Monday, May 27, 2013

South Llano River SP

As we approached the Visitor Center, we noticed that a Purple Martin house there was busy with both Purple Martins and the inevitable House Sparrows. The front porch of the Center had several hummingbird feeders that were attracting large numbers of both male and female Black-chinned Hummingbirds.

The Visitor Center staff were very friendly and they showed us how to get to the other three bird blinds.

We started by visiting the Agarita Blind, which is just a minute's walk behind the Visitor Center. The birds here were mainly the same species as we had seen at the first blind, and Painted Buntings were again the stars of the show.

However, there were a few different birds, including a female Summer Tanager.

A male Indigo Bunting was another new bird for the trip.

So, too, was an Inca Dove.

I was a little surprised to see a Pine Siskin.

The water feature at this blind offered several bathing areas for the birds, and the latter took full advantage of them. The bathers included Field Sparrow, Northern Cardinal and Painted Bunting.

A White-eyed Vireo dashed in and out of the water half-a-dozen times but never stayed long enough for me to get a photo. Another bird that I missed photographing was a Bewick's Wren, which perched and sang briefly from a tree top. 

A Yellow-breasted Chat stayed around longer and took a leisurely bath.

The final two blinds were much less busy with birds. However, we would probably have been thrilled by them if we hadn't been spoiled by the number and variety of birds at the first two blinds.

Back at Laura's Blind we watched a Golden-fronted Woodpecker fly in to drink.

As it was now getting very hot, we left the park, pausing to let a Wild Turkey cross the road ahead of us. We drove into Junction and had an excellent Mexican lunch. Then we checked into our motel, the Legends Inn. It turned out to be as comfortable as on-line reviews had led us to expect.

Dee decided to rest but I wanted to explore the area, so I drove to the city park. I scoured the river banks with binoculars, looking unsuccessfully for Green Kingfishers. There were several other birds, though, including Eastern Wood-Pewee, Eastern Bluebirds, Western Kingbirds and Bronzed Cowbirds.

A group of maybe a hundred Black Vultures were resting under trees just outside the park and it was odd to see one of them cross to wade in the water in the company of several exotic geese.

A Great Blue Heron looked on.  

The following day we were due to head home to Houston. However, I planned to return to do some early morning birding at South Llano River SP and then to take Dee back there for another couple of hours before setting off down I-10.


Dorothy Borders said...

Wonderful pictures. Makes me want to go back.

Jeff said...

I'm just glad we were over that way before the flooding!

Marilyn Kircus said...

Gorgeous pictures. I ended up having to drive 2000 miles in three and a half days because I HAD to join friends on our annual birding/paddling visit to South Llano River State Park. We didn't see any green kingfishers either and usually see a few while paddling. I heard a couple of chats but didn't see any so was glad to see your pictures.

Dag Norman said...

Exciting birdphotos on your blog again, -leaving Norway on Monday and will be in Galveston many flight-hours later, loaded with cameras and eyes of winged individuals, I can not wait, :-)!


Dag Norman said...

:-), correction: Eyes for winged individuals, not of, I think, :-)!

Jeff said...

I'm going to get a Green Kingfisher one of these days!

Jeff said...

Hope you have a good flight, Dag. Be sure to cross over from Galveston to Bolivar Peninsula on the ferry, watching for Magnificent Frigatebirds on the way. There should be good shorebirds at the shorebird sanctuary and lots of good birds at Rollover Pass. The Smith Oaks rookery at High Island is always entertaining, too.