Saturday, April 12, 2014

Here, there, and everywhere

I've been in Tennessee the last couple weeks. I'm in Arkansas right now. I'll be in Texas later. Driving to New Mexico in a few days. Then to Colorado. After that Utah, then Nevada. Then I'll be all over Utah, Oregon, Nevada, and Idaho, etc. A friend tells me I need a microchip. She may be right. (Side note:  I'm using an ancient computer right now and blogger is having issues- the font/size looks really off. I can't change it. Sorry) (Above: Home, female cardinal with nesting material; Below: Happy turtle, crab apple blooms)
Things have been a little frazzled lately. My life has consisted of packing and then packing (and maybe crying) some more. Packing up in Texas, packing up in Tennessee. As nomadic as I tend to be, I'm sort of dying inside having to say goodbye to my Tennessee home where I grew up. I'm not sure if driving and crying for ten hours straight is very healthy or safe. But it is what it is. I said farewell yesterday morning.Can't really handle it. Apologies to friends who have heard me whine about  all this for months now. I'm well aware I'm an emotional nutcase. (Below: Ancient snapping turtle. Love these guys)
I'll miss the humble abode in Texas too. I managed to get a little attached to that run down little place. The field season is finally starting in about a week. I'm used to an early March start, so I've been anxiously waiting. I'll be running after birds all over those above mentioned states. Really can't wait for it to start! Will be living in a tent the whole season which works for me. It's time to get back to my dirtball nomad days. My only concern is that I may freeze to death.  I will no longer be spoiled with Texas weather. It's going to be a great season, I can feel it.Probably won't be online much, but if I am, I'll try to give some updates. Happy spring! (Below: Mourning Dove fluffing it out)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Hey, here's this guy again

Yeah, that's all I've got. (great blue heron)
Camera Critters

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Daily dose of cute: Fluff monsters

Fluff it out, guys! Tufted titmouse, pine warbler, mourning dove, blue jay. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

All you get is flowers

Please don't hate me, but it's definitely spring in central Texas. The bluebonnets and paintbrushes came out in the yard/horse pastures about a week ago. In celebration, we drank some local whiskey. It's some tasty stuff and it comes from the distillery (Rio Brazos Distillery) down the road from us, next to the local brewery (New Republic), both are in garage-type buildings, hidden away from stuff, out in the country. (they're legit though, don't worry). I may have lied, I'm not sure if we drank the whiskey in flower celebration, I uh, think it was just because. .. 
(The horses weren't really sure what I was doing lying in the grass and they all decided to come over and hang out with me, sometimes trying to taste my hair or camera strap. Side-note, I jumprope in the horse pasture because the driveway is dirt/gravel and it hurts like hell. While jumproping, they tend to sneak up on me and just watch me, moving closer a few feet at a time. It's kinda goofy... That spider was enjoying it's bee-brunch. )
So yeah, the wildflowers! That's something I will miss about Texas. Something I won't miss is fences, fences, everywhere. Fences! Not feces, in case you misread that. The birds are nesting already. That red-shouldered hawk pair that I got photos of copulating? They're on eggs (possibly nestlings?) nearby. Also, they're still copulating, all the time. There's 2 barred owl pairs that have nests nearby and a white-eyed vireo pair was busy collecting nesting material the other day. The red-bellied woodpeckers have a cavity also. There's a carolina wren pair who keep gathering material and checking out some gourds on the porch. They've roosted in there and brought material, but I guess they're not into it. I dunno where they've decided to build. 
Migration has brought in some new yard birds (we're up to 83 or 84 total now), and the harris's sparrows are still soaking up the Texas sun. In other news, Im going a little crazy with packing. It's never been my strong point even though I kinda do it all the time. Wish me luck with that....All that bird talk and no bird photos - geez, guys! You only get flowers today. Today's Flowers

Thursday, March 13, 2014

I wasn't born in Texas, but I got there as fast as I could.

*Props to my friend Candace for slapping that sticker (the title of this post) on my bumper a few years ago without me realizing it for weeks...*A little nostalgia, my friends, just a little.  I've worked with golden-cheeked warblers and black capped-vireos for six seasons. My base and most of the field sites were at one of my most happy places (a gigantic, beautiful ranch in the Hill Country).  I won't be there this season, and it's a little bittersweet. I first moved to Texas in 2007 and initially was a little worried about my decision. My friends made fun of me for booking it to Texas and I thought I'd be there for the spring and summer and then get outta town.  (Below:Johnny Nutcase at part of the headwaters to the Frio River)
Hilarious! I kept coming back for more. And more, and then some more.  Texas won me over. Err, not all of it- just the Hill Country and West Texas, really. And some scattered parts in between. But the point is I started feeling like Leakey (population 422) was home. I've met some of my favorite people in that town and even those whose names I never learned, I'll never forget. Everyone is so damn nice there. I can hardly handle it.  I'm partial to tiny towns, but Leakey rocks it. (below: endangered fishook cactus; Frio River; me at the entrance to a badass cave)
I got to explore so much of the Hill Country - most of our field sites were on huge (undeveloped) private ranches or state parks and I got to see so much great stuff. Really great stuff! Ya don't even know!  Last weekend I bid farewell to the ranch and to Leakey (I know I'll be back, but not sure when...). Bittersweet.  

Friday, February 28, 2014

Well hello there.

It's about that time. Last week I saw this red-shouldered hawk pair getting to know each other. Right time, right place. I was taking photos of yellow-rumped warblers and the female flew in pretty close and on an exposed snag's branch. Lucky me! I have a few more photos of the whole thing that I'll post later.  These were all taken in less than a minute.  The next day I saw some inca dove copulation, and there is a carolina wren carrying nesting material around and checking out nest spots. The jays are doing some serious territory fighting. Springtime! Breeding season! Yes please!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Juniper Gorge-fest 2014

We have a pretty good sized juniper (not sure of the species) in our backyard that produced a TON of berries (cones, rather) this season. The Yellow-rumped warblers have really enjoyed this. So have the cedar waxwings and robins, but the butterbutts (yellow-rumpeds) own this tree, no questions asked.
I've enjoyed watching them go absolutely crazy with the berries. (Side note: they aren't actually berries- they are really conifer cones that look an awful lot like berries). The birds have eaten pretty much ALL of them, and now they are down to the last remaining bunches near the bottom of the tree. This makes it a lot easier to get photos of them during their gorge-fests!