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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Nature Encounters Man

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Eagle2

There was an occurrence on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 that brings to mind that sometimes man and nature collide.  On a return trip from Sabine County on Hwy 194 a large delivery truck was stopped on the left side of the road.  About 8 feet in front of the truck was a body.  My traveling companion yelled out, "That's an eagle!" 

Several yards down the highway there was a safe place to make a U-turn and we returned to the accident scene.  After parking behind the truck we approached the driver as he climbed from the cab.  He appeared to be in a state of shock and didn't know what to do.  He quickly explained that he too had been traveling west when the large bird appeared in the roadway and tried to take flight dropping the carrion from his talons, but being unsuccessful in lifting high enough to clear his truck it had crashed into the truck grill.  He knew that he had hit something big so he turned his truck around and returned to the scene.

 He had taken pictures of the eagle to show the freight company owner as an explanation of the dented grill and license plate.  I told him to call the Sabine County Sheriff's office and explain what had happened and ask them to send a game warden to the scene.  This is a rural area and cell phone service is scarce so in order to keep his next scheduled delivery he left saying that he would contact the Sheriff's Office as soon as he had cell service.  We moved my car with flashing lights nearer the eagle so it wouldn't be hit by passing cars.  Carefully, we even moved it over about 2 feet so it would be "safer."  I checked for a band; none to be seen.  My friend stroked the beautiful feathers asking if it would be alright to take one tail feather.   Then,  "Can't we just put it in the back of your car and take it somewhere?"  

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OH! OH! That's My Favorite! NO! That one! Favorite Photos - 2016

BaldEagleMother050616 2
BaskettailDragonFly051016 3
Cardinal 03 25 16 1
CardinalFemale 04 17 16 1
CarpenterBeeOnElliottsBlueberry030716 9
EasternBluebird11 29 16 1
FiveLinedSkinkFemale050316 3
GreatBlueHeronGlow111316 1
LoneStarLakeStormSunset090516 1
Mockingbird 04 19 16 1
RedHeadedWoodpecker 073116 7
Spiderwort 062316 (1 of 1)

Here are my personal favorite photos of 2016.

Bald Eagle Mother from last year's nesting pair

 

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Hey, Eagles! How Can I Take Your Picture if You Keep Flying Off the Nest?

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EaglesNestingRules

Yesterday, Saturday the 5th of December, I went on a field trip with fellow Texas Master Naturalist, Kristi Thomas.  Kristi also publishes her photographs on this website as well as writing a blog here.  She is an outstanding photographer and a great contributor to this website. 

She had also invited members of NETFO (Northeast Texas Field Orinthologists - http://members.tripod.com/netfo_tx/) for an event at Lake O' the Pines.  Part of the trip included a boat ride to observe water birds and visit a nesting location for Bald Eagles.  

Seeing the eagles and their nest was a treat and we have had some minor discussion about the eagle's nest in our talk forum - http://easttexasnaturalists.com/forum/bird-sightings/45-bald-eagles-nest-on-lake-o-the-pines.html.  One of the things we talked about was the location of the nest.

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

Immature Bald Eagle2

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
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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Followup On Mystery Bird

Well, the mystery bird from yesterday apparently has no watch.  I sat beneath the same tree today, at the same time, but the tree was rather empty today.

It was rather a dull day for a wouldbe birder.  There were a few of the usual old "friends" that I see almost everyday.  Just as I was about to head back in I looked up and there went a bald eagle.  His head was glowing in the light of the sitting sun and, I hate to use a cliche, but he looked majestic.  

Nice way to end the day.  

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