East Texas Naturalist Blog

Information and photographs mainly about nature in east Texas. Our authors have widely diverse backgrounds and write on a variety of topics.

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Living on the Edge...The Spring-Time Circus is Here!

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Glorious Springtime is in full swing here in the Piney Woods of East Texas.  While every season has its fine characteristics, nothing beats Spring for the welcome return of blossom colors, breeding season bird song, and balmier temperatures.  The sun's rising arc, shining through the new tree foliage, with its resulting shadow play on everything below it, just makes our landscapes fresh and new again.  The birds seem to echo this joy in the long, magnificent birdsong we hear daily now.  The time has come for the birds' pairing up, male and female, and the nest building has begun.  

 

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Michael Mathews
, Jill. The Cedar Waxwings made their run through here a few weeks ago and it was really fun. Every time I tried to get photos, ... Read More
Wednesday, 30 March 2016 15:34
Kristi Mears Thomas
Jill, I LOVE this, and am not sure how I missed it this past week. Your descriptions are so beautifully vivid and accurate. We'v... Read More
Tuesday, 05 April 2016 08:02
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I Know Why My Frustrated Mockingbird Sings

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Ah, it is Spring, and, as they say, a young man's fancy turns to love.  Well, a bird in this case. 

Last Spring, I had a Northern Mockingbird pair in my yard.  They built a nest in a tall bush about twenty-five feet from my front door and fifteen feet from the feeders.  For a couple of weeks or more it was interesting to watch their courtship and nest building.  

In a few weeks they were a bit more secretive and then a few weeks after that, three little fledglings appeared.  They would often sit in a group and beg whenever one of the parents got close.  All in all, as before, fun events to watch.  

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And Then There Were Two - Eagle's Nest, Week 4

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Making a quick check on Monday afternoon - the only day this week without predicted lake wind advisories - and at first only mom was visible on the nest.  Movement, then one head pops up.  We were thrilled and not expecting anything more, and within a few minutes, more movement to the left. A second little face is staring out!  Wow!  How great is this?  Not just one, but TWO eaglets in the nest! 

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Michael Mathews
OH BOY! And we had just about decided that there was only one since it had been so long since the first one appeared and none see... Read More
Wednesday, 23 March 2016 14:11
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Exciting Times on Lake O' the Pines - Eagle's Nest, Week 3

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Relieved to see that the eaglet has survived the recent storms, and is covered in a coat of gray down, which fits the timeline of 3-4 weeks of age. The black juvenile feathers will begin to grow in soon.  Mom and dad are taking turns at the nest and with hunting and feeding, and are never far from it.  In the last photo we can assume that mom is perched on the left; females are about 25% larger than males, and have deeper beaks.  It will be so much fun to watch this family in the coming months, and I can't wait for Michael and other friends to be able to get out with us and document this life.  Just think of how much we're all going to learn!  

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Northeast Texas Bird Report - March 2016

This is the NETFO bird report for March.  Highlights include a Vermilion Flycatcher, Wild Turkeys, an Ovenbird and Sandhill Cranes again.  Thanks to all who birded and sent in their results and thanks again to Luanne for everything.

 

The first Black-bellied Whistling Ducks of the spring were found on 3/12 when 15 showed up in Daingerfield (DB,LB,BF).  A large group of 75 Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were photographed at dusk in Hunt county on 3/25 (ebird LD).  The pair of Ross’s Geese were tallied once again at Lake Bob Sandlin in Titus county on several dates (m.ob).  Canada Geese reported from nine counties, with a max of 12 noted in Henderson county on 3/13 (ebird DC,DL).  Two Cinnamon Teal reported from RC WMA in Freestone on 3/3 (ebird TS).  The only Northern Pintail reported from the area came from Lake Bob Sandlin State Park in Titus county on 3/16 (ebird MO).  The sole seven Hooded Mergansers reported for the area came from a pond near Pittsburgh in Camp county on 3/25 (DB et al).  The only Red-breasted Merganser reported was a beautiful male photographed on 3/13 at Lake O Pines in Marion county (ebird MW).

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