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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The Answer to What to do When It's Too Cold to Go Out & Take Pictures

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It was a beautiful, sunny morning and, as usual, I was going to go out to sit in my chair by the lake. That's where I try to spend at least a little time each morning, sitting with my camera and binoculars.  The birds are always active to some extent plus it is just a peaceful way to start the morning. I opened my door as the coffee was brewing if "brewing" is the right word for coffee in a Keurig.  

Despite the bright sun and clear sky, the air was cold, not chilly, COLD. Those who know me understand that I am not really put off by cold and rarely really let it bother me. They've all seen me running around in short-sleeved shirts half the winter. This morning, though, it just seemed too cold for my usual attire or to even go sit by the water, birds or not. There was just a slight breeze. Just enough to make it a bit uncomfortable with the temperature in the '20s. Well, the upper '20s but that is still pretty cold in a breeze by the water.  

So, the first thought was "Nah". Not today." I looked out again. Not a bird in sight. I listened and heard a Carolina Wren calling in the distance but that was all. Nah. Then, I thought "Well, just for a minute. Let me go look around for just a minute."

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I Saw the Greatest Nature Show Ever (And Not on TV)

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I have always been a big fan of nature shows on TV. My DVR records them daily. This morning I got to see the greatest nature show that I've ever seen. My DVR didn't record this one, but it is recorded where it will never be forgotten.

Many of my mornings start sitting in a comfortable chair about thirty feet from the edge of Lone Star Lake, my binoculars on my chest, a cup of coffee on the picnic table beside me, and my camera in my lap. It certainly was not an ideal morning for photography with cloudy, overcast skies but you can't choose the weather. 

This morning I was watching as a couple of Double-crested Cormorants flew by. Then the season's first American Coots showed up. The usual neighborhood birds were feeding on my feeders and calling from all around.

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Nature Encounters Man

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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

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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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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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