Tag Archives: Texas prickly pear

Fox and Salt Creek: field log entry 2

12:00 p.m. — 1:08 p.m.:  After thirty minutes communing with a fussy wren, I finished a brief field observation with a walk up Salt Creek about one-tenth of a mile.  I logged tadpoles, frogs, wrens, bluejays, heard the cry of the red-tailed hawk or the Harris hawk, photographed a turkey vulture (not included herein) and saw the owl (unidentified) fly into the grove away from my hike.  Back at the ranch house, I identified the wren that had chattered at me — a Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii).    I saw numerous tracks in the mud.

I counted two monarch butterflies within the cool willows of the water cache — see photograph below for the Salt Creek water cache with sky blue.

Salt Creek water cache with sky blue (October 15, 2011).

The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds states that Bewick’s Wren prefers drier conditions to its resemblance, the Carolina Wren.  Bewick’s Wren has certainly enjoyed dry conditions throughout the summer.

I liked this photograph of the prickly-pear cactus with the willow and pecan trees in the background.  It describes in essence what this part of Texas and my ranchito is all about — wet and dry, green and brown, cactus and pecan, things-that-stick-you and things-you-eat.

Fox I did not see.  I did not expect to see any, but one never knows.  My friend, Wild Bill of Wild Ramblings Blog, suggested that I get a animal call tool that sounds like a wounded rabbit to attract the fox.  I think I shall because I want to see fox again.   Cougars and bobcats have been sighted in our area, so I shall be cautious.  I don’t want my day spoiled by predators of that size taking me from behind.  We have a saying out here, “If it doesn’t sting or bite you, it will stick you!”   I’ll take the stinging and sticking anytime over the biting.  Now, where are my field catalogs?


Filed under Birds, Bluestem Field Log (Live), Field Log, Life in Balance, Monarch Butterfly

Downy feathers and purple fruit of Texas

The drought affect upon a person’s mood in Texas can quickly decline into prurient prose and photographs to the neglect of new abundances, new vacuums, curious presences in the arid lands. The drought’s vignettes multiple in west-central Texas:  Boer goats standing tall, eating mesquite and live oak leaves, dropping on all fours to dead grass; auction sales in Dublin, Eastland, and Coleman, Texas, that go on through the night and into the next day selling cattle that will, in the main, be quickly transported to packinghouses; cow tanks and water caches that were never dry in my lifetime are now barren, their empty beds cracking like dregs of buttermilk on clear glass; and reflective heat exploding my Boston Scientific Weather Station thermometer to 122 degrees.

No need to get angry at the weather; that’s crazy, wrote Nietzsche.  And after going over the daily picture rituals of dry, semi-arid, landscapes, I prefer not to reside in some smutty alcove of bereavement, rocking back and forth, counting beads, hoping for a drastic change in the jet stream.  I am in a droughty weather cycle, yes, but so?  Start designing interior plazas, stucco walls and arbors with water mists — all replete with scented juniper shade.  And, in the cool morning, begin construction.

Then, in the field, observe all things, including downy dove feathers on mesquite and the purple tulip fruit of the ubiquitous Desert prickly pear.  These are trusty images to dwell upon during the heat of the day.

Desert prickly pear, New Mexico prickly pear, bearing tulip fruits that are edible (north Erath County, Texas, 2011).


Filed under Life in Balance