Friday, May 24, 2013

An Exceptional Park

Sunday morning we set off on the 100+ mile drive from Uvalde to Junction, where we wanted to do some birding in the South Llano River State Park.

After we crossed the South llano River just inside the park, we noticed that an adjacent field had several exotic animals, including some beautiful antelopes. We were told later than the owner of that piece of land breeds a variety of exotic antelope and deer. 

A couple of hundred yards further along the entrance road we stopped at Laura's Blind, one of four excellent and comfortable bird blinds spread around the park. Each blind looks onto a small area where park staff scatter around bird seed every morning and afternoon. Each area also has a water feature, which really draws in the birds.

Half-a-dozen male Painted Buntings were the first birds to catch our eye. How could these beautifully colored birds not be the first thing you look at!

There were female Painted Buntings, too, of course.

Mixed in with the Buntings were House Finches and Lark Sparrows (below).

Field Sparrows seemed tiny in comparison to the Lark Sparrows.

Black-crested Titmice made frequent trips to pick up seeds.

White-winged Doves wandered about on the ground and cooed from the trees, while three Brown-headed Cowbirds (below) came in to feed.

A couple of Western Scrub Jays made a dramatic entrance although, remarkably for Scrub Jays, they were almost totally silent.

A few minutes later saw the arrival of one of species I'd most wanted to see, a Black-throated Sparrow. What stunning little birds these are!

There was so much activity at this blind that it was really difficult to tear ourselves away from it. However, we decided we should head to the Visitor Center to renew our annual state park and then check out other parts of the park.

As we left the blind, a large snake was sitting by the path with its head reared up. 

We'd been in the park less than an hour and already it had turned out to be well worth the long drive from Houston.

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