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Saturday, April 9, 2016

A day of wonders

I can't begin to convey how much nonstop running it takes after a good rainstorm. Two birders were here this morning and can testify how the pumps, separating lines, in and out of the water, etc. kept me hopping. When I was finally able to take a short break, I decided to go below the big (lower) dam to see if the Lucifer Hummingbird was on his territory. Didn't need my big lens for that, right?

Looking south. Oasis barely visible in background
As soon as I got below the dam (to the right off the above photo) I saw a male Lucifer, but more intriguing, I saw and heard a Black-capped Vireo singing. First singing one at CMO. It flitted around inside Evergreen Sumac bushes as it foraged. I scrambled back to my pickup for my Canon, chastising myself for never learning to keep it with me at all times. When I got back to the viewing area, I again saw and heard it but it would not land anywhere long enough for me to focus my lens on it. In frustration, figuring it would disappear any second, I just snapped a bunch of frames of the bush is was in, hoping to get something at least diagnostic from the bunch. My philosophy is, no photo, it didn't happen.

As I was doing that, the male Lucifer was suddenly being challenged by another male Lucifer. I shot some of that too, but all this shooting was taking place at quite a distance. Here's through my 400 mm lens uncropped.

And here are a couple of cropped ones.

When I couldn't locate the vireo anymore I went and got the birders and we looked and looked in vain. I lamented to them that I wasn't able to get a photo of it. I totally discounted the rash of bush pics and forgot all about them. So wonder of wonders, when I downloaded my photos one of them has a decent shot of the vireo. I'm sure that's a once in a lifetime occurrence for me.

And I still can't get over the wonder of having plenty of water to lavish on my vegetation going into summer. I've been frugal with it so long I won't know how to act. 

At long last, dragonflies are starting to show up. And there was no hail damage.


  1. Congrats on seeing the Vireo (your photo is actually quite good!). I've been lucky enough to see 2 of them in Big Bend over the years. But never able to get a photo nearly as good as yours. Will it stick and nest, do you think?

    Carla in Rowlett

  2. Thank you, Carla. That is the first photo I've gotten of a breeding plumaged male BCVI. The visitors with me that day are very knowledgeable on that species and said they do sing during their migration, so I think it was just moving through. But I'll keep watching for it just in case. One of my original stated goals of CMO was to attract BCVIs to nest here.