Along the Natchez Trace

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Windy day and Winding Down

My fellow blogger, Dizzy Dick, is always wondering about things... often math and science related.  Me... I'm a "word" person.  As I've written, I'm struggling to learn Spanish...  it's not easy for me, even though I love language, origin of words and even grammar.  So, when I write a blog title such as the one today, I grin a little...  think about a windy road or is it a windy road?  Okay, I'll quit whining and start writing....

We're back in the gate guard business...  well, I guess we never left, but the last couple of weeks have been really quiet.  This last weekend the workers started a new phase, and now the tankers are hauling off the "flow back"...  water mixed with ???...  that was pumped down the well and is now coming back up the pipe.  There are 2 trucks running... but they run 24 hours a day...  It takes 1 truck about 4 hours to complete one run.  We log him in as he comes through the gate...  he drives to the well site and the liquid is pumped from a frac tank to his tanker...  he drives back through the gate and we log him out... he'll be at the site anywhere from a half hour to as long as an hour and a half... depending on how fast they are filling up the frac tank.  He takes the liquid to a disposal site, empties his tanker, drives back to this site...  and starts all over.  Since 2 trucks are running that means the gate needs opened and logging done about once every hour....  day and night.

I like doing the night hours....  I really didn't think I would as I'm not a night person.  There are huge flood lights that are on all night long...  the moths and other insects love them.  And nighthawks love those insects, so there's a lot going on.  It's never boring.  I've written this before, but, the tarantulas and scorpions seem to be nocturnal...  Last night I saw 2 huge tarantulas scurrying across the road.

It's really hard for me to get a decent picture of one...  the lights are very bright and even small things cast huge shadows.  This guy was at least 4" in diameter (including legs)...  his body was about the size of a silver dollar.   If I lived here all the time I'm sure I'd have one as a "pet"....  it is just amazing to watch them shed their old skin as they grow.

I guess it shouldn't be surprising to find so many bug-eating birds in this area...  and the number of birds in the flycatcher family is quite large...
 Brown-crested Flycatcher
 Couch's Kingbird

Those above are a couple...  we also have the Western Kingbird, the Willow Flycatcher, the Ash-throated flycatcher and the Scissor-tailed flycatcher as well as some others that we haven't seen or haven't positively identified.  Some of these little buggers are VERY difficult to tell apart.  I try to get a decent photo that shows good field markings, and it's not easy.  But a lot of fun trying!

This little guy loves this mesquite, thorny shrub area...
Can you see his chestnut colored shoulder?  He's only about 4 1/2" long and it's fun to watch a flock of them flit in and out of those thorny bushes.

We've been here long enough to watch birds build nests, incubate eggs and raise their broods.  Even the goldenfronted woodpecker babies finally fledged...  though they didn't hang around their nesting cavity long enough for us to witness.  We do see juvenile woodpeckers at the oranges, so we know they're still around.

We didn't see the nest, but the Pyrrhuloxia bring their offspring to our feeders...
Baby is as big as his Dad...
I've read that in other areas this bird is called the "Silver Cardinal", but when I Google that all I get is a species of maple tree, so I can't verify this.

Actually, not one bird has taken seeds from the feeders...  they all prefer to eat off the ground.  I have a variety of feed out, including a thistle sock.  Haven't had the first goldfinch... thought I might get some Lesser Goldfinch...  but nada...  no American, no Lesser...  nunca.

Our bird count here is up to fifty-eight.  Not bad for this arid desert-like place.  Of course the pond draws a lot of birds that we don't get here right at our motorhome.

Well, after spending the night watching tarantulas and nighthawks, I went to bed around 4:00 this morning, and Bill took over the gate.  I woke around 8:00 - the rig was rocking in the wind.  It's still windy at 1pm, but not gusting as much as this morning.  Bill had to go to Uvalde (about 60 miles north) to get fingerprinted and will be gone until late afternoon.  He rolled the awning all the way closed before he left so I don't have to deal with that. 

As to the winding down...  looks like the company has completion of this well high on its priority list now...  a week...  maybe 2 at the most, and we should be done.

Hmmmm...  maybe we'll get our bird count up to 60 before we head out.

That's All For Today!


  1. That's a good sized bird list for sitting in one spot!

  2. Your photos of those flycatchers brings a whole new meaning to that term "little buggers"!! HAHAHA

  3. Such great photos of the birds. But first sight of that first tarantula and I'd be packing up my RV and heading out. ¡Dios mio!

  4. 50 at one site in so short of a time. That is a great accomplishment and you are out in the middle of west Texas in among nothing. There is a lot of nothing in parts of Texas for sure. I used to keep a list of birds I have seen. Need to make a list of what I see just here on my place. I have enjoyed your stay at that gate.

  5. Wow, you're seeing a lot of interesting birds and "things"!! lol. That Tarantula would scare me. Not a fan of spiders.

  6. I think I said this before--spiders that big would make me rethink this gate guarding gig, especially at night!

  7. I sure hope those tarantulas don't decide to come inside....they give me the hibbie-gibbies!
    But, the birds...WOW! You have great shots and I hope you make it to 60!

  8. haha... I have the same problem because I live off winding streets and it's usually very windy. I have had some nights in my day but none watching tarantulas and nighthawks... who did I know some where in my life who had a tarantula for a pet... said they were a lot of fun. probably some guy I met whilst drinking tequila.

    gave up drinking.... love the bird pictures... Texas does have a lot of birds... first time I ever saw a Green Jay ... gorgeous

  9. Years ago, I lived in a mobile home remember riding out storms as it rocked in the wind. It's easy to see how they can be carried away in a tornado. Hope you're not in a tornado-prone area!

  10. I don't believe I'd want to be keeping company with Tarantulas at night.