Monday, May 19, 2014

South Llano Rover State Park

We had booked in for two nights at the Econolodge in Segovia because, while nearer to the park, the motels in Junction were less pet-friendly. The 300-mile drive to Segovia and settling in at the motel took rather longer than expected, so we only got to spend about 90 minutes in the park late on Friday. However, even this was enough time for us to see a good variety of birds. 

We stopped at the first blind (Lora's) and were immediately greeted by some of the birds we'd come to see. Several male Painted Buntings were impossible to overlook or ignore.

It took us a little while to notice their less colorful mates.

A couple of Western Scrub Jays were impossible to miss when they noisily swooped in and out of the feeding area.

Black-crested Titmice were everywhere but they rarely stayed still long enough for photos.

We were thrilled to see a number of Lark Sparrows, a beautiful bird we used to see often in California but hardly ever see in Texas.

It is difficult to believe that any other sparrow can compete with the Lark Sparrow when it comes to sheer beauty. However, the Black-throated Sparrow is definitely a contender.

The ones at South Llano River always give you great looks.

A Yellow-breasted Chat came in to the water feature and I crossed my fingers hoping it would bathe. 

It did.

A Black-headed Grosbeak, a Lesser Goldfinch and an immature male Summer Tanager stayed largely hidden among the branches but an adult male Summer Tanager gave us great looks.

Of course, the feeders were also attracting some more common birds, including Brown-headed Cowbirds, House Finches, White-winged Doves and Northern Cardinals (below).

On our way out of Lora's Blind we caught a brief glimpse of a Ladder-backed Woodpecker, one of two woodpeckers that are common in the park. I hoped I would get to watch both species the following day.

Before leaving, we went to the park headquarters to register our visit. The martin houses outside the building were occupied by both Purple Martins and House Sparrows. As usual, the feeders on the front porch were attracting large numbers of Black-chinned Hummingbirds.

On our way out of the park, we stopped at the river to admire a Great Blue Heron that was fishing by the roadside.

Then we had a so-so dinner at Isaack's in Junction before driving back to our motel just in time for sunset.

Our plan for Saturday was to spend most of the day in the state park but I thought we might also fit in a little birding in the city park. I hoped, too, that I might find time to visit the city's wastewater plant, since local birding expert Rhandy Helton had seen several shorebird species and Yellow-headed Blackbirds there the previous day.


Dorothy Borders said...

Wonderful pictures. I saw my first Black-throated Sparrow at South Llano several years ago so this brought back memories. They are strikingly beautiful birds.

Barbara In Caneyhead said...

All beautiful, but the bunting and the sunset are my favorites.

Jeff said...

Those Painted Buntings are glorious but, as Dorothy says, the Black-throated Sparrows are also strikingly beautiful.