What a day today! I volunteer at a food pantry and finished my work there. Then, I picked up Lucy and we drove to Hallettsville so that she could get measured for a dress for our daughter’s upcoming wedding. We have a friend who makes dresses and costumes, and Lucy, since her double mastectomy, doesn’t have normal female contours which makes it difficult for her to buy an off the rack dress and feel good about it. So, we took a day trip to Hallettsville to work with Lindsay Ferguson and see Nick, the pastor of First Baptist Church in Hallettsville and our former youth pastor. It was good to catch up with them. As we arrived, there was a turkey vulture high in the sky. I took a quick shot. The focus isn’t very good, but it was the first bird we saw there.
Turkey vultures are majestic birds in flight and you can see them soaring in the skies over South Texas. If you see them from afar, they look gorgeous as they ride the thermals. They have a cut little red spot in the front. Then when you see them up close, you realize that the red spot is his head and they are the ugliest birds in the world. They often cooperate with Cara Cara as they scavenge the road kill, and Cara Cara (we saw a couple while driving) are the most beautiful birds around. Then we visited with the Fergusons. When we left, they gave us directions to the park so that we could search for birds.
When we arrived at the park we were immediately struck by the lack of birds. There were no sounds. There was no movement. After a few minutes of looking around I heard a bird singing in the distance and looked in that direction. What I saw instead was this fuzzy-tailed seed stealer. (So named when we were feeding birds in our backyard and his relatives would barge into the chow line and chase the invited guests away and eat their food.) They are cute, though, so I take their picture whenever I can.
Often, when looking for birds, knots in the wood, seed pods, and items like this pic fool us into thinking they’re birds. Sadly, plastic bags arranged the right way on branches do the same thing. It is a nice example of a wasp’s nest. Seriously, in the park, while we heard distant singing, the only indication of birds in the park that I saw was one nest in the trees. I was disappointed, but we left by a road that Lucy thought she saw on the map that ran by the river, so we decided to try that route. It’s so nice to have a wife that puts up with my follies!
There weren’t many birds to see on this route and then I spied this cardinal. I thought I had seen one earlier in the year at the Oso Bay wetlands, but he snuck into the trees and I didn’t get a picture. Lucy stopped the car and I rolled down my window to take the shot. My first attempt happened when I snapped just as the cardinal jumped up. I have a few of the tail feathers in the shot. Then, we moved a bit and I got this shot. I love cardinals, unless they’re playing baseball, and I was thrilled to get the shot.
Then, we took the paved road instead of the dirt road because that seemed like the logical choice. We meandered down the road until we saw this little beauty. It’s an American Kestrel. The angle was bad in the car. The first picture was right into the sun and was a complete washout. We moved the car a little, but it was still an awkward angle and it was a bit blurry. But, it was an American Kestrel! We made one more stop by the Victoria County Courthouse and on our way back to the car after seeing nothing. Then we saw what I think were sparrows, but didn’t get a shot. The featured image for this post is the Courthouse. While we didn’t have a good day birding, it was great to see the Fergusons and spend time with my wife.