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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Why Are My Red Squirrels Turning Black?

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As I am want to do, I recently moved my RV to a new site. This time it is on the banks of Lone Star Lake only ten miles or so from the spot on Lake O' the Pines where I had been for quite a while. 

This relatively short move revealed a lot of changes in the wildlife. Of course, at the old location, I was closer to some rather remote woods (a few hundred yards away in two directions). Here, it is more of a residential area. I knew there would be some differences with the wildlife that I was used to seeing and, indeed, there were some major changes.

In particular, there were far fewer birds, although it turned out that there are as many species, including some that I see here and didn't see there; and vice versa. The numbers are very different. Here, it is unusual to have more than ten birds at a time on my feeders (eight of them out right now) and before, that would be very few, dozens were more likely. 

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Never Mind Taking Time to Smell the Roses; Take Time to Paint the Squirrels Toenails

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It is hard to beat a weekend like this.  I woke up at 4am which is not my favorite time of day.  Actually, for much of my life that hour is closer to my bedtime than a time I would wake up. 

A little before dawn I got up, walked and took pictures (as usual), then came back to the RV.  I have spent most of the morning in and out; watching the Sunday morning news shows; watching the birds, squirrels and my new resident, the chicken, at my feeders; and sitting for a while in the warm sun.

Pleasant morning watching all the different species of birds coming and going: chickadees, English sparrows, titmice, the pair of cardinals who have a nest about fifteen feet away, a few cowbirds, and, of course, the mockingbirds are out in their usual numbers.  

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