Yesterday morning when I woke up the thermometer (OK, weather APP on the googimophone) read a chilly 34 degrees. Perfect birding weather if you ask me! I decided to not o far and drove just a few miles to Cypress Creek Park on the edge of Lake Travis. The sun was out but hiding behind one of the last big hills to the east. The long grass was covered in frozen dew which collected on my shoes as I made my way down to the creek and lake. As I reached a large pool of water the creek slows, I saw my first bird, this Belted Kingfisher. I took a photo and then approached a little further and took this photo.
Amazingly, this very skittish species let me advance even closer, but as often happens flew away before I could snap another shot. The only other birds near the water were a single GBH and a small group of mallards.
I walked back up the creek toward toward a field that in the summer is good for Painted Buntings and where I imagine would be a popular site for sparrows in the winter. Sure enough, I began to see the foliage move and LBJs slip from bush to bush. After a moment of "pishing" I was able to coax this Song Sparrow out into the open long enough for a picture.
Even though it was work tramping through the tall grass and brush, the movement in the tress on the far side of the small meadow made it seem worth the effort. At the other end, this inquisitive Northern Mockingbird, who much have been watching me coming the whole time, was intently staring me down.
Close to my right there was a small ridge with tall grass growing on it and it appeared to be a good spot to hide out and see if any birds came out into the open. Sure enough this Orange-crowned Warbler came bopping through oak and juniper pausing briefly near the top of this tree.
And among the cardinals and chickadees a small group of Black-crested Titmice bounced around, one of which I got a couple real nice pictures of at a fairly close distance.
As I got back to the parking lot I noticed some real jumpy movement in a Live Oak just to my left. It had the hyperactivity of what I initially thought was a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, but when I focused my lens on the little gal I noticed the distinctive facial markings and yellow stripe of what was actually a Golden-crowned Kinglet.
On my Flikr page there is a picture of this same girl from the front. The photo quality is less but you can really see the golden crown. There is also another photo of the mockingbird (I believe) tossing his food to himself.
Welcome to Bird of the Day!
You might notice some recent changes to the blog. For one, the banner image above has changed from Mustang Island on the Gulf coast to a picture of a local birding spot near my house. Likewise, I plan to focus many of the upcoming posts on birding that area. On the right hand side of the page you will also see the addition of a new gadget that lists what birds have been seen in that area in the last 30 days. Further below, there is a link to ebird for more historic information about the birds seen at Bella Vista Creek. Feel free and contact me on the blog about what you think. Click on images to enlarge. (All photos by gbmcclure)