Sunday, June 12, 2016

Cross Timbers Trail

Phil Plank heard my online wails of despair over not seeing a Painted Bunting at LLELA on Wednesday, and took pity on me. He graciously offered to accompany me to some spots near the Cross Timbers Trail head where he had recently gotten some good shots of the colorful birds. Whining works!

Sunrise, Cross Timbers Trail
We made it out in time to catch the sunrise.  No clouds meant no real drama in the sky.  But the view east from a relatively high ridge was still lovely.

Sunrise, Cross Timbers Trail
Grapevine Lake is still quite high.  The "Watch Out for Water on the Road" sign was right at the edge of the lake's current shoreline.  We spent a few minutes taking in the swampy scene.

Backlit Thistle, Cross Timbers Trail
The low sun provided some nice opportunities for isolating subjects, like with this backlit basket flower.

Black Vultures, Cross Timbers Trail
We did have some success seeing Painted Buntings.  But I was unsuccessful getting a clear, sharp shot of them.  So we switched locations in hopes of better luck.  These spectators seemed to also be looking for wildlife -- just specimens that were no longer moving.

Eastern Bluebird, Cross Timbers Trail
Every flash of color in the trees caught our attention.  And it seemed we'd also captured the interest of this Eastern Bluebird.

Indigo Bunting, Cross Timbers Trail
Our most cooperative subject of the day by a long shot was this Indigo Bunting.  He had his territory clearly staked out, and sang loud and proud to let everyone know it!

Black-chinned Hummingbird, Cross Timbers Trail
An unexpected spot -- Black-chinned Hummingbird resting briefly atop a dead tree.  And I do mean briefly; he didn't give us long to take his picture before buzzing off.

Painted Bunting, Cross Timbers Trail
We'd been out for a few hours now, and still hadn't gotten that nice look at a Painted Bunting we'd come for.  So we returned to where we'd started for one more shot, and did eventually attract a curious male.  He even finally stayed in some nice light after moving from one concealed perch to another.  Unfortunately, there was one tiny twig between me and him spoiling the scene.  Still, this was the sharpest Bunting shot of the day for me.

Eastern Amberwing, Cross Timbers Trail
A nearby Eastern Amberwing was much more accommodating.  Thanks, dragonfly!

Bubmlebee on Thistle, Cross Timbers Trail
As we headed back to the car I had one of those right-place, right-time moments with a bumblebee and basket flower.   The kind that remind you that nature isn't run by Disney, and you're not guaranteed to encounter the animals you're hoping for.  But if you keep your eyes open and don't limit your expectations, you sometimes see something even better than what you'd planned! 

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