Sunday, December 22, 2013

Critter Cam surprises Dec. 19-22, 2013

    This Junco with white wing bars is a rarity.  Note the Fox Sparrow for size comparison:-)
Heck if I know

 This is the first Flying Squirrel I have recorded in Utley in a long time

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Surprise....Utley Texas yard bird

The surprise is not that the species is here, I get them fairly often, the real surprise is that I actually managed to get a photo of one, as normally this bumbling photographer usually can not photograph anything that moves....Happy Thanksgiving All  Yesterday's Couch's Kingbird was calling up a storm just to the south of me this morning as well.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Great Property Bird On The Way To The Mailbox

This Couch's Kingbird was just down the road from me.  I heard it first calling behind a neighbor's house, folks I don't know yet, as I walked the half mile to the mailbox  I could not see it as it was somewhere in their Live Oaks.behind their house..But on the way back I waited it out and it finally appeared from behind the house just long enough for a few distant crumby photos...It was a long way back in there.  This in Utley, Bastrop County, Texas on a cold clear afternoon today. It was calling its "kip" call notes steadily but that was all.  So I stood at my gate up on the road straining to hear it, and was finally just able to.  I am easy...If I can hear anything from my property it goes on the mental list.   These are becoming pretty regular up here.   I hope it actually will decide to visit the many dead snags on my property proper.  It was just over a decade ago that these were almost unheard of in the county.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

My Turf in Utley, Bastrop Co. Texas

Many have asked how I get the birds and animals I get...Well it is rural here for now and all I can really do without showing the exact location of my property is to show you the area on Google Earth.  A wide variety of habitats for all seasons with the Colorado River and a major tributary (Wilbarger Creek) very nearby..  I will say that I live in the northwest quadrant of this image and my property and cabin is there to be seen.  Would be more precise but don't want NSA coming to raid my newly bought Butternut Squash and turn-buckle from the Tractor Supply Store. Increasingly crammed between the Austin Metropolis and  swelling Bastrop, where else do migrants have to pass?   This is part of the remaining gap of about 16-17 miles with little to no light pollution at night and still ample places for diurnal and nocturnal migrants to land and roost  mostly unmolested between those two rapidly growing cities.  Eventually, someday, this gap will close and become just more urban sprawl, though I hope not in my lifetime as I treasure this area.  It is my reason for living here, the reason I moved here and why I have remained here for almost three decades...Almost half my life....Still a very quiet neighborhood

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Chili Pequin ( Capsicum annuum ) time again

Nothing like this native Texan for chili fixings, scrambled eggs, beer "popcorn", stewed meats, or just to flavor anything except maybe lemon pie. Superb flavor...Maybe a little spicy for some.  Grows in semi-shaded areas of south Texas down into the tropics.  A favorite of Native Americans for thousands of years. A perennial that comes back every year and in good locations can grow to five plus feet. I am fortunate to have many, many volunteer plants throughout my property  Very drought hardy.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Spinning Wren

I have posted this before....It took me a long time to locate this video... has to be one of the strangest places I have ever found a roosting Carolina Wren....This sunflower seed head was hanging on my porch to feed birds.  The wren roosted here for about a week.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Birthday Surprise

What a wonderful piece of art and a surprise from Phoebe Lou Sealy on my birthday...She used a photo of the treasures my crows have left me in the past to create this wonderful graphic.  And thanks everyone for all the kind calls and wishes and Petra's poetry.  It was a very good day.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Crane and hawk migration over Utley Texas...Oct 17, 2013

Here are a portion of the estimated 5200 Swainson's Hawks that passed over the cabin this morning....A river of raptors that lasted more than 30 minutes

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Harvester Ant Beetles

While in Oklahoma I found beetles, sometimes twenty or more on the mounds.  Extremely common insects and everywhere ....I have to wonder what attracts them especially to the large Harvester Ant "hills"  BTW the "gravel" brought up by the ants mixed with good soil is extremely good for growing cacti as my plants will

American Persimmon, Milo Oklahoma Oct 13, 2013

  This small native tree has produced ultra sweet fruit for at least 50 years.  At the very western edge of its range, this is my favorite tree on the old farm...As it is with the raccoons and Opossums.  I rarely get to the farm in October when they are getting into their prime.  What a difference from the shriveled November leftovers the fruits are now.  The fruit was important to Native Americans and early settlers as a fall diet supplement.and treat.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Lucky Pigeon

After 5-7 minutes this pigeon actually escaped being breakfast after being captured by this Cooper's Hawk.  The hawk had already began plucking the bird.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Bobcat at the bird bath

With an old adult armadillo for size comparison..Taken by Critter Cam...Aug. 30, 2013  Utley, Texas


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Thirsty Pileated Woodpeckers

Bad photo thru a window.  The on-going drought have up to six of these birds coming into water...Something I never see except in water lean times

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Huge Snowy Plover poulation, Stephens Co. Texas , June 10-11

  Over the past two mornings we covered two areas teaming with Snowy Plovers on Hubbard Creek Lake in Stephens County.  The sheer amount of Snowy Plover habitat is incredible.  We barely scratched the surface and by our best estimate came up with about 180-190 birds that we actually saw.  We had no time to investigate identical habitats elsewhere.  We inspected ~100 birds that were within binocular range for color tags but found none.  We did not penetrate far into the "colonies" in an effort not to disturb the birds more than we already had.  Here are a few photos of occupied habitats...There are likely hundreds of acres similar to this on this drying lake.  From the boat few could be be detected but as soon as we stepped ashore they were as fleas on a dog., many actually running toward us as if to greet or distract us...They appeared from nowhere almost..  Dr. Warren Conway has expressed a great interest in following up on our discovery to obtain more detailed data and and more accurate count

Monday, June 3, 2013

Starry-eyed Sweetie

 Found this starry-eyed sweetie roaming across a pasture on our Milo , Oklahoma place on June 1 about 140 yds. from the nearest water.  I figure she was looking for better digs or was out to find a place to deposit a clutch of eggs.  She is pretty old but still cute as a bug. Measured roughly 23 inches long with head tucked in, likely would have been around 29-30 with head fully extended.   Snapped at me 3 times and here I was flirting with her by walking around here for photos and to admire her beauty!.  Note she is well off the ground in a defensive posture and it was hard to get a side shot as she pivoted to face me as I walked around her..  Once I picked her up I estimate she was around 18 lb.s if not more. At least she was heavier than my 15lb. cat.  It has been a while since I have found one this large...At least 3-4 years.  She could easily remove any unwanted warts or fingers.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Kenedy County Warbler (Colima?)

The photos were obtained by Barbara Rapstein, Jim Sinclair and Tom Langschied On the Norias Divison of the King Ranch Kenedy Co. on May 9...Your thoughts are of interest ........Colima?  These are the original high res. photos.   I have permission to post to this forum only and will allow those folks to post elsewhere if they so desire.  Due to the size of the files Google prevented me from uploading to another link and I have to hit the road so not much time to figure it out otherwise.  Great find regardless of species.  I Colima, it will be the first outside the Trans Pecos since 1978 in Texas