Kristi's Photographs and Observations

Nature and Photography
Kristi is a naturalist and photographer who grew up on Lake O' the Pines where she still lives.  You will find her much of the time on or near the lake, camera in hand as she photographs birds and other natural objects.  She is an active member of the Cypress Basin Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists.

"Bird of Prey" - the Osprey!

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Almost every time we are out on Lake O' the Pines, we will see at least one Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), and until this past year I couldn't tell you much about them.  They are truly beautiful raptors in a distinct kind of way;  I love to see them hovering over the water with head down, wings beating fiercely, hunting for that next meal.  Others must realize their  important place in our ecosystem, because the Corps of Engineers has sponsored a project to erect several platforms at different areas of the lake, in hopes that they will be used by Ospreys to nest on.  

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Jill Wright
I can't believe I missed commenting on your osprey blog, Kristi! Wonderful information about this bird of prey!! They might be s... Read More
Sunday, 31 January 2016 20:26
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Enlightenment, and a Pied-billed Grebe...

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This time last year, I could not tell you what this nondescript little brown duck swimming past our boat was.  I remember the first time I really noticed and photographed one, and how I had no idea how to start looking for what it might be in my newly acquired Peterson's Field Guide to Birds.  

Had it not been for a chance encounter last year, I wouldn't own the field guide, and I might not even know what I was missing.  One Saturday morning, after a rainy night, I noticed that the sun was peeking through the clouds and I headed to Lakeside Park beach area with my camera.  I do this when I have time, as it's close and visibility across the lake is good.  Even though the park area on the backside of the beach is closed to drive-through traffic during the fall and winter months, it's possible to walk in and enjoy, many times without seeing another human soul - just deer and birds and other wildlife!

This particular day, I noticed as I was coming across the dam that there were vehicles and people all around the beach area, setting up spotting scopes and cameras on tripods.  I wandered over to the lady closest to me and she explained that they were on a field trip with NETFO, which stands for Northeast Texas Field Ornithologists.  She shared her scope and introduced me to the other members.  They had special access to the back side of the area for the day, and allowed me to tag along through the park, look through their scopes and binoculars (I didn't yet own a pair), and didn't even shush me when I interrupted their listening for birds by speaking both too loudly and too frequently.  (This I only realized later, in one of those "ah-ha" moments that can come after you've learned just a little more!)  

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Bald Eagle Population Seems to Soar at Lake O' the Pines

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I'm going to qualify the statement that titles this entry by saying that I've not yet had an opportunity to participate in an eagle count at Lake O' the Pines, although I've watched them here for several years.  I always have an eye peeled and my camera ready when we go on the lake, and while there are so many interesting life forms to see, there is no doubt that the bald eagle is one of the most impressive.  I believe our fascination may be two-pronged; not only is the eagle our national emblem, but this bird has only been off the endangered species list since 2007!

We've seen an abundance of young birds this year; they are more difficult to identify because they do not sport the white (bald) head, but their brown feathers are marbled with white.  At a closer look, though, there is no mistaking the distinctive hooked beak, large head, and a way of soaring with broad wings out flat just like a board!  We've watched them enough to notice a playful and energetic quality among the younger birds, and it is fascinating to see!

I've taken so many photos this year that I felt it necessary to do some research.  According to eBird, the terms "juvenile" and "immature" are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference.  A juvenile is a very young bird that is still wearing the set of feathers it fledged with.  As soon as it goes through its first molt, it's considered an immature until it reaches breeding maturity, which is at about four to five years of age.  

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Michael Mathews
I am so glad you have joined us here. I look forward to more articles and, of course, your beautiful photographs.
Monday, 02 November 2015 19:11
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