This Common Buckeye moth paused just long enough for me to snap a picture.
I ventured out to get my first real birding of the year in. Oh, I’m always looking for birds, but “real birding” means that I bring my binoculars and my camera. The Golden-cheeked warbler nests exclusively in Central Texas, and there are preserves that are closed to the general public during their breeding season of Feb-July, during which they are only accessible to those with permits. Welllllll. I have had a permit for several years and took advantage of it today to get away from people and find me some birdies.
I was treated to my first of season golden-cheeked warbler:
A very vocal, but elusive white-eyed vireo. I caught him here mid-song:
And one of many blue-grey gnatcatchers. They are so tiny, vocal, and always moving! This one stopped long enough for me to get a blurry picture:
Nice. Very nice. 🙂
My favorite flowering tree is the Texas Redbud (Cercis canadensis var. texensis). Their blooms are fleeting but gorgeous, some of the first of the year. This bee likes them, too.
I planted this impatiens last spring. I typically lose my annuals over the winter and just plant new ones in the spring. I babied this one through our warm winter and it has rewarded me with these beautiful late-winter blooms.
Commons Ford Park is one of my happy places. I haven’t been out here in a while, though. The prairie is breaking out in color and teeming with songbirds.
A painted bunting singing atop a mesquite shrub:
One scissor-tailed flycatcher posing in the foreground, and another flying away in the background:
A dickcissel pausing his constant singing to give me the once over:
Camelot and Nirvana rafted up last night after going for a nice long sail. It was the first raft-up of 2019, and the first one in quite a long time before that. It’s nice to be at anchor, and we were tucked way up in a creek where the only wakes being thrown at us came from kayaks. Perfect.
The lake is rising and is above full, due to recent rains. We’ll see how high it goes in the next week or so.
I kayaked up to the end of the creek that we anchored in. Lake sailing in the Texas Hill Country doesn’t suck.
A mallard duck came out to greet me.
Pretty view of a lovely anchorage.
Over the weekend I made a trip to the coast. The Spring migration is underway, and I wanted to see some colorful birds arriving after their Gulf crossing. I thought the cold front headed for the coast might make for favorable chances of a fallout. As it turned out, the front passed north of where I was, so weather conditions were not exceptional. I did end up seeing lots of birds – almost 70 species. But, I had to work at it.
Scarlet tanager eating a juicy mulberry…
Painted bunting and common yellowthroat…
Black-necked stilt, standing daringly close to an alligator…
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.
We have a tradition with Tim & Fiona…taking their family fishing on the lake during spring break. They have three great kids, who are a pleasure to be around. We had a wonderful day today. The weather was perfect and the fish were biting. A good time was had by all.
It’s what’s for dinner. Another sign of spring.
A field of bluebonnets in the neighborhood. And they’re only just getting started!
Monte is the Bluebonnet Whisperer. We have several patches in the yard, and they’ve started to bloom. It’s going to be a big year. This is the first one to be brought in to the house.
(photo manipulated with Brushstroke iPhone app)
Our neighbors of many years recently sold their home and moved away. They had cultivated irises and planted them in their yard. Over the years, whenever they separated their bulbs each season, they’d hand me several over the fence. I planted them in different places in our yard, and some have reliably bloomed each year.
These are some of the first bulbs given to me, purple irises, that are already in bloom this year. I’m hoping to see some of the others do the same.
I love this time of year in Austin. The hills look like broccoli.
And the golden-cheeked warbler returns for nesting season.
I wish it lasted longer, but I’ll enjoy it while I can.