Keith Combs' Blahg

Ramblings from another nerd on the grid

Any birders out there?

Any birders out there?

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Cedar_Waxwing My Cedar Waxwings arrived a couple of days ago.  I'll have to see if they hang around and finish off my Yaupon Holly berry's. They usually come by my house around this time each year as they migrate back north.  By the way, the picture at right is probably the best picture I've ever seen of a Waxwing.  Be sure to see the super high resolution version.

I've seen flocks of them pick my bushes clean in a day or two.  Hungry little suckers.  I guess they leave Mexico and head North when spring starts coming on.  They probably wish they would have waited a few more days.

My next arrivals will hopefully be the nesting pairs of Barn Swallows that come back nearly every year and build a nest on my back porch.  They are fun to watch.  They fly fast and do all sorts of loops.  They seem to have fun trying to get me as I jump in the pool.  Ha! 

BarnSwallowSo why the fascination with nature?

Probably because the location I grew up in had all sorts of critters.  It started in Houston, Texas.  I lived in a neighborhood bordering Rummell Creek and Buffalo Bayou.  We used to catch and release all kinds of turtles, snakes and animals.  Of course the alligator gar, alligators, fish and other critters in the bayou meant there was never a dull moment.  I was really young then.  I had no idea growing up playing in that area it would lead to a lifelong appreciation for nature.  The area is now a park and nature preserve.  Who knew?

After we moved from Houston to Conroe, we of course explored the west fork of the San Jacinto river near my house on a daily basis.  A lot of the time is was via the knobby tires of our motocross mini bikes and motorcycles, but we always stopped to rest and enjoy the mosquitos. 

EagleThere are all kinds of critter in Conroe as well.  I used to have a pet raccoon that liked to ride on my head as I drove my 71 Mustang.  People tend to freak when your coon skin hat looks at them.  He got big and mean about the time it was mating season for some reason.  I turned him loose and he found a female coon in short order.  They would come eat the dog food and wrestle my dog.  The female hung around the house for years and years.

Lake Conroe is home to Bald Eagle and we would see them frequently as it's a breeding and nesting ground.  It's funny how many people didn't believe me when I told them that.  You see, my summer job was to take the Houston city slickers (as we called them) out skiing.  I was the boat driver, ski instructor, and beer guide.  Those were the days. :)

Anyway, none of those years included a computer or Xbox.  We spent our time outdoors.  I didn't really appreciate it then but I look back on those years as my indoctrination into the world of nature.  If I ever stop blogging, you'll know I headed to the Amazon or some such adventure. 

Until then, I get to enjoy the birds using the Central Flyway.  Lots of them.  But you have to look for them.  What's next?  Hummingbirds baby!!!

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  • My time away from work is time on the CT river wakeboarding.  Fortunetly for me and my wakeboarding friends there is a lot of wildlife to see, especially eagles.  We have seen some big birds out there.

    It's a nice break.

  • Keith, it's always a nice break to find a post about the unplugged world.

    Up here in Vermont we get a lot of your critters -- even full-sized snapping turtles. But obviously we get the migrants a couple months later than you do. Waxwings won't be back for another two months, but you see bald eagles year round over the Adirondacks, southern Lake Champlain or the upper Hudson River. Lots of Ospreys state-wide here, and in winter, massive low-flying flocks of snow geese.

    And if you're looking for a hummingbird fix, there's a local up here who videoed 200 varieties around the world, and National Geographic picked it up. Some are really wild-looking.

    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0701/feature4/multimedia.html

    There are good birders and bad birders, but it ain't as sissy as some people make it out to be. Case in point: Jim Schlesinger, Nixon's Secretary of Defense, kept himself sane that way.

    Martin

  • Thanks Martin.  Life is short.  Get outside and make your children go with you. :)

    Thanks for the link to the National Geo area.  I had actually already seen that section but enjoyed the reminder.

    I've had a Nation Geographic subscription since I was old enough to read. That was a yearly present from my Grandmother.  I envy the photo journalist.  Love their work.

    I'll have to take some pictures of the dragons that live around my house and post them.