2012 Photoshoot Day #4: Mitchell Lake Audubon Center (Jan 14)
As the dragonflies and butterflies diminished in numbers and I started back on the birding bandwagon, I found a number of really good sources for bird watching and bird sighting in Texas. The two resources that have proven to be the most beneficial have been eBird.org and the texbirds mailing list. Both of these resources have given me direction as to where to find birds and what I might find when I get there. And for me, who’s skill level of photography far outweighs my skill level as a bird watcher, I’ll take any help I can get.
This research led me to return to Mitchell Lake Audubon Center on January 14th. As you know if you are a regular reader of the blog, Mitchell Lake Audubon Center (aka MLAC) is on the extreme southern end of San Antonio, Texas. My motivation for heading there was a direct result of seeing what others were seeing and then getting up the courage to walk around the place with a gimpy foot. There was a wide number of species being reported that were absent from my life list and portfolio list. With that many possible species, I knew I had a relatively good chance of getting something. I was not disappointed.
My first thought was to just hit the bird pond and catch whatever might be landing there. That thought was quashed when I got there and saw that the water level had dropped significantly since my last visit and there were no birds to be seen anywhere. So much for just planting my backside down and watching.
So then I moved onto the poulders and basins. It meant I was going to be walking, but the foot felt reasonably good and I was wearing my Thinsulate-lined boots that, while heavier than my other shoes, are well-cushioned and very comfortable. And for the most part the walk was reasonably pain-free.
What little pain I did feel was worth the life birds I added that morning. I can confirm five photographically: Bonaparte’s Gull, Wilson’s Snipe, Common Yellowthroat, Hooded Merganser, and Savannah Sparrow. I am reasonably certain I saw a Foster’s Tern and am on the fence about adding that one to the last or not. I had hoped to see quite a few more, but I will again attribute my failure to identify more to my lack of skill.
I was very surprised to see a number of Vermillion Flycatchers on my walk. It had been over five years since I saw my last one. With the life birds and the assorted others that I had not seen this year, the bird count for the year is up to 46. My list of birds seen for the day is posted here over at eBird.
I shot quite a few images on the day and I was very happy with the overall results. I hope to get back to Mitchell Lake Audubon Center soon.
About the Images:
The Bonaparte’s Gull (Chroicocephalus philadelphia) was one of the first life birds of the day. It may also take the title as the longest latin name of any bird I currently have in the portfolio. The Great Egret (Ardea alba) behaved very nicely for me as well. So much so that I was able to make a couple of HDR image series that I will be playing with in the next few days.