Monday, December 1, 2014

Pedernales Falls State Park

Date of visit:  10/31 - 11/01/2014

In October of this year, a Dusky-capped Flycatcher was spotted at Pedernales Falls State Park.  I haven't spent much time in the Hill Country this year, so I picked him as my next chase bird.  It's the first official record in this part of Texas, so he was rare indeed.

I arrived late Friday, and thought I saw him almost immediately, but he wasn't calling.  His unique call was what I was depending upon for a positive id and I had been listening to a recording on the way.  I also didn't get any photos.

Campsites had been booked since spring per the park headquarters, so I headed into town and found a room with plans of returning in the morning.

Lesser Goldfinches

I spent several hours the next morning in and around the bird blinds.  I have great difficulty distinguishing the American Goldfinch from the Lesser Goldfinch.  A fellow birder helped with the id. The back is a little different and they don't have the white undertail coverts of the American, I can see after studying the pictures and my field guides.

Western Scrub Jay
Unlike the Blue Jays I'm used to seeing, which are bold enough to steal food right off your picnic table if you're not paying attention, the Western Scrub Jay is very shy and difficult to photograph even in the bird blind.

We had heard the Dusky-capped Flycatcher calling and he made a few brief appearances, but I still didn't have a photograph.  I left the area for awhile to see some of the rest of the park.  There wasn't much water in the falls.  It was just a trickle that looked like a wet spot on the rocks in my photographs. The view downstream made a better picture.

I did some hiking on and around the river, but didn't find any birds away from the blinds except by the headquarters.  The feeders there were attracting Cardinals and Titmice.  

Pipevine Swallowtail

I returned to the blinds and watched the butterflies in the garden.  The other birders could identify all of them, as well.  "If we can't find birds, we do butterflies," they said.  Sounds a lot like me.  I'm considering starting a life list for them.  

Dusky-capped Flycatcher

I went back inside one of the blinds and was informed he was in a tree in the center.  "He is?  Then what am I looking at over here?"  

"Oh, that's him," and they all rushed over to take pictures through the photography window.  Normally, you expect to have your turn at the window without everyone else crowding in.  I happily made an exception in this circumstance.  We all finally got our photographs.

Linking with Saturday's Critters.

10/31 Evening and 11/1 Morning-Noon
Low 47, High 66
Clear and Sunny
Species identified (13):  Carolina Chickadee, Northern Cardinal, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, White-winged Dove, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Orange-crowned Warbler, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Northern Mockingbird, Black-crested Titmouse, Western Scrub Jay, Turkey Vulture, Lesser Goldfinch, House Finch

Also Butterflies:  Monarch, Queen, Gulf Frittillary, Pipevine Swallowtail
Mammals:  Eastern Fox Squirrel, Hispid Cotton Rat  


  1. Great shots! The butterfly is spectacular.

  2. Excellent stunning images, thanks for showing this one Jen.

  3. Nice pictures - heat haze is a real problem here in the summer, especially with waders on mud flats and such like! And 'scopes make it worse. Oh well!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  4. I love the goldfinch and the butterfly!! So beautiful :)

  5. You got some great shots! Looks like a beautiful place to bird and hike!

  6. What a pretty set of birds, and great shots of them.

  7. I am planning a trip to Pedernales Falls State Park soon, (not knowing much about birding) do you think the Dusky-capped Flycatcher will still be around?

  8. Isn't that a beautiful place? I so enjoy going there. Tho, the falls have been a bit 'dried up' lately.

    Great photos...Loved the scrub jay especially

  9. I'm so glad you finally saw and photographed the Dusky-capped Flycatcher. Boy, he was worth the wait. All your shots are so beautifully done. Whenever I can't find birds, my 2nd choice is butterflies, after that it's any old insect and then flowers. If shooting is in your blood, you take what you can get. Right? :)

  10. That's wonderful! I love your photos. I'll also have to put this place on our bucket list. I am always adding to the list :)

  11. Whew...lucky you got him after the group butted right in there .... I definitely think I need a blind of some sort to get closer to some of my little guys. I wonder if there is a portable one ..or maybe just some camp fabric or something.... Must invent something...

  12. The, western scrub jay is a favorite of mine--such a beautiful but elusive, bird! Your photograph is wonderful!

  13. I adore the flycatchers. Lovely captures.

  14. What a pretty area full of good finds. The Scrub Jay defies his lowly name.

  15. beautiful shots of birds i don't get to see. :)

  16. It looks like a great place bird and I'm so pleased you got to see the flycatcher. And to share it with the other birders!

  17. Great post and critters. I would love to see the Scrub Jay! I am a little late but, thanks for linking up to my critter party.. Enjoy your weekend!