Tag Archives: South Llano State Park

~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!


Water Fall Imitation


Today’s Feathered Friend:

Summer Tanager


`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


`Yellowish below, slightly darker above

`Yellowish bill

`Olive-green upper parts

`Orange-yellow under parts


`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



Paying-Ready-Attention (Wild Bird Wednesday)


Prairie Birder (Feathers on Friday)






~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!




~Friday’s Feathered Friend-Orchard Oriole~

This was my first sighting of the Orchard Oriole
This was my first sighting of the Orchard Oriole



Added to my Birding Life List on April 13, 2014

South Llano State Park

Junction, Texas



Since a lot of birders are talking about the Orioles and their migration, I thought I would post my Friday’s Feathered Friend on the Orchard Oriole. It was fun seeing this bird for the first time a few weeks ago.

I will say, as everyone is pointing out, its time to put your Oriole feeders out; it is easy to do. Cut a few oranges in half and place some grape jelly in a dish and you might have a beautiful Oriole in your yard. Here in Colorful Colorado we have the Bullock’s Oriole.

Orchard Oriole
Orchard Oriole

Orchard Oriole:


`small Oriole  6-7.75 in length

`black-hood, back and wings

`burnt-orange underparts

`single-white wing bar

`white-edged flight feathers on wings

`chestnut underparts

`chestnut rump and shoulders

`black-tail with narrow white tips


`olive upperparts

`yellowish underparts

`dusky wings with two white wing bard


Their song sounds like this:

look here, what cheer, wee yo, what cheer, whip yo, what wheer

I happy bird I would say!

Population status: common to fairly common in open woodland, farmlands, scrub-mesquite, shade trees and orchards. Declining in parts of western range. They eat fruit and nectar.

Conservation: Neotropical migrant, Common host to cowbird parasitism (sad)


  • **information above taken from Smithsonian handbooks, Birds of North America**



Enjoy Birdwatching!

It can be entertaining as well as educational!



SBS: ~Cedar Waxwing~

Sheila’s Bird Shots: ~Cedar Waxwing~

~ Onyx Eyes ~
~ Onyx Eyes ~

gazing down at me 

onyx eyes tell a story

leave me be, resting

            By Sheila: August 23, 2013

I photographed these Cedar Waxwings in March, 2013 at South Llano State Park. Waxwings are gregarious and true to this description I saw many of them. 

Red, waxy tips on secondary wing feathers are often indistinct and sometimes absent altogether. All waxwings have sleek crests, silky plumage and yellow-tipped tails. Where berries are ripening, waxwings come to feast in amiable, noisy flocks. [description taken from one of my favorite birding books “National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America.]

The “Smithsonian Handbook: Birds of North America, Western Region” states the description of the red, waxy tips differently.  It states – the purpose of the “red wax” is long-debated, but younger birds do not have it and the older birds that do often choose each other as mates and produce more young that the younger pairs.

Waxwings eats fruit, flower petals and insects; and drinks sap. One way to distinguish between males and females is the color of the throat. Females have a brownish throat, the males a blackish throat.

March, still looks like winter.
Still Looks Wintery
Berries and a shy Cedar Waxwing
Berries and a shy Cedar Waxwing
Cedar Waxwing [Hmm, taking a break]
Lovely Cedar Waxwing

I might have mentioned before, South Llano State Park in Junction, Texas is one of my all time favorites.

Sunset Colors ~On the South Llano River~ [this photo taken in November, 2011
Sunset Colors ~On the South Llano River~
[this photo taken in November, 2011
An Old Picket Fence (taken at South Llano State Park)
An Old Picket Fence (photo taken at South Llano State Park in November, 2011)

Berries in South Llano State Park.