it has been a great day

01 Feb

Happy Birthday, Bailei.

This morning, shortly before 9 AM, I left the park with a friend to attend a talk by John Yochum at the Edinburg Scenic Wetlands.  His talk was entitled “Birding By Ear”.  John is the Park Naturalist at Estero Llano Grande World Birding Center in Weslaco, Texas.  John’s talk was very informative and the two hours just flew by.  One of the things I learned was that both Eastern and Western Meadowlarks can be found in the valley in the winter.  However, only Eastern Meadowlarks can be heard “singing” as they breed here in the lower valley and Western Meadowlarks do not (as a rule).  The Westerns just come south for the winter.  And since this is not their breeding grounds, they don’t sing.  Also, Westerns are found in fairly large pods of 30, 50 or more birds in the winter.  I can attest to this, as I have seen several of these “large” pods.

Following the talk, John led a tour down some of the trails winding thru the park.  Although we were mostly practicing identification by ear, we were also keeping our eyes open for one of the two Tropical Parulas that are wintering in the park.  And guess what — SUCCESS!!!!!!!!  This was the second “lifer” for me this year.

I did not have my camera, but Glenn Dunn took this picture and shared it with me.

I did not have my camera, but Glenn Dunn took this picture and shared it with me.

For you butterfly enthusiasts, while walking the trails, we spotted a GUAVA SKIPPER.  This is a very striking looking butterfly and in the US, it is found only in southern Texas and is even uncommon here.

After leaving the wetlands, we had a nice lunch in McAllen and made a quick stop at Barnes and Noble to pick up a couple of books that I had ordered.

I got back to the trailer around 4 PM.  Although quite breezy (it is always breezy here), the temperature was quite pleasant at 22 C (71 F).  I sat outside in my lawn chair reading my new book.  (The Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau).  Sometimes, you can just tell after reading the first few pages of a book, whether or not you are going to enjoy it.  And I KNOW I’m going to enjoy this book.

Eventually, it was too dark to read.  I brought out the iPhone and plugged it into the speaker to listen to WCMU streaming live over the internet.  Click on the call letters to access the station on the internet.  The show being broadcast was PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION.  It was a nice way to close out the day.  Time to move indoors and work on my bird list.

Before I close off for the night, I imagine that most of my readers have heard that Pete Seeger passed away on the 27th at the age of 94.  I have long been a big fan and follower of Pete Seeger.  His music was personal and expressed a vision for the world.  Please click on this link to see a YouTube video.

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Posted by on February 1, 2014 in Uncategorized


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