2021 Pix
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© 2020-21 - All Rights Reserved

Quick links to the last few years ...

2015 pix

2016 pix

2017 pix

2018 pix

2019 pix

2020 pix

2022 pix

Here are some pictures mostly from 2021. So you know there is all kinds of great stuff to see. It's just that I can't get good photos of it. They are point-and-shoot study material or documentation grab-shots. They are generally overly tight crops to reduce file sizes, and merely for illustration. These are the photos used on the bird news page weekly breaks. They are in reverse chronological order as used (last most recent at top-start; first in Jan. at bottom-end). They were taken with a Canon Powershot SX40.


These are blackbirds. The two on left with bright eyes are adult male
Brewer's. The front right bird is a female Brewer's. Note how the males
can appear black or iridesce oily green and purple, pending light angle.
The other three in center are winter Red-winged Blackbird. The one facing
us is an adult male, the one facing right maybe second winter male,
and the one facing away probably first winter male. The black
scapulars often hide the red shoulders, save a small bit.


This is a Loggerhead Shrike. If you find a cache of prey
remains impaled on thorns or barbed wire this is likely
what put it there. Taken at Garner S.P. Oct. 27, 2019.



Not sure what or if we have anything up here for these.
They are Bell's Vireo. Probably first fall immatures of
an eastern type, not the much duller western flavors.
They can be quite bright, and often might make you think
'warbler' at first glance of all the yellow below, green back,
and wingbars. Note the bigger thicker vireo shaped bill and
lack of tail spots. For wingbars, they can have one or two, and
one-and-a-half is common. They can look pale eye-ringed, or
eye-lined, or both. They are very variable, and will be a great
source of consternation until you learn them.  ;)


This is the American Woodcock I saw at the park a couple years ago.
Another one was there today, Dec. 17, 2021, on the island again.
It is my fourth or fifth record at the park. Whaddabird!


This is a Red-eyed Vireo. Poor photo I know, sorry.


This is a male Red-breasted Sunfish (Lepomis auritis) in
breeding colors. Quite the beauty, tasty too. All the
sunfish (aka perch) here are introduced and non-native.


This is a prior photo of a Coral Snake, but since I added
it to the yard list this week you get to see it again.
Makes 8 sps. of snakes in the yard, and have had a couple
Rough Green Snake just down the road a bit. No rattlers (pigs).
Surely there are (Baird's) Rat Snake and some Racers around.


This is a male Cardinal in which all the head feathers
have been molted, undergoing annual replacement.
This photo taken in June, it is generally late spring
to summer when it occurs (when it can't get cold).


This is a male Barn Swallow, getting grass muddy for the nest.
In Europe it is generally considered good luck if swallows
nest at your house. Here more resent their feces. I suspect
the idea of good fortune came from their bug eating capacities.


This is a Longhorn Beetle. Cerambycidae is the family. The beetle people call them bycids. The extremely long antennae (the horns) are fairly impressive. There are about 400 types in Texas! I have seen maybe a couple dozen types locally in 18 years, which is likely a small percent of what is found here. This one looks a Banded Hickory Borer (Knulliana cincta). The pic is from a couple months ago at front porch. I have seen a few, and presume they use Pecans here. Some types are fancy metallic green and red colors, most are more camo for not being seen on bark. There are some that are ant mimics that look like a big ant. Cool beetles.


This was Feb. 25, 2020 in Uvalde. Not a good pic, but
not sure what we have up for Black Phoebe pics. The
camera settings got bumped off proper. Eastern Phoebe
is what nests under our eaves. Black Phoebe is jet black
including throat and breast. Belly is snow white, no yellow
tint below, or olive-gray tones above. Several pairs were
breeding here 2003-2008, but when the big drought set in,
they departed. There was a pair at the spillway or 1050 bridge,
a pair at Lost Maples, pairs at Concan and Garner, etc.
Still a few to the west of us, this pic was on Nueces River,
but they have been absent here as breeders a decade now.


This was taken Oct. 19, 2019. Lincoln's Sparrow at upper right, Nashville Warbler center, and a Hermit Thrush at front left. The Thrush was bathing and stopped to uh, hack up a hackberry.

Thank you very much to Sydney Killough for sharing her photo of the odd bird in their yard!

This is not a cage bird...


Here is the White-fronted Goose Sydney Killough found in their yard after the rain and frontal passage today (Oct. 15). A second one was found hit on the road, about the same day or the next. Patrick Killough spotted a band, so we know the deceased one was from Alaska!


Baltimore Oriole, first fall female (Aug. 30, 2019)


Baltimore Oriole, first fall male (Sept. 14, 2020)


Crop of a male Common Grackle, taken April 13, 2019


A female (hen) Pintail on May 5, 2021 at W. Sabinal Rd.
Their trademark double-length neck not overly visible here.


The hummingbirds at your feeders here now are Ruby-throated.
Our breeder here, Black-chinned, are gone for the year, mostly
by late August, until next March. They thin out to only a few
immatures left late August. Rubies meanwhile fill in during
August as the Black-chins depart. After the first week of Sept.
it is usually all Rubies here (but for the odd Rufous or rary).
Rubies peak third week or so of Sept. with most leaving on and
the day or two after the first real fall cold front in September.
Some few immatures will stay until the first freeze in October.


This is an immature, the color in throat is likely some
reflection from the red feeder, throats are fairly white.
I know it is soft and blurred, I still really like it.
At times such may effectively convey essence.


This is an adult male Ruby-throated of course.

Normally I do not repeat photos here, but cut me some slack, this one bears repeating. Still without a working camera too. As much as I look this pic, you can not have seen it enough anyway.   ;)


Mourning Warbler, male, September 12, 2019.
There was one at Utopia Park today the 10th,
and a second (also today) at the 360 x-ing.
Best bet here is to walk Frostweed patches for them.
Any esp. riverside dense understory will do though.

Widow Skimmer

Widow Skimmer, male


This is a juvenile Field Sparrow


Here is a male Painted Bunting right before it left a
few days later. Note as underparts molt the loss of red
feathers then reveals the white bases of those same red
feathers still there, making for a rather pock-marked look.
This is obviously normal and natural, I suspect it gets
even worse after they leave here.


Here is a pic of the Io Moth (Automeris io) that I picked up
at the gas station today, free with a fillup. Had to Mavica
(floppy disk LOL!) a docu shot of it for the meanwhile.
This is a male, females are browner of forewing, and of course you
do not see the amazing hindwing when wings closed as when on a wall.


Green Heron - a pair nests on island in park most years


This is a just-fledged nestling Red-winged Blackbird.
In case you wanted to see how they started out.


This is a Banded Pennant dragonfly


This is an American Rubyspot damselfly. From above in flight when
wings open basal half is bright ruby red. Usually at waters edge.


Eastern Amberwing is a very small dragonfly, usually looking
more yellow than this oranger image due to angle and light.
There are a number around the park pond right now.


This is the Cuban Green Cockroach (Panchlora nivea) in case
you see one. They are very bright green in good light.


This is one of the Hummingbird Hawkmoths of the genus
Aellopos, and probably the species A. clavipes, July 11.
There are a few similar, but clavipes is the usual one.
They use front legs (pale) to steady themselves while nectaring.


You can see why people insist the tail was feathers while
holding their fingers an inch apart asking what bird it was.
They are almost 2" long and wingspan is almost 3".

and now for something completely different...


This is a Buprestid beetle, I think of the genus Dicerca. They
are iridescent as you change viewing angle, this angle shows the
salt and pepper aspect instead of the metallic bronzy. Another
type here looks gold plated. Buprestids are often called jewel beetles.


I have no idea what type of hopper this is, but that it was a
stonking beauty. Black tipped lime spines on hindleg, lime starry
field on thorax, vertically striped eye and the antennae were
way more yellow-orange than the camera picked up. Awesome hopper.


This is a female Eastern Pondhawk (males are uniform blue)


This is the Zone-tailed Hawk that wintered at the park the
last couple of years, the first year as an imm., taken Dec. 4, 2020.


Here is a long distance high ISO grainy docushot of one of the
Tropical Parula warblers at Lost Maples June 6. We had
better closer looks at the second one but could not get a shot.
Five in a spring is more than double the most prior for me.


This is a tasty green morsel being prepared for feeding
to a juvenile Golden-cheeked Warbler by an adult male.


These are the White-faced Ibis at the W. Sabinal Rd. floodpond May 16.
Unfortunately it was very overcast so none of the beautiful colors of
the maroonish chestnut and oily green plumage show.


Here is one of the pair of Martin that were at the house.
They didn't take it but at least landed to inspect it.
I think a first spring male.


This is a Tropical Parula. Note black mask, no broken
white eye-crescents, yellow malar, and no black or rusty
band across upper breast.

another big migration special break...

Here are a few shorebirds, often called sandpipers.
Besides Killdeer, Snipe, and Spotted Sandpiper they are scarce here.
Mostly seen when it rains during migration at flood ponds.


Wilson's Phalarope, May 2 in BanCo. Phalaropes float and swim well.
Had to improve on that dark docushot a couple weeks ago. They peaked on
May 5 at 17 birds.


One of 22 Baird's Sandpiper May 5 in BanCo. A generic small sandpiper,
between its Argentina wintering grounds and arctic Canada breeding grounds.


This is a Pectoral Sandpiper, photo May 2018 on W. Sab. Rd., one
at the same spot May 14, 2021, but pics today were just docushots.


American Redstart (male) at the birdbath May 3. Whaddabird!


Rose-breasted Grosbeak (male) at the birdbath May 6.


This is two of the four females, of the seven Wilson's Phalarope
in Bandera Co. April 30 where hard to come by.

and here is a bonus bunting...


Some may have noticed I have an inordinate fondness for all
weirdos, oddballs, and abberations. Especially fascinating are
these Painted Buntings that are not all pure red below.
Didn't they read the books and look at the pictures?
Here yellow was dull but extensive, reddish areas often appeared
orange. Neat thing is the orbital ring is more yellow than red.
The rump too was not red but greenish yellow. Sorry about
the 3200 ISO (!) granularity, was under dark clouds in shade.
At least it's not just a description trying to convey what it was.


This is the male Lazuli Bunting on patio the 22nd.
Pretty enticing patio, eh? The back half of head
and upper back are still brownish-gray winter color.
They light up to glowing in the sun, was very overcast.


Golden-cheeked Warbler
This one was a couple weeks ago, a couple were in the yard this week.
Bad light, overcast, in shade, but you get the idea, spiffy bird, eh.


Another bad pic, I figure you are used to them by now.
This male Northern Parula (warbler) was singing at Utopia Park.
April 7, interacting with an un-ID'd female parula sps.
A beautiful little warbler, bluish above with a lime green back,
yellow throat and breast crossed by chestut and black crescents,
white broken eye-crescents, a zippy buzz of a song, a great bird.
It jumped when I snapped the pic. So that is all we got.

a bonus pic...


This is the martin chalet, Chez Martin'.


These are Black-bellied Whistling-Duck ducklings.
July 16, 2019 at Uvalde Nat. Fish Hatchery.


This is a female Golden-fronted Woodpecker.


Male Golden-fronted Woodpecker has red patch on crown,
and more extensive brighter nape patch, often infused
with orange or red feathers.


Eastern Meadowlark


This is a female Red-winged Blackbird. I suppose you
could say they look sparrowish, but they are twice as
large, and no sparrow is this streaky of underparts. They
are obviously named after the male plumage. That is also
one blurry facing viewer in lower left corner.


This has to be my best looking dependent, a Spotted Skunk.
It was in shed hunting a Cotton Rat (Sigmodon) I saw sneak
away as it closed in. It lives here somewhere, we never
smell it, only ever smell the Striped Skunk, and that rarely.


Look at those long claws. That is how it grabs prey
and climbs trees. I suspect it is what we hear climbing
around boxes on a shelf unit in the carport, hunting vermin.


Green Jay head crop. We had at least two in the yard
again this week, meaning they were in the snow last week!


This is the male Yellow-headed Blackbird in the snow on Feb. 18.


We have not seen the Yellow-headed Blackbird again
since in the snow last Thursday Feb. 18.


This is the yard Feb. 15.


This is the Anna's Hummingbird, present Feb. 5-12 so far.
Update: this bird was present to March 1.


The Texas Scrub-Jay, texana, is our subspecies, of what is now called Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay, of which it is not. The far west Texas (and westward) Scrub-Jay are Woodhouse's, these Edwards Plateau birds are their own flavor. Ridgeway I think originally described this subspecies, in other words, before Oberholser, it was that obviously different.


This is in the shade under overcast. One day it should have full species status. But since west Texas has different (Woodhouse's) scrub-jays, Texas Scrub-Jay would not be a good name for it. Edwards Plateau Scrub-Jay would be suitably accurate and unwieldy methinks.


This is an immature Sharp-shinned Hawk. These bird eaters
take lots of birds all winter, sparrows, Cardinal, and even
dove. Especially the smaller males appear barely bigger than
a Robin. A handy book gives 10 inches for Robin, 11 for Sharpy.
Don't let their size fool you, they make up for it with attitude.
I watched one march on foot into thick brush after a rabbit (!)
once, which had to be over twice its weight.


Green Heron, juvenile. This is the young the pair that nests on the island at Utopia Park produced this past summer (photo on Sept. 9, 2020). They usually do not arrive here until late April, sometimes early May, with young not seen until later August or early September.

How about our two small woodpeckers this week?
Besides the much larger Golden-fronted, these are the two little woodpeckers here. From behind, Ladder-backed appears lined, Downy appears spotted.


Ladder-backed Woodpecker, male. Note back is evenly zebra- barred throughought upperparts and wings. The female crown is black without red. These are the most common woodpecker here and are widespread residents. They are what enlarges the holes of every birdbox they find, often roosting in them in winter. Note the black facial stripe makes a U on its side, doubling back from eye, and returning to bill without connecting to the black nape stripe, and is completely encircled with white.


Downy Woodpecker, female. Note big white stripe up back that otherwise appears mostly black. The spots are on the wings. Males have a small red patch at top rear of crown. These are very scarce here, but semi-regular. Only one known breeding record, April 2020. Might see one any month though, generally right along river habitat corridor. Note black facial (eye) stripe a thicker line narrowing rearward, but straight, connecting to nape stripe, breaking the white.


A few American Robin at the birdbath.

~ ~ ~

Berteau House

Just to give an idea, here is a pic showing part of the yard, house and cottage, so you can get an idea of where much of the stuff being written about is being seen. This pic was May 2013, barely two months after we moved into this place. Now there are butterfly flowers around the porch and in flower beds. The yard lists are: 45 species of odes (dragons-damsels), 95 sps. of butterflies, 7 sps. of frogs & toads, 7 sps. of native lizards, 20 sps. of native mammals, about 100 sps. of plants (mostly wildflowers), and now at the 8 year point, about 230 native species of birds.

Quick links to the last few years ...

2015 pix

2016 pix

2017 pix

2018 pix

2019 pix

2020 pix

2022 pix

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