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.

If you write about nature in east Texas and would like to join us here, please contact us.

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
PiedBilledGrebe103116 3
PineWarbler11 28 16 2
RingBilledGull120216 1
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.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
7
513 Hits
0 Comments

Here is an Nine Thousand Word Post

Anolis carolinensis061216 (2 of 1)
BumbleBee061216 (5 of 1)
CarpenterBeeOnFalseDandelion 062316 (8 of 1)
DolichopodidFly 062016 (2 of 1)
FiveLinedSkinkFemale050316 2
RambursForktailDamselfly 062116 (1 of 1)
RobberFly061216 (3 of 1)
WillowLeafBeetle 060216 1
TurkeyVulture 062016 (1 of 1)

I have been unusually busy lately so here I wanted to post a major article - here is the equivalent of 9,000 words.  That is, if indeed a picture is worth a thousand words.  

All of these images were taken within a couple of hundred yards of my front door.  

Female Green Anole

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
4
558 Hits
0 Comments

Becoming a Birder is Incredibly Easy Except for the Hard Part - 4 Stages of Learning

YellowBilledCuckoo 3

I was late becoming a birder. Oh, there was always some interest, but never strong. It was just a another feature of nature, that I, as a biologist and naturalist, wanted to have some familiarity. My real focus was on herps, reptiles and amphibians. Actually, it started with snakes, gradually began to include lizards, then turtles and on to frogs, toads & salamanders. Mammals were in the picture, too. By the time I was around 12 or 13, my bedroom and backyard was like a zoo - cages and aquariums everywhere. I didn't ignore birds for I did come up with lots of "abandoned" birds that I ended up raising. Of course, I know now that few of those birds were really abandoned, but was ignorant of that fact then. I "raised" a couple of Blue Jays, a Mockingbird, two Crows, a Turkey Vulture, and numerous Sparrows.

Later, as a biology student and then as a biologist, I was in the field a lot. While none of my work involved birds, I always made a point of getting to know the local species. Honestly, all I cared about were the more commonly seen species and it was just a mild curiosity.

I should add that I was doing a lot of photography back then as well. Birds were rarely a target for my cameras. I was mainly taking slides and photos of herps, flowers, insects, spiders and lots of scenics. Most of my gear was suited for closeup photography and not birding.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
3
453 Hits
0 Comments

Need to be Working But All I Can Do Is Play

Bluebird 2 02 27 16 24
Chickdee 030116 24
Mockingbird 030116 24
RedWasp 2 02 27 16 24
RedWingBlackbird 13 030116 24
FemaleCardinal02 29 16 24

There is a delight when you get new toys.  You want to play with them all the time.  Do we ever grow out of that?  I really think not.  

I recently upgraded my camera and added a longer telephoto lens.  I now have a Nikon D800 and a Nikon 200-500 lens.  What a change.  Before this, my longest lens (of any quality) was my Nikon 18-300mm which is a surprisingly good lens.  I was mainly using a Nikon D3300 and sometimes my old Nikon D60.  The upgrade was significant.

Naturally, I was out with it just as soon as I could be.  However, it has also been a very busy time for me with work and I had to really move some things aside in order to "play".  Actually, I took time I should not have taken but . . .  Then, I had a bout of food poisoning.  Seems like things have been stacked against me.

Continue reading
Tags:
Rate this blog entry:
5
427 Hits
0 Comments

Shotgun Photography - Surely One of Those Pellets Will Hit

CardinalFeeder111615

There are many ways to practice the art of photography but to me there are two basic approaches with a wide variety of offshoots from those.  

I have referred to these techniques or styles as shotgun and sniper.  I have used both but honestly I have many, many more shotgun photos than I have as a sniper.  

Continue reading
Tags:
Rate this blog entry:
8
366 Hits
0 Comments