Field Log 4/16/2010

North Erath County, Texas, 32.43 lat., -98.36 long. Elev. 1,086 ft.  Turkey Creek Quad.

Light mist this morning.  Probably 0.20 inch of rain since yesterday.

Lilly, Star and Fanny browse front pasture.  Lilly shows age with slower gait and right back leg limp.  Sweet Hija still at ESMS on Brazos.  Shiney is at Jimmie Hardin’s in Aubrey, Texas, for ground training and conditioning for Triangle Sale, Shawnee, Oklahoma, June 5, 2010.  Miss the little guy more than I thought I would.

Pasture grasses are erupting well.  Vetch in far field is waist-high in places.

This week, Mourning Doves (Zenaidura macroura) are cooing.  No calls before then, but noticed their presence.  This morning the doves were ground feeding in the front yard.  From Peterson: has a pointed tail, most widespread dove in the West.  As to the call, Peterson says it is a “hollow mournful ooah, cooo, cooo, coo. At a distance only the three coo‘s are audible.”  The color of the dove in our front yard was a reddish-gray with black spots.  The two dove would ground feed a moment, then hunker down in the grass and loaf.  I must have watched them for ten minutes and then had to come back to office and work on college Blackboard classes.  I will have to focus on their call to hear the 00ah.  I am practicing on imitating their call better.

We have a larger dove that is whitish that appears in late summer.  It is untyped.  The two dove will perch on the power pole by the barn and watch me feed the horses.

The following are some photographs I took this morning.

Vetch and Clouds Far Field, April 2010

Prickly Pear Bush, April 2010

Cactus Fruit, April 2010

These photographs were taken last week.

Round Pen and Twin Mountains in Distance, April 2010

Harris' Hawks at Play, April 2010

Field grasses obscure pasture lanes.  Minimum shredding planned this year, indicative of lower carbon footprint.  In addition, taller grasses can harbor wildlife.  Hand cut mesquite brush this season, using clippers and large cutters.  Lessen vehicle use in pastures.

Lilly, Star and Fanny have browsed their way to the front pasture and are now standing close together, switching their tails to keep the flies away.  They have all this space to lounge around in and they prefer to stand together with their bodies almost touching.  Herd animals.  I worry about Lilly during the night and have corralled her so she can avoid predators.  One mountain lion sighting three months ago on SH 108 near Gibson place.

I must get the duct tape down in the barn and duct tape my Peterson’s Field Guide.  The binding is coming off.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Field Log 4/16/2010

  1. Jack
    Good to have you back, it looks like we all have been busy. This weekend I am off to photograph a fashion show for Epseranza in Santa Fe. They are the group that all the proceeds from the book,
    “A Year or so in New Mexico” are going to. I have never done a fashion show, but it should be fun.

  2. Nice photos, It is time for me to get out in the field, to capture nature at this time of year.

  3. Great behavior descriptions, Jack, for all observed. Really good photos.

  4. Ah, nothing like a well-used book that requires a bit of duct tape along it’s binding. Great closing statement.

  5. Kittie Howard

    Jack, Your ranch is beautiful, a real slice of heaven. The twin peaks in the distance are like nature’s crowns. What magnificent views you have. And just enough rain to keep the grasses green. But hope it stays that way, perhaps a bit more upon occasion. You’re a wise Papa to keep Lily under watchful eye. These predators have a way of knowing when to strike. However, there’s something I don’t understand: Bush was always clearing brush when he went to Texas. I thought it strange at the time; still do. I mean, I read where the cattle on the ranch weren’t his, vendored out. Why was the President of the United States out clearing brush for cattle that weren’t his??? Where was the vendor in all this? Any input??

    • Kittie: He was doing it for show, theater, I think. Maybe exercise, but he was a biker. The clearing of brush seemed like a working class thing to do…a rather silly effort for him. Also, ranchers here in Texas have an imperative to clear brush–make more room for cattle, less for the furry creatures, a kind of killing of the wild for the sake of domesticates.

      More ranchers are seeing now the holistic approach to their land and are keeping brush piles and not clearing. Bush’s vendors could have assisted him, and, most likely, some effort was made in Crawford by the vendors to pasture their cattle properly on the Bush place, but his ranching was absentee, like so many other folks around Dallas-Fort Worth, and, most of it was for show.

      Clearing brush is very hard work and the pounds just drop off of a person. But, you gotta do it on the ground, not in an A/C bulldozer.

      It was strange–his clearing of brush.

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