I ventured out to get my first real birding of the year in. Oh, I’m always looking for birds, but “real birding” means that I bring my binoculars and my camera. The Golden-cheeked warbler nests exclusively in Central Texas, and there are preserves that are closed to the general public during their breeding season of Feb-July, during which they are only accessible to those with permits. Welllllll. I have had a permit for several years and took advantage of it today to get away from people and find me some birdies.
I was treated to my first of season golden-cheeked warbler:
A very vocal, but elusive white-eyed vireo. I caught him here mid-song:
And one of many blue-grey gnatcatchers. They are so tiny, vocal, and always moving! This one stopped long enough for me to get a blurry picture:
Nice. Very nice. 🙂
I love this time of year in Austin. The hills look like broccoli.
And the golden-cheeked warbler returns for nesting season.
I wish it lasted longer, but I’ll enjoy it while I can.
I had an unexpected morning free, so I headed to the Bull Creek Preserve again to go explore the trails. Note that entrance to the the Preserve is restricted between March and July each year. You’ll need to apply for an entry permit to enter during those months. Today my goal was to catch a glimpse of the endangered golden-cheek warbler that nests in the preserve after migrating here in early March from Central America. I went out on Monday and had a great 3 hour hike, and heard their calls everywhere, but I didn’t see the little bird – they were very elusive.
Today, I tried some different trails in the Preserve, and I finally saw several of them! Next, I pulled out my camera to try to get a decent shot. I took many more than these few photos, but together they might give you an idea of how hard it is to get a good shot. Most of these won’t look like much unless you can zoom in on them…
I saw one sitting on the power line. Right. Above. My. Head. But, by the time I got the camera up and focused, zoooom, he was gone. See the little bullet-shaped bird with a yellow head exiting the frame on the right?
A while later… I saw one in a shrub about 30 feet away! See him in the center of the frame? But, darnit, he wasn’t facing me.
And then… zoooom, he took flight. See the little yellow headed torpedo coming toward the camera?
Then several miles and about 2 hours later…. one popped out of a cedar branch at eye level about 10 feet away! He even posed for a minute. I got several shots. This is the clearest. Success! I’ll be back for more, though. :)