Southwestern farrago

San Saba Weekly News, October 9, 1891.

Within the last two months, I have collected a special farrago of items relative to the Southwest and travel south of the border.  I had thought about writing a post on each of these items, but probably will not in the near future.  I do not want these bits and pieces to go stale.  So, in this mixed bag of  items you may find something of interest.  Click on the hyperlinks for details.


Tundra Native Flies To Texas | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth.  The Snowy Owl comes to Texas — near Dallas.  This is so rare of a sighting down here that I may drive over to the area and photograph the owl (Robertson State Park at Lake Ray Hubbard Snowy Owl sighting site location courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife).


In Arizona, Rare Sightings Of Ocelots and Jaguars –  The New York Times relates to Arizona.  But, two years ago near Abilene, Texas, three sober people sighted what was thought to be a jaguar.  The Texas Parks and Wildlife agency did not confirm the sighting along a brushy ridge line that extended for miles running east and west.  Given the craziness of some hunters, I have not given the story publicity and I do not intend to pinpoint the location.


How safe is Mexico for tourists? – World – CBC News.  This writer has experience in Mexico and his website seems worthwhile.  This is a valuable article for those of you seeking to take your Spring break in Mexico.  Combined with the State Department’s guidelines and warnings linked below, avoid some places and enjoy safely other areas.


Mexico.  U.S. Department of State Travel Warning to Mexico.  The State Department updates these warnings regularly.


BBC – Travel – A German enclave in central Texas : Cultural Activities, Texas.  This is about Fredericksburg, one of my favorite towns in Texas.  I went to Fredericksburg as a boy, before it became touristy.  It still has the old-town feeling.  This was written for the British Broadcasting Company.


Filed under Birds, Fredericksburg Texas, San Saba Texas, Texas

18 responses to “Southwestern farrago

  1. Kittie Howard

    Oh but that snowy owl excites the imagination! Hope you get a chance to drive over and take a picture. (Yep, best not to pinpoint the location of the jaguar.)

    • Yes, there are some odd people who would gather a posse to chase down the cat. Best to leave the cat alone and see if the story is valid before taking the next step. It’s a pretty wild area and there are large swaths of unpopulated territory between West Texas and Mexico.

  2. Cowboy

    Howdy Jack –

    Hope all is well in your part of the world. A great set of stories here, I enjoyed reading them. I just read the warning from the State Department last week.
    Take care –

  3. Thank you for sharing..I just read about the BBC..I will get to the rest..

  4. Very cool about the snowy owl – this has been a big winter for them, as I’m sure you know. There have been a number of them in Wisconsin but with my limited time I haven’t felt the need to go chasing after them. I did get to see one in Ohio several years ago.

    The presence of jaguars in Arizona is very exciting, and sightings of them have been on the rise in the past few years.

  5. Very interesting about the owl. They are very rarely seen here too, yet there have been several hanging around an area about 70 miles from here this winter.Makes one wonder.

  6. Hej Jack!
    My comment disappeared, but I’ll try again. It’s just a silly story, but it’s true. A snowy owl was sitting in a high bush at Skagen, which is a good migration place in the top of Denmark. Birdwatchers were gathering at a distance with their telescopes. Now, in our Age of Mobile Phones people quickly get a message when they are out in the field, and they are ready to drive from the southern border of Jutland, where they are watching birds in the Waddensea and up to Skagen. It might be a short distance for you in Texas, but it feels longer here! About 300 km to see this snowy owl, who hadn’t been there for years. And they came from south and east and from my town, Århus, because this was a sensation, and they were all very enthusiastic. The owl sat there in the bush, very quiet. That’s what owls often do. In fact it was unusually quiet for a long time. In fact immovable, until someone who had taken a closer look cried: “It’s a bloody fake!” I don’t know if they have found out who made this practical joke on them.

    The jaguar is such a beautiful creature. It’s fantastic,this story about the jaguar and the ocelot. I’m sure that when we protect these rare animals we’ll see more of them. We don’t have big cats in DK, but the birds of prey have been “taken care of” for many years now, and this year was counted almost 400 white tailed eagle – and it’s not many years since we had none. The red kite is growing in numbers, and the golden eagle, but we’ve got it like you say. There are places we do not tell others.

    Thank you for sharing, Jack.

    Grethe ´)

    • Grethe: What a story! Oh, yes, we keep some secrets about locations of wildlife. There’s a bobcat that habitually crosses the road in front of our rural letter carrier. She has promised to take me there one day and show me. What a story about the owl you have. I know the excitement about driving to see a rare bird. 300 km is a long distance to drive to have a joke pulled on you. A really fine comment. Thanks, Grethe. Oh, sorry your first comment disappeared. Thanks for repeating and staying with the writing.

  7. Snowy owls are an unusual site in central New England. We see one less than once per year. Can’t imagine how one got as far south as Texas!

    Re: Grethe’s bobcat, they travel habitual paths, often exactly the same path at approximately (30 minutes one way or the other) the same time.

  8. I have a photographer/birder friend in Kansas who spent three days chasing a snowy owl around without a single sighting. Grade school kids were seeing the thing as they got off their buses. A woman hanging clothes saw it. He ran up and down roads like a maniac, and never caught a glimpse. I told him to sit down in one spot and wait, but I don’t think he did.

    Anyway, I passed that article on to him, just for the devilish pleasure of it, and also sent it to a friend in Lewisville, who actually is close enough to go over and see it.

    I was down in the wilds south of Freeport last year, checking out the parts of the ICW where they’d been doing some repairs. I found a set of tracks – really big, and unusual. I took photos of them and suddenly thought, “Those are fresh!” Even the edges hadn’t begun to dry out. I looked around at the brush, and the distance between me and my car, and made what I think was a very good decision. Later, a friend with Parks and Wildlife just laughed. Yessir, cougar.

    As for the border – I have a friend who works for a company that has interests in the area. He’s often in far south Texas and the lands extending from the border in as far as Bracketville. He says all of their guys are carrying, now. It’s apparently unwritten company policy. Just too dangerous otherwise.

    • Linda: I laugh but sympathize with your friend in Kansas. My sightings of fox here at the ranchito was coincidental to standing in the grove and the fox just happened by. A cougar! Good decision to go to the car. They’ve been reported down here, but I have seen none. Yes, going about the border is not a safe thing these days. I have students from Mexico that have not ventured down certain highways for two years because of the violence.

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