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Triple Birding

While going through the Marble Falls Christmas lights photos, I discovered a bunch of birding photos that I completely forgot about. I did three birding visits the day after seeing lights: Marble Falls, Pedernales Falls, and Hornsby Bend.

Marble Falls

After checking out of the hotel, I drove the short distance down to Lakeside Park, where the lights are. There were numerous waterfowl in the Colorado River, but most were far off. The ones near the shore swam away when I approached, but later returned. A Ring-billed Gull was present. Now I know gulls are present anywhere there’s alot of water, but I am always surprised to find them far from the coast. A flock of darker birds contained several Scaups, but I do not know if they are Greater or Lesser. I originally identified them as Greater, but given the location, they are likely Lesser.

Scaups

Scaups

Before leaving the lake, the Marble Falls bridge deserves a brief mention. The existing bridge is 78 years old and is being replaced by two bridges. The northbound bridge was already complete and is temporarily carrying all traffic. In March of 2013, the existing bridge was imploded. I picked a random video from YouTube if you would like to see it. It’s pretty neat. The southbound bridge is scheduled for completion this fall.

Pedernales Falls

Northern Cardinal (female)  - wet version

Northern Cardinal (female) – wet version

With nothing else within camera range, I drove the short 30 miles down to Pedernales Falls. The weather was bright and sunny at Pedernales. Not everyone likes sunny birding, but I do. Sun means low ISO and great autofocus!

Northern Cardinal (female)

Northern Cardinal (female) – dry version

As you can see in the list below, there was nothing out of the ordinary. But great light allowed me to get some good photos. Cardinals are everywhere, so for years I ignored them. But then I realized that I had few, if any, really great Cardinal photos, so I keep trying now.

  • Northern Cardinal
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • Spotted Towhee
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow
  • Lesser Goldfinch
  • Orange-crowned Warbler
  • Bewick’s Wren
  • American Goldfinch (female)
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker
  • Lesser Goldfinch
  • Black Vulture
Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Always in search of better photos, I am pleased with this new one of a female American Goldfinch.

American Goldfinch (female)

American Goldfinch (female)

Hornsby Bend

Later that afternoon, I headed over to Hornsby Bend to find the Vermilion Flycatcher. I previously posted about this because it was very exciting, so I won’t rehash it again. Lately, the water levels at Hornsby have been too high for shorebirds. However, this time there actually were a few, but not many. This Spotted Sandpiper was in the right position so that his spots were actually visible.

Spotted Sandpiper

Spotted Sandpiper

Another shorebird I rarely see is the Least Sandpiper.

Least Sandpiper

Least Sandpiper

Amongst the common Northern Shovelers was a Green-winged Teal. I’m not sure if this is the first one I’ve seen, but it’s the only photograph I have, so it’s probably a first!

Green-winged Teal

Green-winged Teal

Here’s the list for the day, based on my photos:

  • Spotted Sandpiper
  • Killdeer
  • Savannah Sparrow
  • Vermillion Flycatcher
  • Meadowlarks (unknown which)
  • Green-winged Teal
  • Least Sandpiper

And that’s a wrap for 2013! Took a long time to get through all these photos from the last two months of the year. There’s several other photos for this day in the gallery. Several are actually fairly good, so take a look!

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