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 an active member of the Cypress Basin Chapter of 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 recently relocated on 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.

"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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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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Great News! NETFO is Joining Us

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We got great news that NETFO is going to move over to the ETN server.  NETFO is the Northeast Texas Field Ornithologist group.  They have been around since 1990 and we are so glad to have them with us.  They will have their own section which basically will be a website within our website.  We will also be intertwined with much of their information and content as well.  

Anyone interested in NETFO and their bird reports, field trips, etc will be able to go directly to their website.  Much of their information will also be available on the ETN site.  In the meantime, you can visit their current site at NETFO Website

As soon as I can start getting them moved over, I will publish their new web address.  I hope it won't be too long.  Surely before the end of the month.  

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