Catching Up

OK, I admit it, I’m not doing a very good job at keeping this blog up to date.  It’s just that, well, it’s summer, you know. And not just summer, but one of the nicest summers we’ve had in a while.  Summers over the last decade or so have been miserable affairs. They’ve been hot for one thing, very hot, like 37º-45ºC hot. And dry, dry, dry-less than half of our average rainfall, with humidity in the single digits. There have also been devastating fires, involving thousands of acres of pastureland, hundreds of homes, and a few deaths. Like I said, miserable.

But the last two summers have been like the summers of yore, with temperatures in the 32º to 36ºC range. We’ve already exceeded our annual rainfall expectations, the lake is over 8 meters higher than it was at the end of summer two years ago and halfway to being completely full. The wind, amazingly, has not been trying to blow us off of the planet. As Clara in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess sings, “Summertime, and the living is easy.”  Who can blame me for not wanting to sit inside and type.

There are a few drawbacks, I must admit.  The mosquitoes are huge, and vicious, and plentiful. I’ve had to mow more times this year already than I did all of 2013, and there are lots more people at the lake than I care to be around, but all in all, it’s been lovely so far this year.

I have been birding as often as I can-work has been very busy, and we are, as usual, shorthanded, but I still manage to get around to Lake Meredith, or Palo Duro Canyon, or Palo Duro Reservoir, or just drive around the back roads searching the wheat fields and cornfields and pastures and playas for birds several times a week.  Anyway, here I am at the computer and I’ve had a couple of very nice beers (Oscar Blues’ Pinner IPA) for inspiration, so here’s a few photos from June and early July.

Scissor-tailed FlycatcherScissor-tailed Flycatcher (190) (1024x707) Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (195) (1024x683)

Grasshopper SparrowGrasshopper Sparrow (14) (1024x666)

American KestrelAmerican Kestrel (6) (1024x674)

Bewick’s WrenBewick's Wren (38) (1024x597)

Red-headed WoodpeckerRed-headed Woodpecker (92) (1024x643)

Ruddy Duck in a playaRuddy Duck (57) (1024x750)

Black-crowned Night-Heron and one of the hundreds of windmills that have gone up in the last decadeBlack-crowned Night-Heron (25) (1024x652)

Cattle EgretCattle Egret (8) (1024x687)

American AvocetAmerican Avocet (88) (1024x633)

Ash-throated Flycatcher with breakfastAsh-Throated Flycatcher (68) (1024x669) Ash-throated Flycatcher (69) (1024x726)

Lark Sparrow in a gnat swarmLark Sparrow (70) (1024x740)

Mississippi KiteMississippi Kite (16) (1024x685)

Bullock’s OrioleBullock's Oriole (82) (1024x684)

Western KingbirdWestern Kingbird (79) (1024x684)

Northern MockingbirdNorthern Mockingbird (82) (1024x648)

Belted KingfisherBelted Kingfisher (43) (1024x693) Belted Kingfisher (44) (1024x783)

Osprey, an unusual bird for summer around here.Osprey (59) (1024x714) Osprey (63) (1024x697) Osprey (64) (1024x693)

Sleepy Great Horned OwlGreat Horned Owl (75) (1024x698) Great Horned Owl (80) (1024x663) Great Horned Owl (81) (1024x757)

3 thoughts on “Catching Up

  1. Excellent shots one and all!

    Your description of this summer is almost identical to ours. Except our lake is now at 100% for the first time in over 10 years! Well that, and we haven’t been getting any fantastic shots like yours.



    • Thanks, our lake hasn’t been full since 1972. There are 2 dams between us and the mountains so we don’t get any runoff from there, it’s all from the local watershed. We hope to have a few more wet summers before it dries out again, and it always dries out again, eventually.


      • Ahh, an optimist!

        “a few more wet years”? Only an optimist would dare say such a thing in Texas!

        Saw my first closeup of a Blue Groesbeak yesterday while driving home, I’ve seen them at a distance before but this was my first close encounter. And NO, I didn’t have my camera with me.

        We saw several new species for our area on our lil’ drive yesterday actually. I think maybe they were moving ahead of this front that’s passing through this AM. But I don’t count ’em unless I get the shot.

        I think this may be our last rain for the year, or at least for the most part. I tend to think we just hit our 10 year cycle and it’s about over with. Then as you said, “it always dries out again”. But as an admitted pessimist, I reckon I’d have to say that. 😉

        We love your stuff man, and we are happy to know that you are out there getting the shots. Well done!


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