Sunday, July 20, 2014

COCKRELL BUTTERFLY CENTER

Phil took me to the Houston Natural Science museum and to the Cockerell Butterfly Center, which I loved!
You walk in an enclosed solarium which is filled with tropical plants and over 60 species of the world’s largest and most colorful butterflies.
Cockrell Butterfly Center 17

Cockrell Butterfly Center 14 copy

Cockrell Butterfly Center 11 copy


Cockrell Butterfly Center 8

Cockrell Butterfly Center2

Cockrell Butterfly Center

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Cockrell Butterfly Center 32

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Cockrell Butterfly Center 23

I read some great books lately. Sue and I read books together and talk about them, our own little two person book club.

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Spring Fallout Part Two


The Kleb Woods Senior bus trip made another trip to see what birds we could see during spring fallout. This trip we went to Anahauac and High Island.
Both places are great birding spots for spring migrations.

I love the legs on this Little Green Heron and the colors of the feathers are so lovely.
Green Heron Anahuac

This Purple Gallinule is another unusual and lovely bird.

Purple Ganullie Anahauc
A White Faced Ibis taking a stroll
White-faced Ibis Anahuac
Young Rail
anahuac rail

We were all fascinated with these Wilson's Phalaropes. They sit and spin in circles while they feed.


Wilsons Phalarope Anahuac

Rosette Spoonbills nesting at the Rookery at High Island

High Island 9

High Island 8

Snowy Egrets nesting

High Island 7

High Island 4

High Island 3

High Island2




Sunday, May 18, 2014

Spring Fallout

The Kleb Woods senior birding bus trip had three bus trips April and May to see the spring migrants coming through on their way north.
During the spring migration period, from early March to mid May, conditions occasionally exist where strong, turbulent north winds and rain trigger a phenomenon called a "fallout."  This usually happens when a strong, fast-moving cold front crosses the Texas coast and moves into the Gulf of Mexico during the middle of the day.  The wind and rain slows the migrating birds down causing them to rapidly use up their stored energy reserves. Thousands of extremely tired migrants are forced to seek shelter and food as soon as they reach the coast.
http://www.houstonaudubon.org/default.aspx/menuitemid/366/menugroup/high+island.htm
I was excited to be able to go because I’ve never had the opportunity before now to see some of these birds.  I got several on my life list from these two trips.
Quintana Neotropical Bird Sanctuary is located in Quintana, Texas.  It is a small bird sanctuary, but one that is used heavily by migrants as an oasis.

Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager Quintana

Orchard Oriole

Orchard Oriole Quintana

Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting Female Quintana

Some people were disappointed because of the lack of birds, but I’m always happy to see any birds.
Galveston
After leaving Quintana we drove down to Galveston to look around the coastline.
Fred, our fearless leader, has a knack for spotting birds from a moving bus.  I have no clue how he does it.
We all got off the bus and heard this Marsh Wren singing. It took a while for us to find the bird amongst the reeds.
Wrens have such beautiful songs.

Marsh Wren



Marsh Wren Galveston


This Clapper Rail was stalking crabs.

Clapper Rail Galveston Texas


Fish Crows are slightly smaller than American Crows and difficult to distinguish between the two, yet Fred again identified them from a moving bus.  The man amazes me.
Fish Crows have the neatest call.
http://www.birds.cornell.edu/crows/ficr1.wav

Fish Crow
Our next stop was Sabine Woods bird sanctuary on the Upper Texas Coast south of Beaumont, Texas.  This special property is a well-known haven for migrating birds.

I love the attitude of this Gray Catbird.

Gray Catbird Sabine Woods Attitude

Gray Catbird Sabine Woods paint

Female Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager Female Sabine Woods

Scarlet Tanager

Scarlet Tanager Sabine Woods

Female Blue Grosbeak

Female Blue Grosbeak

Gray Cheeked Thrush

Gray Cheeked Warbler

Books I’ve been reading.

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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Texas Blue Bonnets

Did you know bluebonnets are found growing naturally only in Texas and at no other location in the world?
The bluebonnet was designated the official state flower of Texas in 1901.
Shortly after the Texas Highway Department was organized in 1917, officials noted that wildflowers were among the first vegetation to reappear at roadside cuts and fills. In 1932, the department hired Jack Gubbels, its first landscape architect, to maintain, preserve and encourage wildflowers and other native plants along rights of way. By 1934, department rules delayed all mowing, unless essential for safety, until spring and early summer wildflower seasons were over. This practice has stayed in place for more than 60 years and has expanded into today's full-scale vegetation management system.” TxDOT buys and sows about 30,000 pounds of wildflower seed each year.
http://keranews.org/post/15-amazing-things-you-should-know-about-texas-bluebonnets

Phil took me out one Sunday to Chappell Hill TX to see the Blue Bonnets and the Indian  Paintbrush. This is the same area that Debra and I went last year for the Blue Bonnet Festival.

Copelyn Springs Road Chappell Hill TX 15

Copelyn Springs Road Chappell Hill TX 14

Copelyn Springs Road Chappell Hill TX 13

Copelyn Springs Road Chappell Hill TX 11

Copelyn Springs Road Chappell Hill TX 10

Copelyn Springs Road Chappell Hill TX 9

Copelyn Springs Road Chappell Hill TX 8

The Indian Paintbrush is beautiful also.

Copelyn Springs Road Chappell Hill TX 7

Copelyn Springs Road Chappell Hill TX 6

Copelyn Springs Road Chappell Hill TX 5

Copelyn Springs Road Chappell Hill TX 4

Copelyn Springs Road Chappell Hill TX 3

Copelyn Springs Road Chappell Hill TX 2

Books I've been reading

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