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.

Making Progress on the New Website - Slowly But Surely and Other Cliches Explain Our Progress

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Even though we have not made the new website live yet, I am going to continue blogging about it and on it.  The blog is to explain our progress as well as point out what we would like to do in the future.  

Hopefully we will be live before long.  Even though this blog won't be seen until then, it will still be relevant for it discusses our vision for the website.  

From the beginning, the idea was to have a website to simply spread our love of nature and hope to show others its wonders.  Maybe in doing so we will be able to get others involved in enjoying and appreciating nature just as we do.

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The Things I Did at Nine Years Old Would Get Me Put Under the Jail Now

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When I was growing up in east Texas, I caught everything I get my hands on including using various kinds of traps.  In particular, there is no telling how many snakes, lizards, turtles, toad, frogs and salamanders that I at least temporarily added to my collection.  At the time there were no laws related to collecting or capturing reptiles and amphibians.  Wow, has that changed.

One important part of all this is that you cannot even temporarily capture or handle reptiles or amphibians even if you are just trying to photograph them if you are on a road, shoulder or unpaved part of the right of way unless you have a Texas hunting license with a reptile and amphibian stamp.  It is up to a $500 fine.  

This also includes your actions as a citizen scientist working with the TPWD Texas Nature Trackers (only on public roads).  That program is for private lands, not public areas or roadways.

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BIG NEWS!!! The East Texas Naturalist Blog is Expanding.

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Coming very soon, the blog will include at least two other bloggers/photographers.  Others may be joining soon.  

Nature will remain the main focus, of course.  The two new bloggers are excellent photographers and will be such a tremendous addition to the site.  We will be looking for other photographers and writers to join us.  

That brings up the obvious invitation. 

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You Can Eat But Not You; Not You Either, Squirrel, Get Back - Selective Feeding

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When I decided to get some bird feeders, I really didn't put a lot of thought into it.  I just went to Walmart and grabbed a bunch on inexpensive feeders.  My main criteria at the time was cost, perceived effectiveness to attract birds, and ease to use. 

I ended up buying 1 hummingbird feeder in the traditional red and clear plastic, 4 plastic tube type of seed feeders, and 3 suet wire feeders.  Grand total was approximately $40, not including feed.

I started off attracting some interesting species: chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, cardinals, house finches, hairy woodpeckers and a red-bellied woodpecker.  Before long there was lots of activity on the feeders with the addition of cowbirds, mockingbirds, English sparrows and squirrels.  Lots of squirrels.  

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An Hour in the Bush and Look What I Found

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It rained hard earlier in the day which isn't exactly news.  It has rained almost everyday for over three months which is why we are 16 inches over the normal rainfall for the year.

Anyway, I was bored this afternoon so I grabbed the camera with the macro flash and prowled the bushes around the RV.  

Let me share a few of the shots I made such as the just mated pair of Sharpshooters, a type of plant hopper.

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