East Texas Naturalist Blog

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Photos From This Week's Feeder Photo Booth

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BrownHeadedCowbird 04 17 16 1
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GreatBlueHeron04 22 16 2
HouseFinch 04 17 16 2
GreenTreefrog 04 17 16 1
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Here are some photos from this week on or near my feeders.  

 

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Kristi Mears Thomas
Love these! Not sure how I've missed them! I wish Linda's Painted Bunting would cruise by your feeder soon, Michael!
Saturday, 23 April 2016 11:46
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Wasting My Time in the Woods - Not Ever

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Anolis 03 07 16
GreyWingedGrasshopper 03 07 16 9
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The weather forecast says rain for the rest of the week. Maybe up to 7 inches. Wow. I have a lot of work to do on the computer and around the RV so maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing. Besides, I enjoy rain and storms.

So I mentioned this to a friend, Steve Sutton who with his wife, Fabienne Devolter, own Lake O’ the Pines RV Motel and Marina. He pointed out that I should go out in the woods with my cameras that day since it would be the last chance I would get for at least a few days. I thought it was a good idea, but I was leaning towards getting to work. So I headed for my computer.  

About 15 minutes later, Steve dropped his Kawasaki Mule off in my driveway and said go to the woods. Well, I couldn’t argue with that. So, I packed my gear and headed out.

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Kristi Mears Thomas
I absolutely love this, and all of the photographs you managed on a gloomy day! Sometimes the best captures happen when you aren'... Read More
Friday, 11 March 2016 19:14
Michael Mathews
Thank you for your comments. The day was cloudy but the overcast really made for a great day to capture the color if you could us... Read More
Friday, 11 March 2016 19:45
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Need to be Working But All I Can Do Is Play

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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.

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There's Another Stupid Cardinal or How Familiarity Breeds Contempt

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If you only saw one Cardinal a year, think how much you would appreciate their beauty.  The male Cardinal in breeding colors is one of the most beautiful single colored birds in the world. Their fairly large size, their black mask and crest give them a distinctive and almost regal manner.  Many birdwatchers all over the world outside of the U.S. view the Cardinal as a huge prize on their Life List. 

Ah, but in my yard where I can hardly look out the window without seeing a Cardinal, their value as a noteworthy sight on my bird feeders honestly is not high.  It is not that I don't see their beauty.  It is just that I see it every day over and over again.  

I'm not so crass as to not appreciate them at all, for one can't help but feel some joy in their beauty.  Today, there were four males and at least five females around my yard (with ten feeders).  I enjoyed watching them, along with the Goldfinches, Dark-eyed Juncos, White-throated Sparrows, House Finches, Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, a single Pine Siskin, Chipping Sparrows, a Mockingbird and a couple of Song Sparrows.  It was a busy day on the feeders.

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Kristi Mears Thomas
Love this, Michael! An inspiring message, and one that I have been thinking myself lately...we sometimes get so accustomed to the... Read More
Wednesday, 13 January 2016 07:03
Jill Wright
Great blog, Michael! That is one handsome cardinal, and you got an amazing photo of him. It is great when the scales are peeled ... Read More
Friday, 29 January 2016 12:21
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You've Got to Have Goals. Trying to Score With Nature in 2016.

Lop Fog

I love living on the lake. Many mornings, as soon as I am dressed, I open my front door, sit on my steps and watch whatever may be happening on the lake or on my bird feeders right in front of me.  Not a bad way to start the day.

This morning is a bit chilly, but not bad.  It is overcast, quiet and peaceful.  I have been drinking my coffee on my steps watching a large flock of canvasback ducks (Aythya valisineria) feeding and cavorting just off shore.  There are probably 40 to 50 of them drifting back and forth.  Each one occasionally ducks his head (no pun intended) beneath the water and quickly disappears as it goes underwater to feed.  Sometimes it seems as if there was a signal given and almost all of them go at once leaving a dozen or less still on the surface.  Good entertainment for a quiet morning.

The canvasback ducks don't usually come down to the more open waters near me.  They are normally in the more secluded shallow water that has lots of little islands and inlets.  That shallow water provides a lot of nutrients in the way of buds, snails, tubers, roots and insect larva that makes up most of its diet.  It is also more secluded and normally away from human activities.  However, it is still duck season and the area where they normally stay is not a safe place.  Down here, closer to human activities and in the open is definitely safer for them.  That is good for me for I get to shoot them now.  Yes, it is a bit of a cliche, but I am shooting them with a Nikon.  

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