Spring is here! I have been busy filling up a couple dozen lawn waste bags to put on the curb for pickup the last few weeks. So, I’ve had the opportunity to spy on several pairs of birds who have picked our birdhouses to build nests in and raise a mess of babies.
This is a ceramic birdhouse that I bought when we visited Louisville Stoneware a couple years ago. I hung it up last year with no takers, but a cute Carolina Wren couple have moved in this Spring.
I built and installed two bluebird houses last year, again, with no takers. It’s a bit of wishful thinking that I might attract a bluebird since they really prefer a more rural setting. But a girl can hope! This year they won’t be empty, though! A Bewick’s Wren couple is building a nest in this one…
And a Black-Crested Titmouse couple is in the other one…
I have seen a few other birds enter some of the other houses/holes around the yard. But I’ll have to stake them out to see if anyone moves in.
I’m just thrilled to know where several nests are, and will anxiously watch for signs of babies hatching and fledging.
Last night Monte and I went to our local pub for dinner and to watch Monday Night Football. Since we don’t have cable, we have to go out to watch the Seahawks play. We won! 🙂
It was bittersweet, though. Our local favorite and most awesome pub, BB Rover’s, is closing for good in 2 weeks. 😦
I’ve enjoyed lots of good times and good beers in that place over the last 23 years. Post-softball-game celebrations, after-work happy hours, St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and cabbage dinners, darts, Austin Sailing Society meet-ups, live music and open-mic night, and many games of pinochle with friends. It is very sad to see it go.
We brought our vulnerable outdoor plants in when the weather turned cold last week. Most of them are in the shop. I brought a few small ones into the house. I’m enjoying this one, a pretty pink impatiens.
I checked the SD card on my critter cam yesterday. I moved it a few weeks ago to point at the opening of a burrow I discovered that some animal had recently dug in the middle of our back lot. I just wanted to see what I could see. I captured countless daytime visiting backyard bird species (doves, blue jays, cardinals, titmice, wrens, mockingbirds,…). But it turns out, it’s quite the popular nightspot. Here are some snaps…it’s a jungle out there. I thought these were the most interesting visitors.
We are pet sitting this week – our niece, Julie’s, dog, and Doray & Tom’s parrot. Because of that, we have been sticking close to home. But, today we took the opportunity on this beautiful day to take a drive.
We stopped by several vantage points around the lake. With the emergency flooding situation behind us, Lake Travis is dropping about 1.5 feet a day now, currently at 695′ above mean sea level. The butterflies were thick today, which makes me very happy – so much of what humans do have hurt their populations over the years. It’s nice to see them out there despite us.
I believe these are Queen butterflies, on blue mistflower. I think I’ll plant some of this in my yard!
We also stopped by the marina to check on our boat. Our marina’s staff has been doing a wonderful job keeping all the docks floating and clear of obstacles. They are running a shuttle to the docks for boat owners, since the lake is still flooded, and the water level is still about 15 feet above the parking lot. Everything looks fine. Our batteries are doing well (electricity has been off to the docks for 12 days, so far).
I brought my completed propane bag out to the boat and hung it. It works great, and I found the perfect spot for it.
Lake Travis is still rising, slowly. We took another drive out to the lake, to join the other lookie-loos. We got a glimpse of the backside of Mansfield Dam from the park off highway 620. The lake level in the picture below is 702.6′ above mean sea level, inching closer to the dam’s spillway.
Four flood gates were open, releasing floodwaters into Lake Austin below.
I spied this crested caracara atop the telephone pole at the end of my driveway. I had just enough time to go back in the house for my camera and take this shot before he flew away. It’s not a terribly clear photo, but the best I’ve gotten of one of these big birds so far. Caracaras are in the falcon family, but they often hang out with vultures. You may have seen one feeding on a dead animal in a field or on the side of the road. They they also will eat small animals and birds that they can swoop down on and pluck off the ground. I think that is what this guy was scanning the area for.
It’s been raining around Austin since Labor Day. And the cold front that came through yesterday morning has been dumping rain in the Highland Lakes’ Basin. The Llano River rose to march its historic high of 40′ this morning, taking a bridge out. Sandy Creek, the San Saba, and Pedernales Rivers are over flood stage as well. Lake Travis is the flood control lake in the chain and it has risen over 25′ in the last week, 16′ of those since last night.
We drove to the marina today. The lake’s rise is almost visible while you’re just standing there looking at it. So far, our docks are fine, being let out as the lake rises. But the rain continues to fall, and the lake is supposed to go up another 12-15′ by tomorrow, flooding many places along the shores of Lake Travis. This flood has yet to play out, so we’re watching carefully.