Saturday, March 10, 2012

Some Little Birds of Big Bend

Catching up on a few photos today while it rains and storms on the gulf coast.  The weather reminds me a lot of Seattle actually or home.  Cold in the high 50's, windy, drizzly.  We did take the RV out for exercise, to wash off salt spray, refill propane tank, and drain the wastewater tanks.  Sraddha did the whole thing while I sat in the co-pilot seat so she could get familiar with everything in case she needs to do it herself.  She did great.

While reviewing photos last night i uncovered a whole unedited album from our next to last day in Big Bend Park.  150 photos which I narrowed down to 6 or 7 and then worked them over.  We had driven down to our favorite riverside spot along the Rio Grande river, the hot springs, for a little meditation and soak. We then hiked about 1/2 mile to the springs.

Along the way and return, we saw several birds. The day was overcast and light was bland, however, with a little effort I was able to get some of the pictures to look ok.  Not great but ok. All photos shot with 300mm telephoto (200 and 1.4 extender). Notice that the markings of all these birds really blend in with their surroundings so their enemies have a harder time seeing them.

As we walked back to parking lot we heard this warbler deep in the reeds and finally spotted him peeking out from the reeds 
Orange Crowned Warbler 
Above the hot springs this Phoebe would sit on a bare branch looking for insects, then quickly dart out to grab it and zoom back to his perch
Say's Phoebe looking for insects
 While lounging in the hot springs,  I spotted this Sandpiper cruising the shallow river bank seeking out little morsels like snails, insects, tadpoles, etc.  He was quick but I managed to get this photo
Spotted Sandpiper catching a morsel in the river
 We could hear this little Canyon Wren with its distinctive call.  Took me a while to find him and then he darts up and down the cliffside rocks.
Elusive Canyon Wren up on cliffs
On the way home Sraddha spotted a coyote, so we stopped by the side of the road whereupon we also spotted this hawk perched on a dead mesquite branch about 5 feet off the ground but 50 yards away from the road
Cooper's Hawk looking for somebody to make a mistake so he can have lunch
 As we watched, the coyote moved through the bushes towards the road and then crossed behind us.  I got this photo from the car as he passed maybe 20 feet from car.  We could hear the coyotes all night from the campground but this was first one we saw.
Coyote lurking around in middle of the morning
I fly back home tomorrow for 2 weeks to do some work in the office while Sraddha remains in one of her favorite birding spots.  Spring migration is just beginning and she hopes to see lots of birds. I hope to post a couple more times
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