Tag Archives: birds

Backyard Birds of East Texas

I love to be outdoors but, I admit, I’m a fair-weather outdoors-girl.  As I was in east Texas, on Houston County Lake, over Labor Day, the temps were close to 100.  Looking outside I could see a gentle breeze that kept enticing me out.  Any who have spent a summer in Texas know what happens as soon as you go outside.  I began to sweat and couldn’t even find relief from the heat in the shade or the breeze.  But I wanted to get some pix of the backyard birds so I pulled up a chair and tried not to exert any energy.  🙂

Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker

I thought the above photo was of a red-headed woodpecker but I got some help with the bird identification from nature@twpd.texas.gov.

Goldfinch
Goldfinch

My Dad says his mother used to call the goldfinch “salad” birds.

Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker

The Downy woodpecker is such a cute little bird.

Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Bluebird

The Easter Bluebird is pretty common; especially if you put up a nesting box for them.

bird identification request
Female Red-bellied Woodpecker

Again, nature@twpd.texas.gov helped me out to identify the bird in the above photo.  It is a female Red-bellied woodpecker.  The Yellow-fronted woodpeckers aren’t found in this part of Texas.

As I came back in the house, where my parents stayed, my Dad asked me what I was doing out there.  I told him I was taking photos.  He told me I should have gotten some good pix of the birds who came to see the crazy person sitting outside in the Texas heat because they never see that.  🙂

Listening to General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Nothing is just Black and White

I’m not sure if this is a metaphor or not.  I usually don’t go looking for a metaphor for life.  But, often, as I think about what I’ve observed, I can apply it to life.

Brandt's Cormorant with Common Murre
Brandt’s Cormorant with Common Murre

We’d heard reports of orcas being seen from Sea Lion Caves all week.  So we stopped at the Hwy 101 overlook, just north of there, yesterday.  As is usually the case my attention span, and the tiny specs that I have to look for in the distance for most whale watching, are directly proportional.  There’s usually something closer to see on the rocks just below the overlook.  (Another metaphor I’ve learned from the ocean:  If I spend too much time looking for great things in the distance, I miss the beauty in the small things right under my nose.)

The smaller birds with more white on them is the Common Murre.  The larger ones with the long neck is the Brandt’s Cormorant.

Brandt's Cormorant
Brandt’s Cormorant

But LOOK!  With the naked eye I think I see something blue?

Sure enough!  It’s breeding season and the male cormorants are displaying their striking, blue, chins to attract the females.

Cormorants and murres share the same general nesting areas.  The male cormorant gathers materials and brings them back to the female for her to make the nest.

Pigeon Guillemot Flock
Pigeon Guillemot Flock

So I look over another edge and see a different black and white bird.

But LOOK!  With the naked eye I think I see orange feet?  It’s the Pigeon Guillemot.  The little bit of a black bar on the white wing distinguishes the Pigeon Guillemot from the Black Guillemot.

Pigeon Guillemot
Pigeon Guillemot – Where’d you got those shoes!

See, if you really pay attention, things are usually not ALL black and white.

Common Murre
Common Murre

…except maybe the Common Murre?  But, then, maybe I just need to look closer?