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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Spring in the Lost and Found Box

Carolina Wren

Eastern Kingbird

Great Blue Heron

Brown-headed Cowbird

Female Red-bellied Woodpecker

Diamondback Watersnake

Northern Cardinal

We had a big storm blow through the Lake O' the Pines area last night. For a while, the winds were rather fierce accompanied by a drumming rain that brought a bit of hail and just ...
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If I Move - Will the Birds Follow Me?

Belted Kingfisher 12 18 16 3
Red breastedMerganser11 27 16 2
AmericanCoot111116 2
ChippingSparrowPair122616 1
EasternBluebird11 2916 3
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PineWarbler11 28 16 2
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WhiteBreastedNuthatch11 2916 1

I recently moved my RV from a fairly good nature spot on Lake O' the Pines. I was near the northwest end of the lake and was on the edge of a remote wooded area. In addition, across the highway was another large wooded area. On my lot, I had a pretty good bird turnout year-round. Much of that due to my 9 feeders and lots of other food items that I put out for birds.

Surprisingly enough, it was not that great for waterbirds. Well, not for ducks anyway. There were Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, an occasional Green Heron, White Pelicans during the winter, Cormorants, and Common Coots. Rarely did I see ducks of any kind, other than the Coots. Common Loons which are very common on other parts of Lake O' the Pines were never seen in this more shallow and weedy end, nor were any of the other shore birds that show up on the south end of the lake.

In the late summer, I moved just eight miles away to Lone Star Lake (Ellison Creek Reservoir). This RV park is in a more populated area. There are no woods aound this lake. The park is surrounded by houses, as is almost all of the lake. There is a little bit of a more primitive area at the north end of the lake but it is fairly small.

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Cloudy Days Bring Bright Birds

BaltimoreOrioleMale050816 1
CardinalFemale050816 1
HouseFinchMale050816 3
BaltimoreOrioleFemale050816 1
WhiteBrestedNuthatch050816 2
HouseSparrowFemale050816 1
EasternPhoebee050816 1
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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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You Can Eat But Not You; Not You Either, Squirrel, Get Back - Selective Feeding

feeder
image

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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