Along the Natchez Trace

Friday, May 31, 2013

Night Shift

It's not quite 8:00 pm...  Bill is already sacked out.  The outside thermometer is still at 101 degrees, but it lies..... it's still getting a little sun.  It's probably somewhere in the high 90's.  I'm inside the rig now but when the sun finally drops below the tree line I'll sit outside.  Sometime around midnight I'll probably turn the AC off and open the vents in the rig, because even though there's little elevation here it does cool off at night.  The humidity climbs...  from barely registering to maybe 45%.  Our Scion sits underneath the flood lights...  the insects that drop down from hitting the lights or maybe just exhaustion from flirting with those lights all night...  will stick in the condensation covering the car.  
They'll provide a tasty breakfast for our feathered friends tomorrow morning.

It's too early for the nighthawks...  it won't be real dark for another hour, although it's staying lighter longer now.   I just turned on the floodlights...  not because it's dark, but I start reading or something and lose track of time.

Bill got up around 4:00 this morning and took over the day shift.  He took pictures of the sunrise...
I didn't see it, but it looks impressive!
 You are seeing the view of the well site from our motorhome.  The middle flame and the smaller flame at lower left are new this week.  The well is nearly completed.  It produces water, oil and gas.  The water they put in holding tanks...  trucks haul it away where it will be processed... separating the oil that remains and the water, which will be returned to the earth.  The oil will be pumped into huge holding tanks until they, too, are hauled away to a refinery.  The gas...  well, the gas is definitely a usable commodity, only the pipeline it will flow through hasn't been completed yet.  So...  now the gas is being burned off.  Those are "flares", burning off the gas....   once the gas can be piped away they will be removed.  Of course my Scots heritage just shudders at the waste.  Oh well, this is temporary.

After lunch I went for my walk...  binoculars and camera hanging around my neck...  eyes and ears on alert for whatever is out there.  I saw a yellow billed cuckoo zip across my path, and when it lit I heard its familiar call.  I caught a quick glimpse of the Scaled quail again today.  Heard, more than saw, the cactus wrens scolding something... maybe each other.  And...  hey... what's this?
 A New Bird?
I really couldn't ID it out in the field.  Was lucky enough to get fairly decent photos...  looked and looked in my field guide.  Looked at that heavy beak...  seed eater.  Kept looking at the color patterns..  what is it?  Finally came to the conclusion that it's a juvenile Black-throated sparrow. We had several nests in the vicinity.  One clue that doesn't show here is that it has white outer tail feathers that are visible when it flies (like a junco).  If anyone out there has a better idea be sure to let me know.

We had some rain last week, and WOW!, did the desert floor come alive!
 A lot of the growth is more subtle...  like a tiny seed has germinated and is pushing up through that hard earth.  But there are still lots of wildflowers...  and it's just amazing how they can survive!

I'm always trying to get photos of birds in flight.  I never know what the results are until I download them on to my laptop...  
 This is actually a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher...  flying head-on towards me.
Looks kind of like a huge bat, doesn't it?  Kind of weird....

I've been trying to get a shot of a lizard ever since we got here...  Finally...
 Isn't he/she beautiful?  They are so fast, they just zip away at my approach.  I was happy to finally get a clear enough photo that I'll be able to ID him.

Well, Bill started out the day's photos with a beautiful sunrise...  we'll end it with a shot of tonight's sunset.
It's beautiful, isn't it?

Bill took this picture early this morning...
Just another shot of..
The End

That's All For Today!


  1. Your pictures continue to amaze me. They are better than most professionals take. Needless to say I look forward to your post every day.

  2. Pretty fiery sun shot, there, Bill. Love all the bird and critter pictures. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Nice description of the night shift. It must be a strange job but at least you have had the experience.

    Nature is amazing in its tenacity, isn't it? A seed sprouts in hard-packed soil, a tree hangs on to a barren cliff-side, and the critters continue to thrive in the most inhospitable of conditions. Truly amazing. Great pictures.

  4. I'm shuddering at the thought of the heat you have out there. Would be too much for me.

  5. You do see a lot of variety there. The head on Flycatcher shot is great. It really does look like a bat!

  6. I thought the flycatcher was a bat... how very cool is that! whatta lizard! really is pretty. I like lizards... can NOT stand the heat... 101 at 8pm... oh, man?