Brazos Bend State Park Birds In January



Leecy and I woke at 4:30 am yesterday to head over to Brazos Bend State Park.  I was very excited to go, as it was the first time I would really have a chance to use my Canon 300 f2.8 lens.

We arrived at the park at 7:00 am, but it wasn’t quite open yet, so Leecy took a quick cat nap, and I, well I fidgeted.

My intention was to use my Feisol CT-3472 tripod and my Induro GHB2 Gimbal Head (see here and here for my review).  I also intended using the Canon 1.4X II and Canon 2x II teleconverters.

I quickly found out that bringing the tripod was a mistake.  The birds at Brazos Bend are way too quick for using a tripod in most circumstances, and the park is really large so carrying a tripod gets really heavy.  Thankfully, Leecy wasn’t carrying anything so I gave her the tripod to lug around.

I hadn’t intended to use the 2x teleconverter all that much, but with these birds I really needed the extra reach that the teleconverter offered.  I must say, I was really impressed by how much detail I was able to capture with this teleconverter!

Oh, before I forget, I think Leecy and I had a great time at the park, except for one circumstance.

There was this grumpy old man riding a bike with a large lens taking pictures.  He kept starting and stopping taking pictures so we weren’t sure what he was actually doing.  As were walking around one of the lakes, we walk past this guy who promptly gave us a lecture about how we should have been more considerate when someone is taking pictures as we just scared off the Vermilion Flycatcher he was taking a picture of.  Whatever!  The guy was sitting right in the middle of the walking trail for several minutes and moving around so we didn’t know what the hell he was doing.  I kept my mouth shut, but Leecy was none to pleased about this guy’s attitude and gave him a nickname.

Anyway, so now for the bird pictures.  Many of these birds I’ve never taken pictures of before, and I was really pleased about how many were keepers.

One of my favorite pictures from the trip was of this Ruby Crowned Kinglet.  These are really cute birds, but damn, are they hard to get pictures of.  They never stop moving!

Ruby Crowned Kinglet Eating Seed Around Moss

Ruby Crowned Kinglet Eating Seed Around Moss

Ruby Crowned Kinglet Eating Seed Side Profile

Ruby Crowned Kinglet Eating Seed Side Profile

I also managed to capture one of these birds in flight, but don’t ask me how I did it.  It was nothing but pure luck.

Ruby Crowned Kinglet In Flight Brazos Bend

Ruby Crowned Kinglet In Flight Brazos Bend

Even though the old grump guy acted like the Vermilion Flycatcher was the only one in the park, I captured a few shots of this bird in another area.

Female Vermilion Flycatcher In Golden Light

Female Vermilion Flycatcher In Golden Light

Female Vermilion Flycatcher On Branch

Female Vermilion Flycatcher On Branch

There were lots of Woodpeckers throughout the Park, and you could constantly hear them knocking on the trees.  One of the most common Woodpeckers that I saw was the Red Bellied Woodpecker.

Pair Of Red Bellied Woodpeckers In Tree

Pair Of Red Bellied Woodpeckers In Tree

This one Red Bellied Woodpecker found a nut (I think that’s what it is) and kept looking for a place to hide it within a tree.  I didn’t realize they did that, but it certainly appeared to be what was happening.

Red Bellied Woodpecker With Nut

Red Bellied Woodpecker With Nut

Red Bellied Woodpecker Hiding Nut In Tree

Red Bellied Woodpecker Hiding Nut In Tree

One of Leecy’s favorite birds to see were the Ibises, both the White Ibis and White Faced Ibis.

White Faced Ibis At Brazos Bend State Park

White Faced Ibis At Brazos Bend State Park

The White Ibises where I took the majority of these pictures were all lined up on a large tree branch.  There must have been close to a dozen of them all sitting side by side.

White Ibis Sleeping Brazos Bend State Park

White Ibis Sleeping Brazos Bend State Park

Two White Ibis Standing On Large Tree At Brazos Bend

Two White Ibis Standing On Large Tree At Brazos Bend

White Ibis Standing On Large Dead Tree Brazos Bend

White Ibis Standing On Large Dead Tree Brazos Bend

Leecy always likes Ducks, so I made a few captures of Blue Winged Teals.

Blue Winged Teal In Water Brazos Bend State Park

Blue Winged Teal In Water Brazos Bend State Park

The picture below is a Male Blue Winged Teal surrounded by Common Moorhens.

Male Blue Winged Teal Surrounded By Moorhen

Male Blue Winged Teal Surrounded By Moorhen

Speaking of Common Moorhen, I really like this next picture.  The reflection of this Common Moorhen makes it look like it has a small fish in its mouth, at least to me.

Common Moorhen Reflection On Water

Common Moorhen Reflection On Water

I didn’t really spend any time attempting to take pictures of birds in flight, but when one of these Double Crested Cormorants (I think that’s what this is) flew by, I started snapping away.

Double Crested Cormorant In Flight

Double Crested Cormorant In Flight

One bird that has a really pretty song is the Carolina Wren.  This bird was sitting on this large branch just singing away.

Carolina Wren On Dead Branch Brazos Bend

Carolina Wren On Dead Branch Brazos Bend

I really had no idea what this next bird was, all I knew was that it seemed to walk on water.  If I’m not mistaken, this is a Swamp Sparrow.

Swamp Sparrow Brazos Bend State Park

Swamp Sparrow Brazos Bend State Park

Last, but not least, I got a few shots of the Yellow Rumped Warbler.  It’s another cute little bird.

Yellow Rumped Warbler On Tree With Moss

Yellow Rumped Warbler On Tree With Moss

Overall this was a great little trip.  I learned I can bring a tripod if I’m really interested just in focusing on a couple of birds, but for walking around the whole park, it would have been better if I left the tripod in the car.  I also wish I would have brought along my flash, as it could have really helped lighten some of the shadows or to capture some of the birds that were in darker cover.  For the life of me I don’t know why I only brought along one compact flash (CF) card, but next time, I need to bring a couple, as it is very easy to fill up an entire card at this park.

If you live in the Houston area, I highly recommend a visit to Brazos Bend State Park if you’ve never been before.  It’s a wonderful place to take pictures of birds and other wildlife.  Just be prepared, as the park is quite big, and it’s easy to get worn out carrying lots of camera equipment.

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