Along the Natchez Trace

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Questions? Answers!

I get comments now and then and sometimes forget to answer questions.  But today I'll try to do just that.
One of the beautiful things that hurts!

Snakes?  Well, we haven't seen any, but you better believe they are here.  And they are the poisonous kind...  rattlesnakes, coral snakes....  the kind that if they don't kill you you'd probably wish they had.  There are also scorpions, spiders, thorns, stickers, and heaven only knows what all is out there waiting to get you.  I guess beauty has its price.

Sphinx Moth - one of the night creatures

Bill & I both wander around a lot...  but we're both very careful about where we walk and where we put our hands.  I wear hiking boots if I'm going into the brush.  I'll admit that I have to remind myself when I'm geocaching not to just rush right up and poke my hand in little nooks and crannies.    Years ago I was bit by a copperhead snake and that's not an experience I'd want to repeat.

Butterfly Migration...

There seems to be a butterfly migration this week...  hundreds... no thousands... of these are in the air.  They love the wet spots... 
You should see the fronts of the trucks...  they are plastered with butterflies from "head on collisions" while on the road.

Another question is ...  do I keep a bird list?  Well, I did....  I had a nice spreadsheet on my computer listing the birds I'd seen... both in the US and other countries.  It wasn't terribly long, but numbered over 400 species.  But I didn't start that list when I began birding, which was a LONG time ago.  I didn't keep a list of birds I saw while in an ornithology class in college.  In fact, I'd feel kind of guilty listing those birds as "life" birds because the prof would point them out.. we'd all check them out through our binoculars and try to remember the field specs or the song.  I did fine in that class, but wonder how many I'd be able to ID again if I were on my own... we're talking spring warblers, sparrows....  you know... those LBJs.

Some new birds this week...

 Black-bellied Whistling Ducks on the pond
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks in flight

Anyway, that computer crashed, and as I'm not good about backing up data, I lost that list a long time ago.  Now Bill & I generally make a list of birds we see in a specific place.  Like when we were in Costa Rica we kept a list...  heck, most of the birds we saw there were new to us.  And we saw several species in Spain that we'd not seen before.  So the birds in these photos are on my "Gate Guard" list.

Deer at the Pond...
There are several deer here...  I see as many as 4 at a time.

Speaking of lists, yesterday I added the Black-bellied Whistling Duck and the Great Egret to the list of birds at this site...  today I saw a Scarlet tanager...  that brought our list up to 39 "for sure" species right here.  We've seen a few that we haven't IDed positively...  maybe before this job is done.

I had to kind of chuckle about Judy's comment about my blurry photos.  Honest...  I really did have cataract surgery...  both eyes!  But I don't always look at photos the same way as everyone else.  If I get a photo of ...  say a heron...  and even though it's a mile off and I'm the only one who knows what the heck's in that photo..... I'll include it in my blog if I want a record of what I've seen.  Sure, I like a nice, crisp photo as well as the next person, but as silly as it may sound, I even like the blurry photos that look like a surrealistic watercolor.
One of those blurry photos...
I just barely caught this Great Egret as it was taking flight...

And again, the question of boredom.  No...  just doesn't happen..  Bill has been waxing the rig...  he gets an early start because days like today by midafternoon the temperature can be 102 degrees.  We both walk around the site....  up to the pond...  along some of the dirt roads.  One of us has to stay near the gate and be on hand to open it and record the data, but if we get 2 vehicles a day now that's considered a big day.  We do get quite a few vehicles that are at the wrong site.   Bill always gets them headed in the right direction.

We do get some other visitors...
Ground squirrels are frequently seen...

And ....
Bob-white Quail are always a delight to see.
In many places they are no longer around...  much of their habitat has been developed into commercial or housing areas.

So we continue to guard our gate...  continue to take walks and occasionally drive into Carrizo Springs to shop.  And best of all, we continue to just enjoy all the things we see around us.

That's All For Today!


  1. And to are actually getting paid to do this! What a deal, eh? Didn't turn out to be too least so far! I like your photos, too...even the fuzzy ones. Reminds me of some that I get. My photos may be fuzzy, but they help my memory stay sharp! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I started a bird list twenty five years ago and lost it just as you did. The bob-white made my heart go pitty pat when I saw it. I have not seen, and even more sadly, heard, a bob-white since my twenties. Even in Texas they look just like they arrived from Ohio!

  3. You are lucky to have found such a great job. Throw me in that briar patch.

  4. ...and I'm enjoying it too!

  5. What a shame about losing your birding list. (Which reminds me that I should back up a bunch of stuff in my computer!) The black-bellied ducks are really unusual looking. I finally found it in my trusty Natl Geo Field Guide to North American Birds and it shows that they are called Black-bellied Whistling Ducks and they only inhabit the lower tip of Texas. You were lucky to see some and to get such good pictures!

  6. I hesitated for a long time making that comment about blurry pictures because I didn't want to insult you or anything. I also thought maybe it was my computer or chrome that was causing the blurriness. I always enjoy your photos, but sometimes think maybe I need new glasses. ;) Especially when I saw those moose shots from Maine...

  7. Another nice post! I enjoy seeing your photos.

  8. When I see a new bird (or animal) I quickly snap a picture and then IF I get time, I zoom in and try to get a better picture. That way, I at least get some sort of a picture of it. Once I get a better picture of that particular creature, I toss out the inferior picture. Something is better than nothing, right? Love all your pics today.