Birds, Smithsonian Handbooks, Birds of North America and Stokes Field Guide to Birds. I used these sources for my information.

Artsy background highlighting a beautiful Indigo Bunting
Artsy background highlighting a beautiful Indigo Bunting (I played with the background in this photo.)

 

Added to my Birding Life List

on o7/12/88

Sky Rocket Road, Loveland, Colorado

(with my amazing birding mentor- Ann Means)

 

 Photos taken at South Llano River State Park in April of 2014 while sitting in a bird blind. I was using my Canon 70D with Canon EF 75-300mm 1:4-5.6 lens (no stabilization).

 

 

Links:

Paying-Ready-Attention (Wild Bird Wednesday)

http://paying-ready-attention-gallery.blogspot.com

Prairie Birder (Feathers on Friday)

http://prairiebirder.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~My Contribution to Good Fences #9~

 

My contribution to

Good Fences

http://run-a-roundranch.blogspot.ca

~

aged wood, creatively used,

constructed into a fence,

surrounds a yard.

 

filled with water falls,

feeding stations and birds,

a place where they, feel safe.

~

 

 

White-winged Doves sitting on an old fence
White-winged Doves sitting on an old fence

 

This fence is in South Llano River State Park, Junction, Texas

 

~Today’s Feathered Friend-Color Me a Rosy Red~

 

A Haiku

~

large bright yellow bill

color me a rosy red

my name, Tanager

~

Summer Tanager eyeing  a suet feeder
Summer Tanager eyeing a suet feeder

 

Figuring it out!
Figuring it out!

 

Imitation
Water Fall Imitation

 

Today’s Feathered Friend:

Summer Tanager

Male:

`Seven and three-quarters inches in length

`Bright rosy red overall – all year

`Large yellowish bill (more yellow during breeding season)

`Darker red wings and tail

Female:

`Yellowish below, slightly darker above

`Yellowish bill

`Olive-green upper parts

`Orange-yellow under parts

Facts:

`Tanager is from language of Tupi Indians of Amazon region, who called these brightly colored tree-drelling birds tangaras

`Most common North American tanager in its range – eastern and southern United States

`Song is Robin like and is a repeated Pick-a-Tuck

`Eats mostly bees and wasps and known to catch them right out of the air

`Habitat: Pine Oak woods, willows and cottonwoods, along streams

`Likes peanut butter and cornmeal from your feeder

~Neotropical migrant

~Vulnerable to habitat loss and forest fragmentation

`Host to Cowbirds, uncommon {yeah}

`Usually monogamous and many appear to remain in pairs all year

`Information taken from several sources including: Stokes Field Guide to Birds and Smithsonian Handbook Birds of North America, NGS Birds of North America

 

Going to get a cool drink of water
Going to get a cool drink of water

 

A beautiful Summer Tanager
A beautiful male Summer Tanager

 

Large Yellowish Bill
Large Yellowish Bill

While camping at South Llano State Park in April of 2014, I captured these photos while sitting in a bird blind. It was a thrill to see this beautiful Summer Tanager up close. I also saw the female, but didn’t manage to capture her with my camera. She was pretty shy!

The Field Sparrow told me about this water slide
“The Field Sparrow told me about this water slide”

 

He was right: "This is fun!"
“He was right this is fun!”

 

~

Added to my Birding Life List in April, 2007

at Dead Horse Ranch State Park

Cottonwood, Arizona

~

 My Birding Life List – 366

 

Links:

Paying-Ready-Attention (Wild Bird Wednesday)

http://paying-ready-attention-gallery.blogspot.com

Prairie Birder (Feathers on Friday)

http://prairiebirder.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

~Friday’s Feathered Friend – Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher~

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

~

Added to my Birding Life List on December 20, 2011

Jonathan Dickinson State Park

Hobe Sound, Florida

~

I linked to PrairieBirder: http://PrairieBirder.Wordpress.com

 

 

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher
Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

 

Such a tiny little bird, only 4.25 inches! It looks like a very small mockingbird.

`Male has bluish-gray upper parts and the female is more gray

`White eye ring

`Long black tail with white outer feathers

`Black bill

`Black legs

Lovely little bird (white eye ring)
The white eye ring gives this lovely little bird big facial expressions

 

The Blue-gray gnatcatcher feed entirely on insects, which it pursues actively through the foliage of tall trees. Catches insects in flight. May hover briefly above food before taking it in its bill.

Its nest is interesting, a small cup made up of plant fibers, down and decorated on the outside with bits of lichen. This lovely little bird can be spotted in woodlands, thickets and chaparral.

When breeding it is monogamous and is a solitary nester. Its eggs are incubated 13 days by both sexes, stays in nest for 10-12 days and fed by both sexes. They usually will have one brood per year maybe two in the far south.

**information above taken from Smithsonian handbooks, National Geographic Society, Birds of North America**

Breeding male I believe, bacause of black line on sides of crown.
Breeding male I believe, bacause of black line on sides of crown.

 

Conservation: neotropical migrant. Common victim of cowbird parasitism

Population: common, increasing with range expanding northeasterly

 

Neotropical Migrant – (noun) A bird that spends the summer in its breeding range in North America but migrates to Central or South America for its nonbreeding range in winter. The winter range may also include the Caribbean, and the general dividing line between breeding and nonbreeding ranges is the Tropic of Cancer at 23 degrees north latitude, though the entire range does not need to be either north or south of that division for the bird to be considered a neotropical migrant.

More than 200 species of birds are considered neotropical migrants, including at least a few species in most bird families. Many warblers,hummingbirds and shorebirds are neotropical migratory birds, as are some hawks and many other songbirds.

The exact distance and route of migration between breeding and nonbreeding ranges varies for each species, and migration time between the separate ranges may take anywhere from just a few weeks to several months. It is essential to conserve habitat not only in the birds’ different ranges, but also along principle migratory flyways so birds will have sufficient feeding and resting areas to successfully complete their journeys. (taken from the web, written by Melissa Mayntz.

 

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher  (long black tail with white outer feathers)
Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher (long black tail with white outer feathers)

 

I took these photos, on April 13, 2014, sitting in the coach with the window glass open and the screen pulled back; what a nice bird blind it made. This oak tree was not too far away and this little guy fluttered around catching insects for awhile. We were camped at South Llano River State Park in Junction, Texas.

~

Enjoy Birdwatching!

It can be entertaining as well as educational!

~