Tag Archives: texas

Frog or Chameleon?

This is a Gray Tree Frog on a gray deck railing…snuggled up to his body guard.


This is a Gray Tree Frog on a tan chair leg.


It is the same frog.  You can tell by the wart on the right shoulder.

I had no idea they’d change color!

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.


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.

Big Texas Skies

This has been such a busy and fun Christmas season visiting my amazing parents in Texas.

oak tree against sunset colors
Sailor’s Delight

I’ve had so much fun with them that I’ve neglected taking photos.  As I was outside running a couple errands though, the sunset colors of the big Texas sky caught my attention and I just had to stop.

Christmas trees make great fish habitat in the lake
Christmas trees make great fish habitat in the lake

As long as I had my camera and ditching my duties…I kept clicking…Walmart was selling leftover Christmas trees last week for 2 cents each so we got a baker’s dozen for fish habitat.  If more would have fit in the truck, we would have gotten more.  My brother wanted to know if we tried to talk them down in price. 😉  These will give those bass a reason to hang around.

"The Puzzler" (Norman Rockwell-style)
“The Puzzler” (Norman Rockwell-style)

Mom’s puttering around in the kitchen and Dad’s at the puzzle table.

Moon Rise over Houston County Lake
Moon Rise over Houston County Lake

And a beautiful full moon over the lake while steaks wait for the football game to end.

Goodnight big TX sky!

Backyard Birds in Texas

I finally stalked the cardinals long enough that I got a couple pix.

Male Cardinal
Male Cardinal

The male is bright red and sings his best to attract the female.

Female Cardinal
Female Cardinal

The female is more of a brown with an orange beak.  I think she’ll sing a similar song but this one just made a quick “cheap” every now and then while she listened.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

I think that is a yellow-bellied sapsucker.

And these….are not something you hope to see in your backyard – Black Vultures

Black Vultures
Black Vultures

But, unless you put roadkill in your backyard feeder, you probably won’t.  My parents live on a lake in East Texas and there was a dead fish in the neighbors yard.  These guys and the turkey vultures were feeding on the fish.

Random Texas Sights

We have had such beautiful weather for the last couple weeks in East Texas.

Oak Tree Against Blue Sky
Oak Tree – not a straight branch on them

I love the mighty oaks; even when they are bare.

Cedar Waxwing - Oak tree covered in mistletoe
Cedar Waxwing – Oak tree covered in mistletoe

Mom and Dad have kind of a sun room that overlooks the lake.  We watched this Cedar Waxwing for probably 10 minutes though the window.  He (she?) is so camouflaged that he was hard to spot.  We’d never seen one sit that still before.  He is eating the white berries off the mistletoe.

Clouds change the tone
Clouds change the tone

I am an auto-focus photographer and I found it interesting how different the coloring was between these two photos.  I’m pretty sure the second was taken when a cloud was in front of the sun.

Turtle in Houston County Lake

Dad and Don took me out in the Bass Tracker on a turtle hunt.  Well, they were actually graphing fish.

There are lots of crappie fishermen on the lake.  And, no, that is not a statement about their skill.  Crappie is a fish.  Although I don’t know how many they’re catching. 🙂

Businessman has his priorities straight
Businessman has his priorities straight

Sunday: Go to church

Mission Tejas, Ratcliff Lake, Davy Crockett National Forest

We took a drive in the RV to dump the holding tanks and have a picnic on a beautiful January day.

Mission Tejas State Park is on Ratcliff Lake in the Davy Crockett National Forest.  It is on Hwy 21, the El Camino Real Hwy (King’s Hwy), between Crockett and Lufkin, TX.

I was researching camping prices for you but they are so complicated I decided just to provide the above links.  Besides, there’s a lot of great history that I’d probably blow if I tried to summarize it.

Mission San Fransico de los Tejas
Mission San Fransico de los Tejas

I am actually a little confused, now, about whether we were in a State Park or the National Forest.  Or maybe it’s a State Park in the National Forest?  I don’t know who runs what, but that’s why I gave you the links.  You can sort it out for yourself (if it matters).  The dump station was closed but we didn’t let that ruin our day.

We stopped to take a look inside this beautiful little log church: Mission San Fransisco de los Tejas.

I wonder if their meetings were short?
Inside the Mission

I’ll bet the hymns echoed in here!  It makes me appreciate the soft benches in our churches today!  Although a fireplace would be fun 🙂

Fossils in locally quaried stone
Floor inside Mission made of local stone with fossils

The floor has fossils in locally quarried stone. Most (or all?) of Texas was under water eons ago.

Petrified wood for fireplace
Fireplace stonework is petrified wood

We thought the petrified wood for the fireplace was really a nice touch.

Ratcliff Lake
Ratcliff Lake

For our picnic, we went over to the Day Use Area on Ratcliff Lake.  There is a nice swimming beach, lots of picnic tables and a nice pavilion for groups.

They do use workampers here because I saw they’ll rent the FHU sites to RVers when they aren’t occupied by the Camp Hosts.  But I don’t know if they are paid or volunteers.

Full Moonrise Over Houston County Lake

I’ve been wanting to see the full moon for 3 days but the weather hasn’t cooperated.

The skies were very clear this afternoon and into the evening.  So I knew I’d get a chance but wasn’t sure what time moonrise was.

I was anticipating it since sundown and it finally came around 7:50.  It had to rise above some low clouds on the horizon but that gave it the nice orange color.

Full Moon Rising
Full Moon Rising

This is over Houston County Lake near Crockett, TX.

Just for my friends and family up north:  It got up to 80 again today!  🙂

I had to go buy some short-sleeved shirts so I didn’t have a heat stroke.