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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Rainy Winter Day But the Birds Didn't Care

BaldEagle012117 2
BonapartsGull012117 3
CommonLoon012117 1
GoldenEyeDuck012117 1
GreatBlueHeron012117 1
HerringGull012117 1
Pelicans012117 6
RingbilledGull012117 1
SongSparrow012117 2
WhitePelicanFlyby012117 2
BaldEagleOnTheNEstl012117 1

The weatherman was wrong again. It was supposed to be over 70 degrees and lots of sunshine for at least most of the day. Well, the sun was out for a bit but then the clouds blew in. We didn't get anywhere near 70 degrees. Luckily the birds didn't care.  

Kristi Thomas and I, accompanied by fellow naturalist, Mickie Moore, and nine other who were mostly members of the Tyler Audubon Group, hit Lake O' the Pines on a pontoon boat. While these birding trips are always geared towards finding as many species of birds as we can, some of us were more interested in the Bald Eagle's nest and what was going on there. Of course, all the other birding was always fun and this was an exceptional day. Not only did we see over 30 species, it seemed that many didn't mind posing for us. 

Here are some of the photographs that I took today. 

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If I Move - Will the Birds Follow Me?

Belted Kingfisher 12 18 16 3
Red breastedMerganser11 27 16 2
AmericanCoot111116 2
ChippingSparrowPair122616 1
EasternBluebird11 2916 3
PiedBilledGrebe103116 3
PineWarbler11 28 16 2
RingBilledGull120216 1
WhiteBreastedNuthatch11 2916 1

I recently moved my RV from a fairly good nature spot on Lake O' the Pines. I was near the northwest end of the lake and was on the edge of a remote wooded area. In addition, across the highway was another large wooded area. On my lot, I had a pretty good bird turnout year-round. Much of that due to my 9 feeders and lots of other food items that I put out for birds.

Surprisingly enough, it was not that great for waterbirds. Well, not for ducks anyway. There were Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, an occasional Green Heron, White Pelicans during the winter, Cormorants, and Common Coots. Rarely did I see ducks of any kind, other than the Coots. Common Loons which are very common on other parts of Lake O' the Pines were never seen in this more shallow and weedy end, nor were any of the other shore birds that show up on the south end of the lake.

In the late summer, I moved just eight miles away to Lone Star Lake (Ellison Creek Reservoir). This RV park is in a more populated area. There are no woods aound this lake. The park is surrounded by houses, as is almost all of the lake. There is a little bit of a more primitive area at the north end of the lake but it is fairly small.

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Update on Freedom . . . Slow Going

So much to do this holiday season that it's been hard to find extra time, and the same goes for Beverly Grage with Wild and Free Again.  She messaged this week that Freedom is not improving as quickly as she would like, but that this is not at all unusual for a bird with suspected Avian Vacuolar Myelinopathy (AVM). 

AVM is a newly discovered disease that was first identifed in the field in 1994 when dead bald eagles were found near DeGray Lake in Arkansas. It's been confirmed that Freedom suffered a shoulder fracture that had already remodeled by the time she was rescued, but Beverly suspects that this injury occurred because of the neurological damage inflicted by AVM.  

Suspected to be caused by a cyanobacterium that attaches to an invasive species of hydrilla, AVM is in many cases fatal.  Beverly has had her hands full with an influx of other critical care birds, but promises to send photos and and updates as she can.  Can you even imagine caring for over seventy injured birds in these freezing temperatures?  Many thanks to Beverly for attempting to rehab these creatures that cannot help themselves, and we hope to be able to help her continue this mission in the new year!  

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Hey, Eagles! How Can I Take Your Picture if You Keep Flying Off the Nest? **A Rerun from 2015**

EaglesNestingRules

We put these guidelines out last year after so much interest in the eagle's nest and reports of other nests in the area. 

It is critical that if you find a Bald Eagle's nest (or any bird nest actually), that you follow these guidelines. Bald Eagles and most birds are VERY sensitive to activity around their nests. If you bother them, they may fly away and MAY NOT BREED THAT YEAR.  If there are eggs in the nest they may abandon them; they may even abandon young birds. 

PLEASE READ THESE GUIDELINES and if you find a nest, make sure that you follow the information that is written here. I will add a PLEASE to that. Please let the birds breed, nest and raise their young in peace.  You can observe, but read the information below so you know what you should and should not do. Again - PLEASE.  

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The Latest from the Nest

Eagle on Nest

Lots of news this week. . . Beverly Grage of Wild and Free Again took injured young female Freedom to the vet, and learned that she had a right shoulder fracture that has already remodeled on its own.  She will be requiring long-term care.  Meanwhile, we checked the nest site one day during the week, and were encouraged to see a parent peering down as if to signal that it's getting to be that time of year again.  More to come!  

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