Wednesday, May 29, 2013

South Llano River State Park Again

On my way into the park early on Monday morning, I had to stop to let a couple of Wild Turkeys cross the road.

Perhaps because it was still cool, the Laura and Agarita blinds didn't produce any great sightings, although there were quite a few birds at both stations.

Cottontails and jackrabbits popped up along the trails. This cottontail stayed motionless, even when I came within four feet of it.

This jackrabbit also seemed unconcerned by my presence.

After 90 minutes I drove back to the motel to pick up Dee and we headed out together for our final visit to the park.

As the Laura blind was quiet, we soon moved on to the Agarita blind. On the trail we stopped to admire a Ladder-backed Woodpecker.

When I planned our visit to Junction, I had assumed that I would do a lot of birding: that is, I would spend much of the time walking trails and looking for birds, and particularly new birds such as Green Kingfisher, Black-capped Vireo and Zone-tailed Hawk. As it turned out, though, it was so much fun watching the birds at the blinds that I did hardly any real birding.  

However, I did get lucky with new birds in our last hour or so at the park.

On the way to the Agarita Blind, I stopped to check out a Turkey Vulture in case it was actually a Zone-tailed Hawk. I'd done the same with every one of the scores of Vultures that we'd seen on the weekend but to no avail. This time was different, though!

After this, we stayed watching the bird activity at Agarita until our planned departure time of 11:30. 

There were Painted Buntings, of course. 

A Magnolia Warbler made a very brief appearance but a Wilson's Warbler (below) stayed to bathe.

At 11:30 we were just getting into our the car to head back to Houston when we were approached by a man who asked what birds we'd seen. We chatted for a minute and I mentioned that we'd missed seeing the Black-capped Vireo. "Oh, I can show you where two are nesting," he told us. It turned out that he was Rhandy Helton, Junction's resident birding expert. 

Rhandy led us a 2-3 hundred yards past the Agarita blind and pointed out a Black-capped Vireo nest within four feet of the trail.

As we examined the nest, a Black-capped Vireo scolded us from a nearby tree. Then its mate appeared also. Unfortunately, both birds were too elusive for me to get a decent photo. Oh, well, maybe next time. And there will be a next time. In fact, we're already talking about going back to South Llano River SP in September. But next time we're going to stay longer and to camp, so that we can really explore this marvellous park. And, of course, so that I can finally get to see a Green Kingfisher.

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