I’ve been observing my backyard especially carefully over the past several months. I love that I was able to observe several Bewick’s wrens among the frequent visitors. I recently hung a couple of new birdhouses up under the eaves, hoping to get some takers this year. We also have a number of older birdhouses that have been hanging out there for several years, including one that I made and hung in the backyard over six years ago. As I have been stalking my backyard birds more carefully, I’ve watched two pairs of Bewick’s wrens pick out houses in which they have built nests.
Rest assured, I will keep an eye on them and report back. 🙂 This is one of the residents of a new house that I hung a few weeks ago. I bought it at Joann’s – it had the desirable-to-bewicks dimensions. I drilled holes in the bottom for airflow, and I also cut off the perch. So cute!
This is the one of the new residents of the seasoned peek-a-boo bird house I made in December of 2011. Happy to see it in use.
We went to Kurt and Barbara’s Oscar watching party Sunday night – complete with red carpet, paparazzi, and bubbly.
At the beginning of the night, we each had a ballot to fill out with our guesses for winner of each category. Then we marked which ones we got right as the night went on. I got 7 out of 24 right. Not bad having only watched 2 of the nominated movies. But then my hopes were dashed as the best picture winner mixup unfolded. And my score fell to 6 out of 24. Sniffle.
But I took the blow with grace and poise. Life will go on. Somehow.
Last weekend, I went for a 3-hour group hike with one of the biologists that does research for the City-of-Austin-managed Balcones Canyonlands Preserve. It was really interesting. We hiked a short loop along the preserve at Bull Creek. Along the way, I learned much about the native Ashe junipers throughout the hill country that I had previously come to detest, due to my annual cedar fever allergy symptoms. But I came away with a new appreciation for the tree and the role it plays in the ecosystem of the Balcones Canyonlands. I also learned about the other native grasses and shrubs that make up the understory of the woodland. And about the endangered golden-cheeked warbler that will soon make its annual trek from Central America in early March to nest in the woodlands of the preserve until returning south in July. I’m looking forward to more hikes out there. Stay tuned.
Bull Creek is flowing nicely since the drought has broken.
And, I caught a tiger swallowtail butterfly taking a break along the creek.
On Valentine’s Day we stopped by Cypress Creek Park while on a winding drive through the hill country. As we walked down to the water, I spied a male belted kingfisher – the first I had ever seen in person. I’m kinda getting into this birding thing, so I was very excited. But, I didn’t have my camera with me. So, being the budding-but-persistent-bird-photographer, I drove out there again the next day with my camera and spotted him again; holding court in a tree on the bank of the creek. I couldn’t get very close, but I did come away with a photo of him. Success! A tad fuzzy, but my first, for the archive. 🙂
The next day, I flew to Seattle to meet my sisters. We went together to eastern Washington to visit our aunt; one of the last living siblings of my parents’ generation. It was a nice weekend. We shared laughs and memories and a few tears. I enjoyed it. I also snapped way too many pictures. This one was of the ice crystals on the plane window next to my seat.
Spokane has gotten much snow this year. The nearby rivers are flooding and raging. This is a picture of upper the Spokane River falls on our last night there.
I’m back in Austin, now, and will try to keep the posts a tad more frequent. Have a good week!
Several girlfriends and I made a roadtrip last week to Enchanted Rock state park, about an hour and 45 minute drive southwest of Austin. I have been there several times, and have hiked to the summit, but love to go back anytime. This was the first visit for my friends. We hiked to the summit and enjoyed the views. Then we hiked a couple of the other trails, which I had never done before. I recommend taking the time to do it, if you can. Remember to bring along drinking water for your hike. You’ll want it. 🙂
A survey marker atop the 1823′ summit
Make sure you check out their website before heading out for trail / park closure information and rules about pets, camping, parking, etc.
Looking SW at neighboring Little Peak from the S side of Enchanted Rock