Road Trip To Marfa – Day 2

Day 2 in Marfa was spent mostly relaxing. The Allen Oldies Band had an afternoon gig playing on the back of a trailer that was hauled into the common area near the train tracks that is used on the weekends for the farmers market. David Beebe and Allen Hill had gone over to the Marfa Public Radio station to interview Allen Hill and promote the mid afternoon show as well as the evening show in Alpine and the show on Saturday at Padres.

The promotion did get quite a few people out to the afternoon show which lasted about 45 minutes.

Allen Oldies Band

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Allen Oldies Band

Allen Oldies Band

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Allen Oldies Band

The next show was in Alpine, about 30 minutes away from Marfa. Scheduled to start at 10:00 pm the band was planning to head over there around 4:30 for a 5:00 pm sound check. This meant about 5 hours of downtime plus the show which would run about 4 hours and then the breakdown and trip back to Marfa.

I opted to stay in town and skip the festivities. There’s still the Saturday night show at Padres and a lunchtime show on Sunday so I felt I could give this one a miss.

Walked around town and shot some pics and hung out with some of the band wives who also opted to skip the Alpine leg of the tour.

Windmill

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Windmill

Main Street

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Main Street

In the above picture you can see the Marfa Courthouse in the distance. I was able to climb to the top of the dome and put together this panorama of the City of Marfa with Main St. in the center.

Marfa Pano

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Marfa Pano

Backyard Birding Report

The baby Mockingbird I reported earlier is getting big enough to fly and turns out to be one of two babies living in the bushes in front of the house.

Still has some of his downy bird fuzz, but should be grown and on his way soon. We’re pretty tired of the incessant peeping. The mother Mockingbird does keep a watchful eye on the youngsters and goes to the backyard frequently for food.

Distressing that the Grackles have been showing up in greater numbers. We’ve even seen some babies being fed by their parents. They love the suet and the bread we put out and gunk up the birdbath dunking it.

I put out a larger feeder that is filled with a seed and corn cake. The bigger birds love it and the Blue Jay finally has a feeder that can accommodate his size.

Ricky the Cardinal was putting on a an odd show as I sat in the backyard this afternoon. Leaning from one side to another and making an insistant chirping noise he seemed to be confronting me.

Or showing off for the lady Cardinal…

Speaking of Ricky…a few weeks ago I noticed these two dark birds I had not seen before. Dull brown heads and smallish. About the size of the Cardinals and definitely not Blackbirds, Crows or Grackles. I didn’t really think much of it until this weekend when I saw this

It was obvious to me that the black bird was doing that little wing shake open mouth thing that baby birds do when they want their parents to feed them. Certainly Ricky was not going to feed this guy…WRONG!

What the heck? I watched Ricky feed this guy on and off all weekend. On Friday when I mentioned it to Cynthia she said “Oh, that’s a Cowbird!”

Turns out that Cowbirds lay their eggs in Cardinal nests and if the Cardinal doesn’t detect that a strange bird’s egg has been added the Cardinal will hatch the egg and raise the Cowbird as it’s own.

Poor Ricky! I can just imagine him thinking “Boy this kid’s ugly…and what an appetite! Guess he takes after his mother’s side of the family….”

Curious

Curious Squirrel

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Curious Squirrel

We hung a suet feeder in the tree outside the front windows in hopes of attracting more birds. Of course the neighborhood squirrel was interested and was perched on the branch checking it out. When we went to shoo him away he just looked at us. He seemed to know we were not a threat behind the glass. We banged and yelled and he just looked at us as if to say “neener neener neener! you can’t get me!”

Shot through the window with the Sony 100mm macro lens.

Chango Man

Chango Man

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Chango Man

Having a Friday off allowed me to stay up late on a school night and finally catch Chango Man at the Houston Continental Club on Thursday after Beetle.

I’d heard good things about Chango Man, mostly from the members of Chango Man but still, I wanted to check them out. Described as America Cumbia music it is a fantastic blend of Latin sounds that really sounds great. As front man El Fausto (Tino) Jackson likes to say: [paraphrasing] “There’s no reason Latin music can’t rock” and rock it does. It was a great show and definitely worth the time to go see.

Tino is great front man. I’ve seen him play with Beetle and Disco Expressions but when he is out front and taking charge is when he seems to be at his finest.

Chango Man

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Chango Man

Chango Man

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Chango Man

Chango Man

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Chango Man

Additional photos in the Chango Man Gallery

Noisy Neighbor

Baby Mockingbird

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Baby Mockingbird

There’s been a baby Mockingbird outside the front window and for the last few days he’s been cheeping and cheeping. He’s not in a nest and he’s super hard to find, especially since he stops cheeping when we go outside to look for him. I finally located him and was able to shoot the above picture using the nifty Sony 100mm Macro lens. He was pretty fearless and just watched me as I put the lens within a few inches of him. If you click to see the larger image you can see the intrepid photographer reflected in his eye.

To Photograph A Mockingbird

One of the more elusive visitors to the backyard feeders. This guy paused for a few photos before deciding that no amount of suet was worth risking an extended visit. Both shot with the vintage Minolta 500mm f/8 Reflex. Note the smoke ring-like circular bokeh in the second picture, a characteristic of this kind of lens that can either be really interesting or really annoying.

Mockingbird

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Mockingbird

Mockingbird

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Mockingbird

Backyard Bird Report – May 25, 2009

Gus (the guy over at swamplot.com who keeps “borrowing” content from baldheretic.com) has dubbed me the “Stay At Home Nature Photographer” which I suppose is in reference to the number of pics I take around the house of the birds and so forth. All in good fun, I’m sure.

This holiday weekend we had the usual suspects. House Finches, a mob of House Sparrows and numerous doves rule the day.

The Carolina Wren has been getting braver and braver, especially since we discovered his weakness for Orange Delight suet.

Mr Blue Jay continues to be elusive. He zips in and out pretty quickly. Seems awful skittish for such a well known bully of a bird.

In a revolting turn of events, a few lowly and undesirable Grackles have broken with the Westheimer tradition and have begun wandering into the residential areas and have found there way into our yard.

They seem to be raiding the neighbors dog food bowl and bringing the food to our birdbath for processing.

All of today’s shots were taken using the Sony 70-300G lens.

Get Some Sleep And Dream Of Rock And Roll

Peter King of the Light Rock Express rolled up to the Continental Club in his latest acquisition, a 1978 Chevy Van RV. It was a surprise for the members of the band who took some time enjoying some cold Löwenbräu with their manager William S. Graham before their performance on Friday evening.

Chevy Van

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Chevy Van

Chevy Van

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Chevy Van

The first song the band played that evening came as no surprise whatsoever.