Michael's Rediscovery of Nature

Ramblings and observations of a former biologist and a lifelong naturalist, who has recently returned to his roots in east Texas. After a many years of working from coast to coast in an industry far removed from biology, it has been a pleasant change of geography, activity, and attitude. No stressful job decked out in a three piece suit. No city living. Instead there is a rediscovery of the woods, of something scurrying through the leaves, of the clear notes of a bird call, and of reliving the joy that I had when nature was a playground and a classroom.

NANPAMichael is a former biologist and  Texas Master Naturalist.  Originally from Newsome, Texas (Between Pittsburg and Winnsboro), educated in Dallas & Garland schools, then off to the University of Texas system where he received a degree in biology and worked as a biologist with the University of Texas system. After many years away from nature and biology, he relocated to the banks of Lake O' the Pines where he has been rediscovering the joys of nature. He is somewhat surprised that he has become a birder. Most of his interest in nature was centered around reptiles. Perhaps just like birds evolved from reptiles starting in the late Jurassic, he has begun his own evolution. During his formal education, his interests in biology/nature grew to include community ecology and population studies, all with a binding of evolutionary processes. He liked birds, but they were secondary at best. All at once he finds them fascinating.

What Do I Get For "My" Mockingbird in Lieu of Cigars?

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I have mentioned "my" Mockingbird here before. He used to land on my hand and eat live mealworms from my open palm.

I have also complained about his lack of success in finding a mate. He sang continuously - including all night long, until he finally attracted a little grey feathered cutie.

Today, he has been having a fit - really aggressive with other birds on the feeders (ten feet from his nest). He has been chasing the cat next door. He attacked the squirrels when they came to feed today. And when the little boy up the hill walked by, the Mockingbird popped him in the back of the head twice. As usual, he didn't pay much attention to me when I was out and let me take his picture as usual from about six feet away. But when the little boy up the hill walked by, the Mockingbird popped him in the back of the head twice.

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Photos From Today's Limp in the Woods

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Still having gout issues but it was just too beautiful today to stay inside.  So, I put the Nikon D800 on the tripod with the Nikon 200-500 lens, stuck the D3300 with the Nikon 105 Micro in the holster on my belt and limped off the the woods.  

If anyone saw me, I know I must have been a sight to behold with the tripod extended and that big lens hanging down as I very slowly limped to the woods.  You really didn't have to look close to see that it was a bit painful, but I didn't care.  Woods . . . 

I got to my little clearing where I have the lake on one side (under the trees), a small creek in front of me and a path going uphill into the deep woods in front of that.  Nice spot.  I usually just lean back against a big oak tree and before long the birds forget that I am there.  

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"Bugs" and Flowers Instead of Birds

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I really had intended on taking pictures of birds at Caddo Lake today.

Kristi and I taught a photography course to some of the members of the Cypress Basin Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist.  After the classroom portion, we went out by the lake so our class could practice some of the techniques we taught.  We had Prothonotary Warblers zoom past, saw a Summer Tanager, a couple of Parula Warblers and the usual suspects in that area.  I did not manage to photograph any of those, but did enjoy seeing them.  

Kristi and one of the class members, Linda Richtsmeier, spent some time photographing dragonflies and some Cricket Frogs.  The dragonflies were quite cooperative and very plentiful.  That made it a lot of fun and I think we all got some pretty good shots.  

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Cloudy Days Bring Bright Birds

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The morning sunrise was beautiful as usual here on the Lake, but in a few minutes clouds moved in and the light completely changed.  The cloud cover gave a soft but pleasant light.  

My feeders were fairly active with the usual "suspects" of "my" Mockingbird and his new bride, Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, Cardinals, a solitary Mourning Dove, a few Red Wing Blackbirds, a few Brown Headed Cowbirds and a male House Sparrow. 

After watching for a few minutes, I settled down to work on the computer on two upcoming projects that must be done soon. One is to finish the new NETFO website which could be up tomorrow and to add some detail to the photography class that Kristi and I will be teaching next weekend at the Cypress Basin Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist.  

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Photos From This Week's Feeder Photo Booth

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Here are some photos from this week on or near my feeders.  

 

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Kristi Mears Thomas
Love these! Not sure how I've missed them! I wish Linda's Painted Bunting would cruise by your feeder soon, Michael!
Saturday, 23 April 2016 11:46
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