Friday, March 7, 2014

March Birds at South Llano River SP

On our way back to New Mexico for a quick family visit, we stopped for the night at South Llano River State Park, near Junction, TX. We were hoping to see some Wild Turkeys on this, our third stop-over there. We saw them on our first visit, but Danielle had camera problems that kept her from getting any photos.

This morning, we took a walk from the campground, down towards the low-water crossing near the park entrance, hoping to get a sight of them. On the way, we stopped to look at one of several bird blinds in the park. This was a really nice setup complete with large rock formation with natural-rock fountain. We may try to create something similar at home.

In our short stay at the blind we saw quite a variety of birds, including some we had not identified before. Images taken with either Canon SX-50 HS or Canon 60D / EF 70-200mm f/4L

Northern Cardinal - We woke up to the sounds of the male cardinals singing ... purdy, purdy, cheep, cheep, cheep ... and saw a few more of them at the feeding station. These are also a regular at home.

American Robin - Though these are a common species, we almost never see them at home and never up close. I was delighted to see one show up on the fountain here. Soon, the whole fountain was covered with them as both males and females arrived in ones and twos, drinking at the water's edge.

Cedar Waxwing - These were the next notable visitor to the fountain. These showed up en-masse. Never see just one waxwing. The coloration on these has such a smooth gradient that they look like they are made of colored wax. They splashed vigorously in the water and departed. I have seen one mass arrival of these at the house a few years ago.

Hermit Thrush - I think I have the identification on this correct. We saw one lone specimen briefly at the fountain. Here at the gray stone, I wait for the thrush to knock ... or so the elves told me.

Spotted Towhee - This is the second time I have seen one of these.  The first was in December in the Organ Mountains in New Mexico.  There were a couple this morning, picking for seeds in the underbrush, never venturing far out into the open.

White-Crowned Sparrow - This was one of several varieties of sparrows to visit, all of which were new to our identification list but abundant here. These remained mostly on the ground digging for seeds in the dirt, only occasionally getting on the fountain. The mature adults were fairly obvious with the prominent head strip.

Immature White-Crowned Sparrow - This identification took a while as I am not used to looking for immature varieties. The identification was suggested on the Birds of Texas Facebook group. Once suggested to me, it seems very apparent. Compared to the adult, the overall shape is the same, the bill color is the same and the placement of the stripes is the same. Only the colors are different. We also saw adult and immature birds together later in our trip.

Black-Throated Sparrow - Yet another new sparrow for me. Also very easy to distinguish from other species. These mingled with the white crowned digging for seeds.

Fox Sparrow - Yet another sparrow for the collection. I only saw one of these today, first here on the fountain and later foraging under some branches on the ground. This was a larger sparrow with bold rust coloring. The belly and throat patterns look similar to the hermit thrush.

Immature Chipping Sparrow - This sparrow I am still not sure of. I am now thinking it is an immature chipping sparrow based on the full eyeline and the streaky dull russet crown with a bit of a center stripe. I did not note any adult chipping sparrows.

Orange-Crowned Warbler - This is a species I think I also saw at Lake Georgetown, but there I was frustrated trying to get a picture through the brush. I am fairly certain of the identification on this one. We only saw one of these at the blind.

Wild Turkey - We packed up the trailer and headed out, having failed to see any turkeys on our walk. As we drove out of the park, we found them crossing the road and heading up hill onto private property. We stopped at the side of the road and watched them for a few minutes. I had never noticed that bunch of hairy feathers sticking out of the chest of the males. Apparently, it is called a "beard."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Relevant comments and questions are welcome but submissions with spam-links will not be published.