Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Lovely Reflection

I am really a straightforward writer. I generally write clearly and concisely. However, I have great admiration for those who can write eloquently and are able to say important things well.

Many people are mired in the tragedy in Aurora, CO. Make no mistake, it is a terrible tragedy. On the other side is the daily miracle of life that goes on, no matter what horrible things are happening around us. I would encourage you to read the linked blog post from local writer Ysabel de la Rosa who writes eloquently about her thoughts in the context of her interaction with a baby grackle and the folks at Wild Bird Rescue.

Even the most common things can teach us important truths.

Good birding!

The World is a Dangerous Place When You're a Bird

The world is a dangerous place for a bird. Imagine if you are a teeny tiny little hummingbird. Frogs, spiders and yes, some insects can make a tasty meal of some of our feathered friends. Recently, Bird Watcher's Digest published a post about a praying mantis capturing a hummingbird--and the reader caught it on film. Don't click this link if you are extremely squeamish.

Good birding!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bird Walk and Boat Trip to Bird Island

What a beautiful early morning at Lake Arrowhead State Park for the monthly bird walk. Driving into the entrance to the park, I saw a large white-tailed deer doe standing on the side of the road.

Only one person came besides me, but it was still a reasonable morning for the middle of summer. Before the other person came, I heard a painted bunting and an eastern phoebe. Unfortunately, we didn't get them again.

On our walk, we saw: green heron, great blue heron, little blue heron, snowy egret, great egret, killdeer, Canada goose, mourning dove, Eurasian collared dove, red-bellied woodpecker, northern mockingbird, house finch, red-winged blackbird, great-tailed grackle, scissor-tailed flycatcher, cliff swallow, and barn swallow. We also saw some peeps from a distance that we couldn't identify for certain.

Bill Coombs, who lives on Lake Arrowhead and is part of Friends of Lake Arrowhead State Park, volunteered his pontoon boat to take us out to "Bird Island." This is a large rookery, with nesting herons and egrets of all kinds. We added cattle egret, double crested cormorant, mallard and turkey vulture there. Bill also provided some history of the lake.

When I got back to shore, I heard a bird up in one of the mesquite trees on the way back to the car. After listening and looking carefully, I found a cardinal's nest inside a large clump of mistletoe. Driving out I noted some lark sparrows along the road.

On my way back to town, I passed a red-tailed hawk on the ground next to the road on FM 1954.

It was really getting oppressively hot by 9:00 AM when I left the park.

Good birding!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bird Walk at Lake Arrowhead State Park Saturday

The monthly bird walk at Lake Arrowhead State Park will be this Saturday at 7 AM. Meet at the firewood shed (1st camping area on the left). Park entry fee applies ($3 per person, unless you have a park pass.)

I'm in town this month, so I will be leading the walk. That means we won't get the good birds--it seems whenever Terry McKee fills in for me, something really good pops up.

Summer is not the best time to bird in Texoma, but hopefully this cooler weather will still be hanging around (at least for a couple of hours in the morning.)

Hope you can make it.

Good birding!


I've been traveling a lot lately (sorry, nothing to do with birds) and haven't been posting regularly. I'll catch up soon--I have several items relating to my recent travels to relate. However, today's can't wait because I am excited.

I was in Amarillo, TX for work and had a couple of hours I could bird before my business meeting, so I went to Thompson Memorial Park and got a lifer! Yeah! Black-crowned night heron. Although your field guide will say that Wichita Falls is in their range, our local North Texas Bird and Wildlife Club checklist will tell you that they are accidental species in our area, with only isolated records.

Thanks to the birders on TEXBIRDS for the suggestion.

Good birding!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Book Review: E-book, The Beauty of Birds

Princeton University Press offers Shorts, ebooks which are excerpts from larger, more extensive works. In this particular case, The Beauty of Birds, by Jeremy Mynott, is drawn from his longer work, Birdscapes: Birds in Our Imagination and Experience.

In The Beauty of Birds, Jeremy Mynott explores what it is about birds we find beautiful. What attracts us and how?

I really enjoyed this little book. An interesting portion discusses the changes in how birds are depicted in illustrations over time, with samples from a variety of famous illustrators: Audubon, Peterson, and others.

Americans tend to be very straightforward in their prose, with short, concise sentences. One of the joys of reading books by British authors is the more descriptive, colorful prose. The book is peppered with illustrations, photos, songs, poetry and other interesting tidbits, written in a way that is enjoyable from the beauty of the prose alone. If you enjoy reading about birds over and above than the descriptive prose of a field guide, you need to pick up this little gem.

The Beauty of Birds is available from Princeton University Press for $2.99. If like me, you were intrigued and want to read the entire Birdscapes book, then you can purchase it also for $19.95.

Good birding!

Fundraiser for Wild Bird Rescue

My favorites--nestling chimney swifts at WBR
On Saturday, July 7, Wild Bird Rescue (WBR) will be having a fundraiser at United Marketstreet on Kell Blvd/Fairway Blvd in Wichita Falls, TX from 9 AM - 2 PM. WBR's Executive Director, Lila Arnold, will be there with some of the educational birds, which will make appearances intermittently throughout the event. Bring out the family to see Sully (a red-shouldered hawk) or Trooper (an Eastern screech owl.)

WBR have T-shirts for sale, and have lists of items people can purchase at United to donate to the organization (tissues, paper towels, bleach, detergent, etc.) and cash donations are always welcome!

I hope you'll come out and support this organization. It has been another record-breaking year under very financially austere conditions.

Good birding!