Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Birding in the Rain at Balmorhea SP

Below is a slide show of some birds we saw a Balmorhea and Davis Mountains State Parks over the Thanksgiving weekend. The weather was rainy most of the time so we struggled with the low light. It did allow me to test the rain cover that I made last week for the camera using the same scrap material I had previously used for the cover on the flash tele-extender.

My biggest excitement on this trip was finally adding a Verdin to my life list. This is a small bushtit-like bird with a yellow head. Now, I need to find one willing to pose for a closer picture.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Pied-billed Grebe Strikes it Big

This afternoon, we went to Devine Lake Park in Leander TX to look for birds. We found a nice assortment of waterfowl on the lake including: Canvasback, Redhead, American Widgeon, Ring-necked Duck, Ruddy Duck, and Pied-billed Grebes. A number of people were fishing, though I did not see anyone catch anything. This grebe, however, scored it big. After grabbing this bass, it flew along the water to escape the other nearby grebe.

Rufous Hummingbird at the Feeder

This morning, we watched a mature male Rufous Hummingbird at our window feeder again. This individual has been around for a couple of weeks. Today, rather than shooting still shots, I tried a short video sequence with the DSLR and extracted a few interesting frames.

The video snippet is posted on YouTube. It was still challenging to get any semblance of consistent focus. I slowed it down to 1/2 speed to emphasize the hypnotic motion of the wings.

I also managed to get a shot of one of the recently arrived Yellow-rumped Warblers feeding in the Wax Myrtle.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Baby Rattler at Camp Tejas

While birding at Camp Tejas on Lake Georgetown this afternoon, Danielle came across this little baby Western Diamondback rattle snake sunning itself on the path. Threatened, it slithered off to the side of the trail and assumed a defensive posture. I have read that the number of rattles cannot be used to age a snake since the end can wear off. This one, however, still has the "button" on the end and only a couple of additional rings. The snake was about 1/2" in diameter and perhaps 14" long. Seems like it is probably still in its first year.  We left the snake in peace and continued looking for late afternoon birds.

Danielle posted a video at

Oh, and there were some birds to be seen too, though they pale in comparison. We spent some time watching this American Kestrel perching and hunting from across the river. This very magnified sequence is the bird just after a kill. Even with the spotting scope, we were not sure what its prey was.

We also saw both White-crowned and White-throated sparrows but no other species of "winter sparrows." We got a few nice shots of the White-crowned sparrow.