Sunday, April 29, 2012

Spring Frio Pilgrimage

We headed for the Frio last weekend, and are never disappointed with the results. Even if Papa Wes sees NO birds, it would still be a restful and rejuvenating time for us.

 We are greeted at the office/home of Butch and Joyce Weston of Camp Live Oak north of Leakey, by the hummingbird feeders covered over with hummers. Joyce mentioned that their count was down, and the birds were just not going through the bird seed as quickly as years past. I was undaunted!

 First morning I headed down to my sanctuary spot on the East Frio branch. I soon heard the call of the Summer Tanager, and spotted him up in the branches of the cypress. (You'll see a better picture later, taken some years ago.)

 I heard a call I didn't recognize coming from the flood plain area below the cabins. On investigation, I spied this Blue Grosbeak. Sorry about the picture quality. I'll see if I can find another pic that's better quality.

 Hiking along a trail I heard a mama wren chattering, and paused to check out the action. Mom was concerned about Junior, a baby Carolina Wren, resting on the branch. Eventually he flew across the path to another larger tree/brushy area, and mom seemed to be relieved.

 One of my Frio spots is Neals, whether it's for supper at the Cafe, or a hike to the 'cattle guard' feeding station behind the store. This time I noticed some activity at the loaded-up loquat tree behind the store. A couple of Golden-fronted Woodpeckers were going after the fruit. This one then flew over to the oak tree by the road.

 My other 'can't miss' stop is Seven Bluff Cabins on River Road at what we always called 'second crossing', but seems some may consider it 'third crossing'. I can step from Frio Fergie's store porch into the pecan orchard, and immediately spy this Vermillion Flycatcher. (I promise a better view later in this post.)

 In the same orchard I hear the Golden-fronted Woodpecker above.

 A few steps over and this Eastern Bluebird lands. I give chase and get one more shot.

Here is my Frio Sanctuary at Camp Live Oak. There is no man-made chapel or cathedral that can match the beauty of this sanctuary. Holy ground!

The first time I was in the pecan grove at Seven Bluff, I got this shot of the Summer Tanager. I was hooked.

 Butch and Joyce Weston, our gracious hosts at Camp Live Oak.

 Back at Seven Bluff Cabins pecan grove, the Hooded Orioles were frolicking and giving chase around the grounds.

A better pic of the Vermillion Flycatcher at Seven Bluff. I only see this fellow at the Frio. It's that time of year, and you may still have time to head for the Frio for a nice variety of God's glory revealed in His creation.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

On the Hunt for Hummers

I can't resist concentrating on the hummingbirds when they come back to town. The Black-chinned seems most plentiful, but we get a look at a Ruby-throated this installment. As always, a few treats as some more summer regulars are showing up, and a surprise shot of some migrating birds. Enjoy.

If I stand close to the feeder at the porch, they'll come sit close by in the tree to stand guard. Good opportunity for a branch close-up.

He can't sit still, so he'll change positions to make sure he has the best view of his precious.

Rarely do I get a good close-up at the feeder, as they are usually too nervous.

Just a hint of that purple throat.

Just had to include this. I didn't see who he was sticking his tongue out at!

He likes to clean his bill on the branch.

Always lookin' for that flash of purple.

The lone sentinel.

This female gets a free ride at the feeder, and then drops in for a rest on the fence line.

There she is! Finally got a shot of Ruby showin' her stuff at the feeder.

This shot illustrates how you can tell them apart when you don't see the color in their throats. The Ruby-throated has a longer body, and the tail feathers split distinctly.

The White-crowned Sparrows are still hanging around my make-shift drip, even getting a sip sometimes.

Usually joined here by Cardinal, House Sparrows, female Red-winged Blackbirds, and an occasional Wren.

Noticed some activity out at the spigot by the drive, where we've piled up rocks so visitors won't run over it! A couple of Carolina Wrens building a nest in the rocks.

At the office deck I heard the tell-tale wheezy call of the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. He was out there in the oak looking for bugs.

He's very nervous, so it's tough to get a shot.

I was glad he came over and got in the sun a little so you could see he really is blue-gray! A very tiny bird.

The Eastern Phoebe is nesting under the office again, and flies out every time we drive in to park. She's usually out around the drive looking for flying bugs. This day her mouth was hanging open; maybe in anticipation of that next catch.

I'm sure there is a reason!

We close with a special treat. Saw these guys and just got off some shots because of the rare sight. They formed two or more 'V's as they flew.

After googling, found out these are American White Pelicans, at least 230 by my count, headed from their Gulf Coast wintering grounds to their British Columbia summer home. They make their trip in the March/April time frame. That's a long way to fly!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April on the Porch

The days have been soft and warming up, but quite enjoyable on the porch. Here's a sampling of my afternoons on the porch. Enjoy.

I have spied a Ruby-throated, but no pics yet. This is the Black-chinned hummingbird.

Hung in there just long enough to catch some of that neon purple on his chin!

He's guarding the feeder from about 15' away.

The very loud Carolina Wren out on the fence line near the Banks Rose.

Waiting to see if they will make their nest again in our church house on the porch.

Spread some stones and seed near a water drip, and the Inca Dove came for supper.

A little running water always promotes some action.

I was really excited to see the Orange-crowned Warbler come near because of the drip.

He checked out the ground for a minute, but didn't seem that interested in seed or water.

Then he flew up into the upper branches of the rose and went after something, I'm thinking a moth.

It was quite a kafuffle, but I couldn't see what he caught.

Maybe air!

The White-crowned Sparrows seemed to be really drawn out in numbers by the drip.

There were 8 males at one time.

I'm enjoying them for now.

The drip provided some bathing opportunities in the grass.

They'll be gone before long, so we'll be looking for their summer replacements with anticipation.