Texas Ranches NOTE:   Images were prepared using screen settings of 1024x768, and are best viewed with those settings.  As usual, the name of the bird can be seen by placing the cursor over the photo.

Black-crested Titmouse26 April 2011
This Black-crested Titmouse is understandably proud, having recently been elevated to full species status.  For a long time, it was a lowly subspecies of the Tufted Titmouse, which is found all over eastern North America.














Last but not least among the sparrows, we have White-crowned Sparrow, found wintering across a wide swathe of middle and southern U.S., from New Mexico to the east coast.  This one may be on its way to the Arctic where they nest, or perhaps the high Rockies, where they are also common in summer.
    The final tally of sparrow species was:  Rufous-crowned, Lark, White-crowned, Field, Chipping, Clay-colored, and Black-throated Sparrow.  The last-named did not come to the seed, but the ones I saw from the blind seemed to be thinking about it.


27 April 2011
Last night was spent in Fredericksburg.  As the name suggests, it is a German enclave west of Austin, now become a tourist hotspot for those drawn to its celebration of all things Germanic.  The Auslander restaurant served up a bratwurst with potato cakes and red cabbage, washed down with  Spaten Oktoberfest, one of 65 beers from which to choose. 
     Now I'm at Los Madrones, another nature ranch where owner Mike Murphy hosts bird photographers.  It's your own fault if you don't get a good shot of goodies like Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Scrub Jay, and, earlier in April, Golden-cheeked Warbler, rare and much sought-after by birders.  Now the warbler has gone silent.  Summer Tanager, drawn to dripping water, was in fine voice.






male Black-chinned Hummingbird


This male Black-chinned Hummingbird offered a hint of the violet band below the black on its throat.  I was able to slow his wing movement with a shutter speed of 1/2000", thanks to an ISO of 400 and the bright Texas sun. 
    He was feeding on a potted Texas Yucca.  As is sometimes the case with hummers, it took a bit of coaxing to get him and les femmes to quit the sugar-water feeder long enough to feed at a flower.  I took the feeder down and placed it inside my blind for a few minutes.  Problem solved.


  Travel Diary