Reflections

August 24,2022

Photo Number 236

We went to Anahuac today despite the threat of rain. We did mostly avoid the rain and spotted this Purple Gallinule behind a barbed wire fence, which didn't provide much cover. He mostly hid in the grass, but came out long enough to get this shot. Not perfect, but okay. We normally see them in May, so this is a little late in the year. In May they have a bright red beak, which this one doesn't have. It's a new one for the year, so we're grateful for that.


August 15,2022

Photo Number 227

Advanced technology in the birding world is pretty amazing. the bird ID app that I have, called "Merlin" can identify birds by photo or by sound. However, it's not perfect, so you have to be careful. For the 5th day in a row, Merlin has "heard" a Baltimore Oriole in our back yard, although I have neither heard nor seen one. So today, I decide to test it by putting out oranges. Orioles love oranges. At the end of the day, however, there was no sign of any kind of Oriole. Obviously, something in our back yard sounds like a Baltimore Oriole. Ain't technology great?


August 3, 2022

Photo Number 215

I used to complain about my yard being wet all the time, but since we've been in a rare drought, any rain we get is worth celebrating. We got a pretty good rain this afternoon. It didn't last long, but we are grateful for what we got. It does remind me that my gutters need to be cleaned out, but I can't do that while it's raining, can I? And when it isn't raining, I don't notice.


August 21,2022

Photo Number 233

We have a decorative tree in our back yard that we planted about 4 or 5 years ago. It produces purple flowers in the spring that normally last most of the summer. This year, though, probably due to the drought, the blooms faded pretty fast and we haven't noticed any for several weeks, maybe even two months. Today, however, I noticed a colorful spot up in the tree and thought it was some kind of bird. A lot of things look like a bird at a distance. It wasn't that, though, it was some new flowers sprouting out. I took the picture anyway. Summer's almost over and we have gotten rain every day for the last few days, so I guess that triggered new growth. Nature is pretty amazing. Maybe the entire tree will bloom like it does in the spring.


August 26,2022

Photo Number 238

Kites are cool birds of prey and there are many varieties in the world. We were fortunate enough to see three different ones this month. The first one is a Swallow-tailed Kite, aptly named, and we only see it in flight over our house. They rarely perch where you can photograph them. The one in the center is a White-tailed Kite with the white belly and tail. We saw this one near Anahuac, looking for breakfast. They are more coastal birds. The one on the right is a Mississippi Kite and has a gray belly and a black tail. We saw this one today perched on the big dead oak tree in our back yard, watching us watch him.


August 12, 2022

Photo Number 224

We took a few minutes from looking for birds at Anahuac to admire the new sculpture that tells the story of "The First Stand in Texas". It was the site of the first armed confrontation between Anglo-Texans and Mexican troops, on June 10–12, 1832, when William B. Travis and his law partner Patrick Jack organized local citizens to protest the harsh treatment of the settlers by the Mexican Army. If you're ever in Anahuac, check it out.


August 23,2022

Photo Number 235

Persistence pays off! We went back to Jones State Park this morning and had much better luck finding the Red-cockaded Woodpecker. You can barely see the red streak (called a cockade) on the back of his head, where the black and white meet. Since they are an endangered species, the ones that are hatched and raised in this park are banded so they can keep track of their progress. It rained overnight so the temperature was in the lower 70's and we found the bird in the first 15 minutes we were there, so it was a good day.


August 10, 2022

Photo Number 222

I wouldn't normally feature hummingbirds two days in a row, but this one showed up in our yard today, and that was unusual. We have one that spends the winter with us, arriving in December and leaving in March, but we've never seen one this time of year. These tiny birds normally spend the summer months in Alaska and NW Canada, then fly nearly 4,000 miles to their wintering grounds in Southern Mexico. In the late summer and fall, they return to the the northwest through the Rocky Mountains. This bird shouldn't be in our back yard, but here he is, probably on his way to Mexico, just a little off-track. Or, maybe he's our Rufous and will spend the winter here. There's no way of knowing, but he's welcome here.


August 14,2022

Photo Number 226

One of my favorite foods is creamed corn and Charles knows that, so today he went and got some corn on the cob and shucked it, then he cut all of the kernels off and scraped the cobs to get the cream out and made me some creamed corn.  Hot rolls, baked ham and creamed corn makes a lunch that's pretty near perfect.


365 Project August 2022

August 22,2022

Photo Number 234

With some new technology, birding has become a little easier. The digital camera has made it possible to take many more photographs since you don't have to buy and process film. Social media has made it easier to share information with other birders about where birds may be found. Now, there's an app on the phone that can not only identify birds from a photo, but can also identify them by their calls. We went over to Jones State Park in The Woodlands today to see if we could find the Red-cockaded Woodpecker, which is an endangered species that has been relocated and protected in that park. We used the app to "hear" the call, which also let us actually hear the call with our own ears as well. That told us that the bird was nearby, but because of the small size and color of it, we were never able to see it. We'll have to go back another day. All the technology still needs help with a little bit of luck.


August 6, 2022

Photo Number 218

I was cleaning out my bedside table drawer today and I ran across these cards. The ones on the left are signed on the back by Noah and the ones on the right are signed on the back by Jake. I had forgotten that I had them. I'm sure they've been in there for a few years. I don't know if they did them especially for me, or if they were having a contest. I suspect they did them for me just because of my love for birds. Whatever the case, I love them! I should frame them and put them on my wall.


August 29,2022

Photo Number 241

We're starting to see more Hummingbirds in our yard. I guess migration has started. The only kind we usually get are the Ruby-throated, other than the Rufous that comes in December, so I was surprised that my Merlin app identified the sound of a Black-chinned Hummingbird this morning. The Black-chinned has a purple gorget (throat) where the Ruby-throated has a red one, so I've been watching today to see if I could find a Black-chinned among the 8 or 9 that I've counted in our yard today. No luck. Either the app was wrong or the wayward Black-chinned didn't feel welcome and headed on south. I'm not trusting the app.


August 1, 2022

Photo Number 213

We went to Texas City Dike today to get away and we hoped to get a new bird, even though August is not the best time to find new birds. We never expected to get a Monk Parakeet, but that's what we got! As a matter of fact, there were four of them. They're native to Argentina, but became popular in the pet trade in the 1960's, and escaped pets have become feral and have developed large populations in the United States, mostly in large cities.


The only photographer that you should compare yourself to,

is the one that you used to be......                                                                                    

August 5, 2022

Photo Number 217

The rear wiper on our car needed to be replaced. I can replace a windshield wiper, right? No telling how many I've changed in my life and it's not a big deal. Wrong. After trying a couple of things that didn't work, I turned to the manual and you can see what it told me to do. It didn't mention that I had to take the entire unit off the car, I learned that from a youtube video, which didn't tell me how to actually get the wiper off. Back to the manual. Trying to do exactly what the manual says doesn't work either. Why can't General Motors design a rear wiper that is as easy to change as the front wipers?


August 28,2022

Photo Number 240

I was walking back home from a walk around the neighborhood when I saw this dragonfly on the sidewalk, probably soaking up some heat. Since I didn't find anything to take a picture of on my walk, I looked upon this as an opportunity to not only get a picture for the day, but to educate myself about things in nature that are probably all around every day, but generally overlooked.  This is a Great Blue Skimmer, at about 2 1/2 inches in length, it's one of the largest of the skimmer dragonflies. I know it's a juvenile because it's brown whereas adults are blue. I learned a little something today. Now if I can remember it.....


August 31,2022

Photo Number 243

All of the European Starlings in North America descended from 100 birds set loose in New York's Central Park in the early 1890's. The birds were intentionally released by a group who wanted America to have all the birds that Shakespeare ever mentioned in his writing. It took several tries, but eventually the population took off. Today, more than 200 million European Starlings range from Alaska to Mexico, and many people consider them pests. They can be noisy and agressive, but we think they are beautiful. Next time you see hundreds of them on power lines in the middle of a city, take a closer look.

August 8, 2022

Photo Number 220

We were looking through old photographs on the computer today and came across this flashback moment. This happened 10 years ago, July 2012. We were keeping Rachel, Jake and Noah for some reason and wanted something to do with them, so first we took them into the Big Thicket, deep in the woods of East Texas and found some Pitcher Plants, which are carnivorous plants similar to the Venus Flytrap. When we finished our nature trip, we went to a miniature golf park in Lumberton, just north of Beaumont called Adventure Kingdom. These characters were all over the park and the kids mimicked them every chance they got. Great Fun!


August 7, 2022

Photo Number 219

Shirley gave us this old oak office chair in about 1996. She was working in the Federal Court Building then and this chair was broken and destined to be disposed of. It was part of the original furniture that was ordered for the building when it was built in 1935, and Shirley couldn't stand to see it thrown away, so she asked if she could have it and then gave it to me, and I went to Abilene and brought it home. I was able to fix it and we've used it as our computer chair ever since. Lately, it's been screaming for some lubrication, so today I took the bottom part off and greased it up good. It's 85 years old, but now it's as good as new.


August 4, 2022

Photo Number 216

About two months ago, our local deers ate a pot full of Purslanes that were in our side yard. About a month ago I replanted the roots in a bucket, which I placed on the back patio, where the deer couldn't get to them. I planted some new ones in the pot in the side yard and sprayed them with deer repellent. The roots have started to bloom and the new ones, on the right, have been doing just fine, and the deers don't like them. So the Deer repellent really works.


August 11, 2022

Photo Number 223

A Mississippi Kite flew over the house today. I happened to see it and followed its flight to the big pine tree in our front yard. I think he brought a little rain with him. Thanks, Mr. Kite.


August 18,2022

Photo Number 230

It was a cold and rainy day....well, maybe not cold, but a little rain was a good excuse for staying inside and watching the Astros game. It turned out to be historic! The Astros had 25 hits, which tied the franchise record. They also scored 21 runs, which is a lot.  It was a fun game, unless, of course, you're a White Sox fan.


August 2, 2022

Photo Number 214

I got this photo in the mail today from Janet Wasson, whom I have corresponded with for 20 years or so concerning my Wasson family genealogy. The photo is of my grandfather, Shelby Lewis Wasson. Her husband John's great uncle was my grandfather's brother, and he grew up in New Mexico where most of the Wasson family moved before 1930. Since my grandparents were divorced long before I was born, I never knew my grandfather and don't have many photographs of him, so I was glad to get this one. I think, but I'm just guessing, that it was taken in the late 1930's. He was born in 1882 and died in 1961, so that would make him in his late 50's in this photo. What do you think?


August 25,2022

Photo Number 237

My latest Shutterfly book is all about the birds we have found and photographed at South Llano River State park. I was surprised at how many we have taken there over the last 5 or 6 years. The book can have as many as 111 pages and I think I will have 109 or 110 by the time I finish. It's been fun to look through all of our photos and identify birds that we didn't even remember getting! This is our favorite place to go to watch birds.


August 19,2022

Photo Number 231

Have you ever had that one thing in the pantry, like, say, a bottle of Karo Syrup, that just seems to get in the way? Every time you put something in there, you have to move it over. That's what happened to me so I started wondering what I could do with it. There was only one thing I could think of.


August 30,2022

Photo Number 242

It rained most of the day, so we didn't hardly got out of the house. I was wondering what picture I was going to post today, so I looked back at the pictures we took a year ago. I found this Red-headed Woodpecker and realized that we haven't seen any in our backyard for the past few months. I'm wondering if the weather has affected their location. We are on the western edge of their range and they are short-distance migrants, so it's possible that, due to the drought we have been in all summer, they just moved a little eastward where the weather wasn't so dry. I guess we'll never know, but I hope they return, we miss them.


August 13, 2022

Photo Number 225

We found a new lifer today, and we didn't have to leave the house! We have been going through our bird pictures for a book Janet is making and we came across this little bird that was a little mystifying. A little research revealed that it is a Warbling Vireo, a lifter for us! Unlike most birds we find hiding in the trees and bushes, this one has been hiding in our archives since September 25, 2017. It was a nice find and became No. 361 on our life list.


August 20,2022

Photo Number 232

I've heard of the mystical "Big Foot" all of my life, so they must exist, right? The only thing is, no one has ever taken a decent picture of one. Never, that is, until now. I spotted this one today in my neighbor's yard. You'll have to agree that this is a clear, identifiable photo. As far as I know, it's the best one ever. It must be worth a lot of money. I think I should copyright it before I try to sell it. Look for me on TV.


Looking back so that the view looking forward is even clearer

August 27,2022

Photo Number 239

Mick came over to watch the Astros tonight. There wasn't much to brag about in the game, but hey, that's baseball: some you win, some you lose and some you just don't show up.  So Charles was showing Mick some interesting information he recently received about some distant ancestors from Scotland, Sir David Hugh Ross and his wife Lady Margaret De Barclay Ross, his seventh great grandparents (Mick's eighth). Charles promises a win for the Astros tomorrow.


August 9, 2022

Photo Number 221

Migration has begun for Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. We've had one or two all summer long, but now we're seeing more. This little female has found a favorite perch between the two feeders on our patio. I wonder if she knows that she's perching on a hummingbird?


August 16,2022

Photo Number 228

I still have a few Elvis records like this one. It was released in October of 1961, when I was almost 16 years old. Elvis died on this date in 1977. I just thought I'd post this today in memory of the King of Rock and Roll.


August 17,2022

Photo Number 229

We've had oranges out in the yard for 3 days now, trying to lure a Baltimore Oriole down. Woodpeckers usually eat seeds and bugs and suet, not oranges. This Red-bellied Woodpecker must have a bit of a sweet tooth. No orioles so far.