Anniversary

I took my first bird photo on June 13, 2011.  Those of you that have been following me from the beginning (all three of you) know that those first pics were taken with a Kodak Easyshare that I borrowed from my daughter.  A few months later a bought a Canon Rebel T3 and then, last Christmas I bought a Sigma 500mm lens.  In the past few weeks a friend of mine, John Rodriguez, has been helping me to improve my photography, a Herculean Task if ever there was one.  I haven’t seen anything new around here in the past few weeks so I thought I’d take a cue from television and repost a few of my favorite photos from the last year.

This photo of a Curve-billed Thrasher was taken last July with the EasyShare.  CB Thrashers aren’t shy and are quite inquisitive, making them ideal subjects for photography

Curved-billed Thrasher

I took this landscape early one morning last September at Fritch Fortress.  There is a Great blue Heron silhouetted against the morning light reflecting off of the water.  I love the colors in this one.great-blue-heron-at-sunrise

The next three were taken in October-an American Avocet in non-breeding plumage on a cloudy day, american-avocet-3a Rufous-crowned Sparrow, rufous-crowned-sparrow-12and a Greater Roadrunnergreater-roadrunner-46

Another sparrow, a White-crowned Sparrow this time, a winter visitor to the panhandle.white-crowned-sparrow-9

An Eastern Meadowlark puffed up against the December cold.  eastern-meadowlarkI have a lot of trouble telling the Eastern race from the Western one. The easist way is by their song, Eastern Meadowlarks have a more plaintive song and the Western Meadowlarks is more melodic and complicated.

A Ladder-backed Woodpecker searches for a meal.ladder-backed-woodpecker-41

The Curve-billed Thrasher is not happy about this mid-December snow storm.curve-billed-thrasher-6

A Common Loon at a small pond in Spring Canyon. I was surprised to see him in such a small pond.  They are one of the most primitive birds on the planet and have solid bones to facilitate diving.  It also makes it difficult to take off on a short runway.common-loon-14

A covey of Northern Bobwhites watch a late January sunrise.northern-bobwhite

One my favorite birds is the American Kestrel.  This one was hunting from a small tree near Fritch Fortress.american-kestrel-31

Lake Meredith is a wintering ground for numerous waterfowl and a rest stop for many others that winter further south.

Here’s a Hooded Merganserhooded-merganser-36

and a Lesser Scaup.  lesser-scaup-6Some days last January there were hundreds of waterfowl on the lake.

There was a pair of Belted Kingfishers at Spring Canyon.belted-kingfisher-5

This Bald Eagle was one of at least 17 that wintered at Meredith.  bald-eagle-320I saw the first ones in November and the last one left in late April.

American Pelicans and Double-crested Cormorants arrived at about the same time as the Bald Eagles.  I was able to photograph the pelicans on a rare windless morning preening on a sandbar at Fritch Fortress.  american-white-pelican-31This Double-crested Cormorant  was riding low in the water early one morning at Spring Canyon.  double-crested-cormorant-in-first-light-1280x880Cormorants have feathers that are not waterproof, helping them to dive for fish.  After feeding they sit on rocks or sandbars (or on the spillway walls at Spring Canyon) with their wings outstretched to dry  them.

One morning at Jim’s Lake I saw these Wild Turkey toms strutting around.  They were a part of a flock of 20 or more birds.wild-turkey-9-1280x914

I watched this juvenile Red-tailed Hawk floating in the breeze about 10 meters off a cliff at Fritch Fortress one evening. Red-tailed hawk juvenile-1258x777 He hung there for several minutes and then dropped down into some weeds and I was unable to get into position to see if he caught anything.

A Green Heron at Spring Canyon. green-heron-8-1280x879

This Northern Mockingbird is performing a display ritual that involves singing lustily and ‘skylarking’–springing into the air and floating back down to the oringinal perch with wings and tail flaired widely.

northern-mockingbird-28-1280x854

This is an Eared Grebe in breeding plumage.eared-grebe-31-1280x816

A tiny Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, barely as long as his name.blue-grey-gnatcatcher-3-1280x966

A portrait of an Eastern Kingbird.eastern-kingbird-3-1280x874

I caught this Scissor-tailed flycatcher scratching the back of his head on a mesquite thorn.scissor-tailed-flycatcher-81-1280x957

My first warblers- a Yellow Warbler yellow-warbler-2-1280x930and a Common Yellowthroat.common-yellowthroat-5-1132x769

A Blue Grosbeak showed up in late April at spring Canyon blue-grosbeak-36-1280x864and this Mississippi Kite arrived about the first of May.Mississippi-Kite-13-1024x674

A pair of late season migrating Sandhill Cranes sandhill-crane-15-1280x851were my first listing on eBird’s rarities list, as did some late White-rumped Sandpipers.

White Ibis aren’t exactly rare but they are very unusual looking.  white-faced-ibis-13-1280x900There were about a dozen of them at the Playa Lake north of Panhandle, Tx the same morning that I saw the Sandhill Cranes.

Spring Canyon is home to dozens of Red-winged Blackbirds.red-winged-blackbird-53-1280x884

All-in-all, a very wonderful year for a rookie birder and photographer.

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