Looking back so that the view looking forward is even clearer


February 19, 2022

Photo Number 50

Last night I was checking out a Facebook called "Birds of Texas" and I saw that a Mandarin Duck was seen in a neighborhood pond in the town of Spring, which is not far from us. So, we got up and drove over to Spring and was able to find the pond and the duck. They are native to China and so are rarely seen in North America. They have been sold as pets in the past because they are exotic and very pretty birds, as you can see.We had never seen one before, so it goes on our life list, number 337. They are related to Wood Ducks and actually nest in trees. There was also a pair of Mute Swans in the same pond, so we got two new species for the year for the price of one.

February 10, 2022

Photo Number 41

When we lived in Coldspring, someone told us about an Eagle's nest in a big pine tree just out of town, so we found it and watched it all winter. The pair raised one hatchling, which flew away with them in April of 2014. We decided to check on the nest to see if it was still there 8 years later, and this is what we found. We have no way of knowing if this is the same pair that we watched back then, but this is the same nest and it looks like they probably have a family started. We'll probably check on it occasionally in the next few weeks. Does anybody want to go with us?

February 13, 2022

Photo Number 44

We went out to the Katy Prairie today to see what we could find. There were a lot of Red-tailed Hawks, including this handsome pair and a lot of Eastern Meadowlarks, which was expected, except that a pair of hawks together, is unusual. We did see a Brewer's Blackbird which was not expected.

February 4, 2022

Photo Number 35

Yay! I finally finished my Red Junglefowl pincushions. Please remind me never to do this again.

February 14, 2022

Photo Number 45

Just walking the streets of Roman Forest with the sun to my back, looking for birds. Nothing. Then I came back home and sat on the patio. I was rewarded with the appearance of this pretty nuthatch. 

February 17, 2022

Photo Number 48

This afternoon as I embarked upon my walk around the neighborhood, I came upon this road that runs deep into the forest. I had seen it before, but for some reason I had never walked down it to see where it goes. Despite the fact that the morning rain had left puddles and muddy ruts, I figured this was a good day to explore it. I found that it had water lines, thus the fire hydrant, and drainage ditches on both sides of the road. I guess that someday the street will be paved and houses built on both sides. Judging by the building boom going on in Roman Forest, that may happen sooner than later.

February 27, 2022

Photo Number 58

We went out again this morning to try again to find some birds. We were a lot more successful! Andra kept a list and it shows that we saw 35 different bird species. Now, I must tell you that I didn't get a picture of each one, so I'll only be able to count the ones that I photographed. I'll have to work that out when I get home. We stopped for lunch at Smok'n Jalapenos. Chuck was looking at his phone and I told him to look up. He looked up. Back at the house, Chuck showed me how he put out the suet that they made yesterday. It has its own little cage. tomorrow, we're off to Georgia.

February 1, 2022

Photo Number 32

Just as we planned, we woke up to a new month and a new day, no rain, no fog, just the warmth and brightness of sunshine. A good day for birding, and we weren't disappointed. We were staying in Fulton, which is just across Compano Bay from Goose Island, so went there first, hoping to get better pictures of the Whooping Cranes. They were closer to the road than we've ever seen them. The barbed wire is right on the road, so you can see how close they were. Even better, the two adults we saw yesterday were accompanied by two juveniles, probably in their first winter. Next, we caught the ferry over to Port Aransas to visit the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center, which features a long boardwalk with an observation deck that has the bay on one side and a marshy grassland on the other. There were lots of ducks, pelicans and other wading birds on the bay side, but on the marsh side, we found the American Bittern trying to camouflage himself in the tall grasses. He's very good at that as you can see. We also spotted the elusive Clapper Rail nearby that hides lower in the reeds. Then we walked out on a trail among taller and dryer bushes. We were coming back when some folks asked if we had seen the Anis. We didn't know the Grooved-billed Ani was in this area so we hadn't looked for them. They are out of range this far up the coast, but had recently been spotted here. Charles went back to see if he could find one, and he was fortunate enough to spot a pair of them. Great day!

February 15, 2022

Photo Number 46

I'm starting a new Shutterfly book for our annual vacation with Mick's family. One of the first things I do when I start a book is to move all of the photos that I took to the desktop, in preparation for uploading them to Shutterfly. There are 235 photos on the screen and I have 216 more that Mick took. I have a lot to choose from and it's going to take a while to make the book. This is how I spend a lot of my days, but I really enjoy reliving the good memories.

February 3, 2022

Photo Number 34

It's cold in Southeast Texas this morning, and it's not going to get any warmer any time soon, so Charles mixed up some fresh warm sugar water for our little Rufous Hummingbird. He seems to appreciate it.

February 12, 2022

Photo Number 43

When I saw a blue bird on the peanut feeder, I thought it must be a different bird from the normal Eastern Bluebirds in our yard, because I've never seen one eating peanuts. I got my camera and it flew over to the pileated woodpecker on our pine tree. It really is an Eastern Bluebird, but it must not be very smart. It not only eats peanuts, but if this had been a real woodpecker, that little bluebird would have been in serious trouble!

February 21, 2022

Photo Number 52

Happy Birthday, George and Abe!

February 28, 2022

Photo Number 59

We headed east this morning along the Trail of Tears route into Georgia. It's a beautiful drive that meanders north of Atlanta, so we didn't have to go through the big city. Lynn is moving into her room at the Inn. We have separate rooms this year on the ground floor.  After a brief rest, we met some of the ladies at the restaurant, which is a part of the Inn. We know some of them from last year, but there are a few new ladies that we are getting to know. Looking forward to a great time.

February 7, 2022

Photo Number 38

Lynn and I have been going to the same hairdresser about every six weeks for many years, since we both lived in Sugar Land, which is on the other side of Houston from where we live now. Her name is Leah (pronounced "Lee") and her shop is still in Sugar Land! I took our picture in the mirror today because, well, that's where I was today and that's what I did.

February 8, 2022

Photo Number 39

I remember when Mick and I took a trip about 12 years ago on a quest to find 2010. We found it somewhere in Henderson County if I recall correctly. I thought it would be fun for Janet and I to make a trip to find 2022. We found it this morning in Houston County.

February 9, 2022

Photo Number 40

We don't normally take road trips two days in a row, but we wanted to visit the Boliver Peninsula, which is a world birding site. We went by Anahuac NWR on the way, where we got a photo of the beautiful White-tailed Kite. In 1836, Fort Travis was erected on the east end of Galveston Island to protect the newly formed Republic of Texas. In 1898-99, a second Fort Travis was established across Galveston Bay at Bolivar Point. Two batteries were completed and a third was built in 1922. Coastal defenses were added during World Wars I and II. It has also served as a refuge from hurricanes and as a civil defense shelter for area residents. We took the ferry across to Galveston and came home via the Texas City Dike, where we found this Curve-billed Curlew. We had a nice day chasing history as well as birds.

February 20, 2022

Photo Number 51

If you're reading this, you know Janet and you know that she takes a lot of pictures with her camera, including beautiful pictures of birds. What you may not know is that she doesn't take pictures with her phone. Since she is going to a quilting retreat in Georgia soon, she wanted to be able to take photos and send them to me so I could post them on this 365 Project. So we had a lesson today with her phone. This is a practice picture she took of a couple of pieces of petrified wood from East Texas, which she then emailed to me. The pieces were taken from the forest by her grandfather near his San Augustine place when construction for the Sam Rayburn Reservoir was being done. Construction began in 1956 and was completed in 1965, so it was during that time period. We salvaged them from the O'Neal farm and took them back to East Texas. Now, she will be able to take pictures on her trip and I'll be able to let you know what she's up to every day.

February 6, 2022

Photo Number 37

We ordered these two birdie pot-sitters almost two months ago, then Christmas came and went and we forgot about them. They finally showed up. I've heard of a slow boat from China, but this is ridiculous! Oh, well, they are cute.

February 11, 2022

Photo Number 42

Janet is working on her Shutterfly Christmas book. We all know that she loves to do these books and she is a master at it. She likes looking back at photographs of the events in our lives. It's like living them over again. Our lives are fully documented. We used to have to dig through boxes full of photographs, but now, thanks to Janet, all we need to do is pick up a book.

365 Project February 2022

February 25, 2022

Photo Number 56

Lynn and I packed up and headed out early to Huntsville, Alabama, to spend a couple of days with our brother, Chuck, and his wife Andra. We got there about 8:30 after a 13-hour trip. Looking forward to the weekend with them before going on to Georgia on Monday.

February 18, 2022

Photo Number 49

Yesterday we had a temperature high of 81 degrees. This morning it was 37. The clouds looked much different too. They are called "cirrostratus" clouds. I googled it. They are apparently formed very high in the atmosphere and can be formed when a warm front passes over much colder air and causes water droplets to freeze. The sunlight filtering through the ice crystals cause unusual patterns and colors. I don't know about you, but I'm ready for Spring to spring.

February 22, 2022

Photo Number 53

Our No. 2 tree, driving slowly, No. 2 fire plug, a pair of Whooping Cranes, a road sign, a 1934 New Jersey license plate with a "2" in the number and 2 birds sharing peanuts. Happy TWOsday!

February 2, 2022

Photo Number 33

Wednesday morning was warm but very foggy. We headed up the coast, not knowing if we would see any birds, or even if we did, whether we would be able to get any good pictures. We decided to try our luck at the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge and by the time we got there the fog had lifted, so we did find a few birds like the Roseate Spoonbill, which posed for us. We don't usually get this close to them. The gull was further out, but we were able to get a shot of him. We see a lot of gulls, but they are usually in big groups and are usually Laughing Gulls, but sometimes a different species of gull comes along. This one was all alone, so we took his photo just in case. It turns out that he is a Lesser Black-backed Gull, which is a lifer for us! We got home safe and sound and now we're getting ready for the winter storm.

February 24, 2022

Photo Number 55

Packing up my Red Junglefowls for the trip to Georgia. I wonder if I need a license to transport chickens across state lines?

A photograph is the pause button of life.......                                                                                             

February 23, 2022

Photo Number 54

Baby, it's cold outside! Which way is Spring?

February 5, 2022

Photo Number 36

Who likes candy corn? We like to mix dry-roasted peanuts with candy corn. It makes a good snack that we call "Homemade Paydays" because we think it tastes just like Payday candy bars. The last time I went to the store, I impulsively bought some dry-roasted peanuts, but when I went looking for candy corn, I couldn't find any. I went ahead and got the peanuts because I didn't want to take them back to where I got them. So, the next time I went to the store, I checked to see if they had any candy corn, and luckily I found two small bags, so I put them in my cart. As I was checking out, I heard the checker ask "Who buys candy corn, anyway?" When I looked up to answer her, I saw that she was talking to the guy in line behind me. She acted like I wasn't even there. She was a young lady with her hair dyed bright red (I didn't hold that against her) and the guy was probably her age. So, she was saying things like "I thought this was the wrong season for candy corn" and "Who eats candy corn, anyway?" and the guy was saying "I don't even like them. I didn't know anyone liked them".  I could have explained about the homemade Paydays, but I decided not to intrude on their conversation.

February 16, 2022

Photo Number 47

Back in July of 2020, I made this Astros wall plaque out of scrap wood and a rusty metal band that came off of a whisky barrel that was used as a planter. It hangs directly above our TV.  I was watching local news when it was announced that pitchers and catchers were scheduled to report to major league training camps today. That ain't happening, but it got my baseball juices flowing. Instead of boring Olympic competitions, I should be watching how Justin Verlander is recovering from his Tommy John surgery. I should be following the new prospects that might be in camp, or finding out who was going to replace Carlos Correra at shortstop. That's not happening because MLB team owners and the major league players union can't reach an agreement on how they're going to spend all of their gazillion megabucks. I might as well start getting used to the fact that this season will probably be delayed. I'd cry about it, but as we all know, there's no crying in baseball.

February 26, 2022

Photo Number 57

We went out to find some birds, but the cold, rainy weather didn't cooperate, so we spent most of the day indoors, visiting and cooking. I took these photos with my phone and sent them to Charles. Chuck raises the tropical frogs. I think they're blue dart frogs? Andra made some delicious potato soup for supper, but that's not what she's making in the picture. She's chopping up ingredients for suet. She calls it dessert. Chuck's cutting it into squares and it looks good enough to eat. Unfortunately, it's for the birds!