Tag Archives: Summer Tanager

~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!

~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)