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Photo Shoot Report: November 13th @ South Llano River SP

November 17, 2011
Northern Cardinal

© jmillerphoto.com - Northern Cardinal

My absence from getting out and shooting was driving me crazy.  Putting in 11 days in a row at work followed immediately by foot surgery put a damper on getting out and making images.  But a week after surgery the itch was there to get out.  But both Friday and Saturday were no-go’s–too much residual discomfort from the surgery to want to drive anywhere to take pictures.  But Sunday rolled around and if I didn’t get out then I was going to kill something.  Or, channeling the words of a famous American (Popeye), “That’s all I can stands…I can’t stands no more…”

When I looked at my master list of potential photo destinations, South Llano River State Park flashed a light in my eyes.  This was one of my favorite places before I had left on my two year exile to Ohio.  I hadn’t been back since I got back.  And there were 4 blinds to choose from–important when you don’t want to walk much.  South Llano River SP would be the perfect solution.

Black-crested Titmouse

© jmillerphoto.com - Black-crested Titmouse

All in all it was a decent, though not great, morning in the blind.  I should have gotten my carcass up and moving two hours earlier.  Instead of getting there at 8AM it was almost 10AM before my backside made contact with the seat of the chair.  I went to the Acorn blind (aka Blind #4, AKA the non-primitive camping blind).  This is my favorite of the four blinds in the park.  The images from the trip were pretty good, but the light was challenging and difficult to work with.  The steady foot traffic into the blind, driven by it being the end of the holiday weekend, meant that the blind never got a chance to stabilize.

Species spread was very narrow.  My life list add was the Yellow-rumped Warbler that I discussed in Tuesday’s blog entry.  There may be a second life list add once I make it through all of the keywording and identify those pesky sparrows.  Also present were the usual suspects:  House Sparrows and Finches, Northern Cardinals, Lesser Gold Fiches, Inca and White-winged Doves, and very energetic Black-crested Titmice.

I also gingerly ventured outside of the blind to walk down to the two ponds just down the hill from this blind.  In past years this area was closed off once summer had ended and the turkeys started to roost.  But TPWD now allows folks in (at least for now) from 10AM to early afternoon every day (I think it was until 3PM but don’t hold me to it), so I took the opportunity to do some light scouting for next spring.  Amazingly enough this late into the autumn there were a small number of damselflies on the ponds and I’m holding out hope that this could be a very productive ode pond when the calendar rolls around to 2012.

It was a decent visit to South Llano River SP.  I’m happy I made the trip and I can’t wait until my next one.

About the images:

The male Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis), still sporting his post-molt gray feathers on his back.  Come spring he will have worn off all of the gray feathers and will be a nice pretty red.  The Black-crested Titmouse (Baeolophus atricristatus) population was in full display Sunday, with this one proudly displaying the sunflower seed he had found and would whisk away to a random tree nearby to break open and consume the contents.

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