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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Alpine day

Stuck in town for a couple days, but heading south to CMO early AM. We had a couple of good rains here in town but nothing at the oasis. Anxious to see what odes and butterflies I can find tomorrow. I hope to get to Lajitas in a day or two to check out the hummingbirds and odes there too.

Today I only photographed one thing, an Eastern Amberwing.  I tried unsuccessfully to make it into a lifer Slough Amberwing. Must be this cabin fever.

Tomorrow I'm determined to have much better stuff to post. Rain is in the forecast. Here's hoping.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Wintering birds starting to arrive

Saw the first Green-tailed Towhee for the season. I love them and they spend the whole winter. Here's a year-round species, Greater Roadrunner, that is making herself right at home in the walkway.

Alas, I had my camera settings wrong for most of today, so when it clouded up none of my pictures were sharp. I normally leave them on one setting but had recently been experimenting and forgot I had done that. I think this next photo is an Allen's Hummingbird, but without a sharp spread-tail shot, can't be sure. You know that didn't happen.

The Chinese Pistachio tree has a lot of berries on it that are ripening.

And one Chinkapin Oak had all the ripening acorns missing. No damage to any limbs so I'm sure it was a bird,  probably Western Scrub Jay. Maybe I'll see it tomorrow. Got here rather late in the day today to see much.

Still a fair number of odonates hanging out. Probably the only water for miles around. I finally got the coveted side shot of a Pale-faced Clubskimmer. I'm kicking myself that I still had the camera ISO wrong when I photographed it. Such an opportunity lost. I'm thinking this is a juvenile male, but not sure.

I still remember around 20 years ago when my sister-in-law, Dale Ohl, and I drove to Balmorhea to get our lifer Eurasian Collared-Dove. They were just expanding into the area. Now they are "junk" birds everywhere, including CMO. Perched near the feeders, waiting for me to fill them.

I'm real weak on lizard identifications. Only photographed this one because it was posing nicely and that would give me a chance to use my new Texas lizard guide. I think it's a Southwestern Fence Lizard, maybe a subspecies of Eastern Fence Lizard. Very common here.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Accidental lifer

Stuck in town I decided to practice photographing damselflies with my Lumix camera. So while out by the ponds doing that, I saw what I thought was a common butterfly land that I figured I'd practice on, too. Later, I sent Brian the photo and discovered it was a Clouded Skipper. He has seen that species at the oasis before, but I hadn't, to my knowledge. If I have seen it before I probably thought it was a Northern Cloudywing or something similar.

Other than that, a real boring day.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Long hard day

I needed to water the oasis but neither of my tank pumps would work. They go into the pressure tank so watering is fast. So it took me all day to rig up another old broken pump, that ever so slowly produced water, to get things even sparsely watered. Then to town. I need to get a new fuse for the one pump switch box. If that isn't the problem then I'll have to get my son to go down and install a new pump.

At least while water was slowly trickling, in between moving the hose I got to watch birds. There were lots of warblers. And also I used less water than I otherwise would have, which might become an issue in six months if it doesn't rain in the meantime.

The few hummers remaining are really fat. Obviously getting ready for their big migration. Here's Black-chinned Hummingbird with fat reserves.

The only overwintering species to arrive so far are the Ruby-crowned Kinglets.  It didn't take long after I filled the sunflower seed feeder before a squirrel was trying to get to the seeds.

The moon was still awesome tonight so I stopped along the highway and snapped a couple shots of it in all its golden glory.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Day of the Moon

The prehistoric people of the Big Bend, ancestors to today's Tarahumara Indians of Mexico, called night "the day of the moon." Seemed fitting this evening with the spectacular eclipse. I did my darnedest to get decent photos. There are great ones online so with my first hand sighting and their photos I have a pretty lasting impression of it. The evening started with a lovely sunset...

Soon followed by the moonrise....

And then the real show began..

I keep forgetting to post a photo of my newly made concrete pad in the viewing area, so I snapped a quick shot of it before dark today. It works better for banding now.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Bloom of damselfies

For whatever reason there's a huge increase in damselfly numbers at the ponds in Alpine.

Yesterday at the oasis there were only a couple of hummers left. The previous week it was obvious by their revved up all day activity at the feeders that they were tanking up for departure.

Here's a Canyonland Satyr that I photographed in the Davis Mountains a few days ago. Not a lifer but still enjoyable to see.

Tomorrow evening I'm gonna try to photograph the eclipse with my mountain below it. And by the way, my binoculars dried out and are none the worse for the wetting.