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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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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What Do I Get For "My" Mockingbird in Lieu of Cigars?

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I have mentioned "my" Mockingbird here before. He used to land on my hand and eat live mealworms from my open palm.

I have also complained about his lack of success in finding a mate. He sang continuously - including all night long, until he finally attracted a little grey feathered cutie.

Today, he has been having a fit - really aggressive with other birds on the feeders (ten feet from his nest). He has been chasing the cat next door. He attacked the squirrels when they came to feed today. And when the little boy up the hill walked by, the Mockingbird popped him in the back of the head twice. As usual, he didn't pay much attention to me when I was out and let me take his picture as usual from about six feet away. But when the little boy up the hill walked by, the Mockingbird popped him in the back of the head twice.

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Cloudy Days Bring Bright Birds

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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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I Know Why My Frustrated Mockingbird Sings

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Ah, it is Spring, and, as they say, a young man's fancy turns to love.  Well, a bird in this case. 

Last Spring, I had a Northern Mockingbird pair in my yard.  They built a nest in a tall bush about twenty-five feet from my front door and fifteen feet from the feeders.  For a couple of weeks or more it was interesting to watch their courtship and nest building.  

In a few weeks they were a bit more secretive and then a few weeks after that, three little fledglings appeared.  They would often sit in a group and beg whenever one of the parents got close.  All in all, as before, fun events to watch.  

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Yakety Yak - Don't Talk Back, Mockingbird

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Just a quick note this morning but I had to share it.

As usual, I started my day on my steps looking out over the lake watching the morning come alive; listening to the birds call; watching the egrets glide along the water looking for a place to feed; enjoying the cool air; and sipping my coffee.

There is a mockingbird that will sometimes land on my knee or on the little table next to me when I am sitting in my big chair by the feeders, especially if I have a bowl of mealworms. Today, he came and landed on one of the shepherds hooks and made some unusual calls. Then I made the little clucking sound that I make anytime the birds or squirrels come around. It is meant to be an identifying sound so they I am there (they don’t always notice me if I am still) and that they are safe around me. I have always done that and some of them respond to it – the squirrels will come get food; the birds just pose for me in a way.

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