Along the Natchez Trace

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Still Standing... ummmm... Sitting Guard...

We've been here at this gate almost 6 weeks.  While not even close to what we expected, it's been a good experience so far and continues to be.  Of the 6 weeks, we've probably "worked" one week....  maybe a little more, but it's been kind of feast or famine....  really busy 24 hours a day with lots of vehicles coming in and out and lots of work going on up at the well site....  OR....  days without any vehicular traffic...  maybe a company coming in to monitor equipment or check on something.  Then the next phase where we're busy for a couple of days again...  then back to very little traffic.  Right now we're waiting on the final stage of work to start.  Not sure when it will happen...  maybe this week...  maybe next.  After that this site should be finished and it will be time for us to move on.

Don't think for a minute that we've been bored...
There is so much going on around us.  A lot of folks think this part of Texas is nothing but mesquite, cactus and snakes.  Well, it does have all that, but so much more...

I finally put my game camera out...  along with some choice chicken parts (chicken necks are 88c a pound - critters don't care what you put out...  the raunchier the better)
A night visitor...  this coyote cleaned up one night.

I get daytime visitors as well...
Yep! My ugly vulture friend.
We have both turkey vultures and black vultures here, but there seem to be more turkey vultures.  I had posted a photo of a caracara the other day and mentioned that they, along with eagles will eat carrion.  Eagles prefer to catch their prey "on the hoof" (or from the water), but will eat carrion if times are tough.  
We've seen Golden eagles eating carrion in our travels.

We had rain yesterday...  it rained hard at times.  We don't have a rain gauge here, but from the looks of the dirt roads here, we got enough to make a difference.

 These are Velvet Mites...
They're in the Arachnid family... same as spiders and ticks.  They're about the size of a thumb tack head and the description says that in the arid southwest they often appear in numbers after a rain.
How true!  Today on my walk I saw quite a lot of them.

Bill pointed these guys out to me...
Dung Beetles
They are nicknamed "tumblebugs"...  Males will roll balls of dung while the females ride atop or assist alongside.
Can't you just hear her...  "Not that way, dear.... turn left up here...  slow down, dammit, you're speeding..  do you want to get picked up by a bird?"

 Many of the birds we see here are very colorful...
 We have both cardinals and pyrrhuloxia...  but since the cardinal is Ohio's state bird, I'll include his picture here.

This Ladder-back woodpecker usually manages to slip around to the other side of the post when I try to get his photo..
 Not the best, but good enough to ID him....

My Very Favorite
 I could write an entire blog about my quest to see Painted Buntings...
After years of  "gee, you just missed them...  there was one here just 5 minutes ago" and other similar incidents, I finally saw them "up close and personal" in San Blas, Mexico a few years ago.
There are lots of them here, and seeing them just makes my day!

Of course the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher is always closeby...
 I love watching them swoop over the pond...  catching insects as they fly.

This juvenile Curved-billed Thrasher probably was in the brood just across from our rig...
 Now he hangs out nearby.  I didn't realize that thrashers are mimes...  same as mockingbirds...  until just recently.  Guess I hadn't lived so close to them that I could watch (and hear) them so closely.

This Yellow warbler brought our bird list here to #56
 I'd seen them at the pond, and was 99% certain of the identity, but until I make a positive ID, they don't go on our list.  See the red "stitching" on his throat and belly?  Yes...  that's him for sure!

A couple of birds we've seen only once or twice...  guess we're still in the spring migration season.  Doesn't make any difference to us...  there's always something to see here.  

Who says gate guarding in the desert is boring?

That's All For Today?


  1. You do such a great job on your blog and your pictures. I enjoy it immensely.

  2. Wow, the painted Bunting is so pretty! I've never seen one. We have a pair of Scissortails here. They have a nest here somewhere, which I'm thrilled about! It's the first time I've ever seen one of them as well. You caught a nice variety there!

  3. I have never, ever seen a painted bunting, heard of one or could imagine one if described to me. What a heart stopper. Thank you!

  4. The Painted Bunting is just beautiful. I am growing more fond of birds with each passing day (except for starlings!) but I don't think I will see anything that colorful in our neck of the woods. I can see why you were excited.

  5. It's hardly fair that you're out there in the desert and see more colorful birds there than we do here in beautiful, green, Oregon! Our biggest following so far consists of starlings, juvenile starlings, sparrows, a scrub jay, crows, a couple finches, and one dove. We keep hoping for more!

  6. Great pics of a lot of birds I've never even heard of let along seen!

  7. Sharon, your adventures are so far from boring. Like so many others, I have been enjoying the diverse wildlife that you and Bill have been able to see and share in your posts.

  8. I love how you find so many things of interest about the Texas desert. I'm really looking forward to your blog about the Painted Bunting. I'm sure I'll never get to see one in real life!