Thursday, March 31, 2011

Practically a Texas Trademark...

The bluebonnets are up! 

From all the news reports, we were anticipating a poor crop this year due to the relatively dry spring we're having. However, if I didn't know better, I'd swear the ghost of Lady Bird Johnson snuck onto our property and seeded it herself this year.

And the Texas landscape comes alive...

The bluebonnet is the state flower of Texas.  Lady Bird Johnson, the wife of U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, was instrumental in putting programs in place to propagate bluebonnets and other wildflowers along our state highways and across the nation.

Great Blue Heron - Act II

The Great Blue caught one heckuva catfish along the shore that day.  It was a big one.
Carrying his catch further up the bank to avoid its escape.

He'd set it down and reposition it in his beak.

Then carry it around a bit more.

Not sure how to handle it, but unwilling to give up the situation.

To be continued...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Great Blue Heron - Act I

One day last week, a beautiful Great Blue Heron walked along our pond on the side closest to the house.  The sun was shining and he was feeling very photogenic.  I took so many great grand shots of this Great, I just have to break it down into several posts. 

More grandness to follow...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Let sleeping dogs lie...

...even if it is one on top of the other.
Marigold and Louise share the fold-out doggie cushion.

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

Just when I was getting a touch of "empty pond syndrome" after Nessie's departure (our little pied-billed grebe), the black-bellied whistling ducks have returned to lend some amusement to our pondscape.
These are unique ducks.  They don't quack; instead they have a high-pitched whistle (click here to get a sample).  They have bright pink/orange bills and legs.  They stand tall like an egret.  They can raise the ridge of brown on their heads like a tiny little mohawk.  They don't like to swim in the pond so often perch on fences and trees (unless they've got a brood of ducklings on the water).  They originate from parts of Central America and Mexico but have been making their way to Run*A*Round Ranch now for about 8 years and are spreading further north in the summers.  They get pretty accustomed to humans so will often hang nearby without flying off if you don't make too many surprising moves.  The group that has shown up this year are more shy than we've had in previous years.  They might be offspring of some of our 'regulars' so will take a while to get used to us being around. 

I will definitely be posting more of them throughout the summer.  We've had pairs have ducklings on our pond before (which is always dangerous, considering the dogs, hawks, and even snapping turtles in the past). 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Another scamper rat

Squirrels are just so darn cute.  (And, no, I'm not putting him in a stew!)

Another Red-Shouldered Hawk

One second, looking as curious and sweet as a parakeet and the next, looking like the sharp-eyed, sharp-beaked, taloned hunter he or she is.

I love this one - looking straight up.

And yes - the TexWisGirl gimmick:  "Bird making a getaway" aka "The Fly Bye" shot.
But it shows off the reason for the moniker so well!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pondside pix

 Another Great Blue and his reflection.
 More red-eared sliders.
Another high-stepping egret.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

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