Birding during a Denver > Pensacola Trip - Sept. 2017

Betty and I arrived in Pensacola in the middle of September to decide which of our "FL stuff" will go to CO, arrange for a moving van, and dispose of the things we are not keeping. By the last week in September we had identified a lot of "don't trust to a moving company" things and, as part of our plan, I loaded them into the Subaru, drove back to CO and left them in the condo. The original plan included some serious birding time in SE Texas and LA on the drive back to Pensacola, but Hurricane Harvey damaged several of the planned birding spots. A modification of plans was necessary. Based on on-line birding/butterfly reports and weather predictions, I headed for the Rio Grande Valley of Texas instead.

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Dave's Denver > Pensacola Short Route

Despite the predictions the weather was not particularly conducive for photography. At a couple of potential birding spots in central Texas, the fog was so dense that only two of the three blades of the wind turbines were moving (see photo)!  :-)

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I arrived in the Rio Grande Valley in mid-afternoon. After checking into the motel in Weslaco I headed for nearby Llano Grande State Park. Ominous dark clouds were moving toward the park when I arrived. All the photos from that afternoon were taken while I was standing under the roof of the large observation deck at the park headquarters. 

Llano Grande State Park, TX - Sept. 2017

The downpours were intermittent at Llano Grande State Park.

Between downpours I spotted a Green Kingfisher, a Lifer (my  first-ever sighting of this species). 

Green Kingfisher

Some green color may be visible in the image above, but I expect the color would be more vivid under better lighting conditions.

Green Kingfisher

Green Kingfisher

Green Kingfisher

The photos of the kingfisher were taken with a Nikon D500, 500mm f/4 lens and 1.4x teleconverter mounted on a tripod. 1/800 sec (first image) or 1/1000 sec (last 3 images), f/6.3, ISO 4000

These are large crops of the original images. Perhaps I can get closer to a member of this species in the future.

David Sparks

I retired in 2005 after 40 years of research and teaching at the University of Alabama in Birmingham (24 years), the University of Pennsylvania (8 years) and the Baylor College of Medicine (8 years). Photography is my retirement hobby.

Nature photography, especially bird photography, combines a number of things that I really enjoy: bird-watching, being outdoors, photography, travel, messing about with computers, and learning new skills and concepts.  I now spend much of my time engaged in these activities.

David Sibley in the preface to The Sibley Guide to Birds wrote "Birds are beautiful, in spectacular as well as subtle ways; their colors, shapes, actions, and sounds are among the most aesthetically pleasing in nature."  My goal is to acquire images that capture the beauty and uniqueness of selected species as well as images that highlight the engaging behaviors the birds exhibit.