I Really Like to be in Southern Texas

by Dave Hanks

I REALLY LIKE TO BE IN SOUTHERN TEXAS!

It’s pleasant in winter time, when temperatures are low.

This is the time of year when it’s best to go

To the Rio Grande Valley to enjoy the birdie show.

I REALLY LIKE TO BE IN SOUTHERN TEXAS!

All sorts of perchers like these conditions too

Just put out some feed and they soon come into view.

They are there in abundance, and I will name a few:

I REALLY LIKE TO BE IN SOUTHERN TEXAS!

To see Woodpeckers, Jays, Thrashers, and the Kiskadee;

Cardinals and Titmice, and an Oriole in a tree

And so many, many others, are there for you to see.

One gulf coast denizen is the Tri-Colored Heron. It is also known as the Louisiana Heron. They will be there stalking the shallows to catch and ingest almost anything that they can get down their gullet. This 26 inch tall bird inhabits the saline waters of the gulf’s marshes and mangrove swamps.

Audubon Oriole is another southern Texas joy to find, with its yellow body and black head and neck. Texas has more bird species than any other state in the union, and when we can take a trip there, it is always rewarding.

 

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OUT AND ABOUT

by Dave Hanks



 The snow is fluffily,
			“sifting” down.
		It leaves a thick “carpet-like” covering
				upon the ground.
			 

		Its mystical magic
			that floats on the air.
		And it’s an invigorating joy
				to be out where –
			


		The wonders of life
			move to and fro.
		And lucky we are,
			that much I know,
			


		To have natural treasures
			so close at hand
		And everywhere present
			across sky and land
			


   Winter can be a good time to observe large mammals.
   Heavy snow makes movement inefficient for conserving 
   energy. Energy that is so important for winter survival, 
   when one must compete for the scarcity of available 
   food, and the energy to maintain body temperature under 
   cold conditions. The beasts are reluctant to move
   much, and if you are careful not to stress them, 
   you can get close up and personal.
    

Targee snow and moose

Christmas all year!

by Dave Hanks

I can’t wait for the dawn when the sun lights the sky, To photograph beast or bird as each passes by!

I’m like a Christmas Eve kid thrashing in bed sleeplessly, Anxious to open those presents that are under the tree.

But I don’t seek presents wrapped with tinsel or bow. Nevertheless they are gifts that “set me aglow”.

There are never enough minutes in each safari day, To “shoot” all the species that come our way.

But those that I capture in each camera frame, Excite me like Christmas! It’s all just the same.

I can’t wait for the dawn when the sun lights the sky, To photograph beast or bird as each passes by!

SCOTT’S ORIOLE is a special gift. It is a southwestern species that combines yellow with the oriole black, instead of the usual orange. It’s a medium-sized oriole with a black hood that extends onto its breast and back. Its belly and rump are a bright yellow.

We have seen this species in the scrublands of southeastern Arizona, and in the juniper/scrub oak forests of Arizona’s Madera Canyon. Yucca is a plant with which it is closely associated. Yucca is used as both a nesting site and also its fibers and leaves as nesting material. This insectivore is one of the first birds to start singing each morning before sunrise, as well as throughout theday in summer – a real songster that will even sing in the winter.

Scott's Oriole Resting on a stump my wife provided for that purpose

Resting on a stump my wife provided for that purpose

Contentment

by Dave Hanks


When the corn is in the silo
        And the hay is in the barn,
                It’s time to be expectin’
                        Any oft told old time yarn.
Of how the snow was a settin’
        So heavy on the ground,
                And the mystery in the air
                        Was siftin’ heavy, all around.
Of the fairies in the fireplace,
        Just a dancin’ nice and keen.
                In between the logs a blazin’
                        With a lustrous, shining sheen.
And out through the tree tops,
        Out there in the storm,
                Comes a rompin’ and a whisprin’ an’ 
                        So comfortin’ to be where it’s warm. 
But surprises are in the offing.
        Surprises are in store.
                Your heart will do a hand-stand
                        Over pleasant things galore. 
What are those things you ask me?
        What is the big surprise?
                I’ll tell if you’ll listen.
                        It’ll make you “oh” so wise.
Mostly, it’s in the spirit of the livin’.
        It’s the excitement when you roam.
                It’s the joy of your life-style,
                        It’s the happiness in the home!

Barred Owl: Contenment - Whatever the weather

Many Look – Few See

Behold the forest:  Shrub – flower – tree
	Many will look - But few will see

Pine – Aspen – Fir - Schematically intertwined
	Endless plant variety - It boggles the mind

But who knows this?  Who will understand?
	And take time to grasp - The great master plan

Recreate in the car - Pay park entrance fees
	Whizz on through - It’s nothing but trees

But there are animals about - Your eyes must be quick
	To see takes patience - It’s really no trick

But seeing the beasts - Is just the start
	The overall scheme - Is the very best part

You must look and look - This I firmly believe
	But how many times - Must we look to perceive?

To perceive what is there – And not just rely
	On the words of others - But see with our eye!

Developing appreciation  (Is this ode’s thrust)
	of EVERTHING in nature - That is a must!

And help us cope with those - Lord help us please!
	That can’t see the forest - Because of the trees

(Dave Hanks)


Look quick to see Black Bear cubs at the base of a pine.

Nighttime in the Woods

by Dave Hanks

 
        Daylight slowly releases its grip 
                And the dark becomes the master.
        The woodland visitor now escapes this alien realm 
                To seek the security of his bed,
        Whether sleeping bag, or a more protected recluse.
                But when the sun goes down
        The creatures of the night venture forth,
                Creeping so quietly and masked in darkness.
        Sleep locks the drama safely away,
                But insomnia can at times provide clues
        Clues that something is about;
                A scratching, a soft bang, or muted growl;  
        Can tempt one to leave that comforting warmth
               To sate newly aroused curiosity.
        A rich moment to be captured   
               As flashlight beam reveals pairs of glistening eyes!
        Fat, furry bodies or sleek ones with enormous tails,
               Respond with silent retreat only to reappear
        As campground attractions prove too irresistible.
               Normal fear is over shadowed by visceral necessity.
        I have lived these special moments.
               Though somewhat painful to leave one's bed,
        So carefully heated with body warmth and position snugly found,
               The effort well worth the reward.
        Moments treasured long after discomfort of rising
               Has been erased when once the deed is done.
        Experience with earth's wild creatures:
               A never ending source of excitement and wonder!

Nighttime in the Woods

Daylight slowly releases its grip 
          And the dark becomes the master.
The woodland visitor now escapes this alien realm 
	To seek the security of his bed,
Whether sleeping bag, or a more protected recluse.
	But when the sun goes down
The creatures of the night venture forth,
	Creeping so quietly and masked in darkness.
Sleep locks the drama safely away,
	But insomnia can at times provide clues
Clues that something is about;
	A scratching, a soft bang, or muted growl;  
Can tempt one to leave that comforting warmth
	To sate newly aroused curiosity.
A rich moment to be captured   
	As flashlight beam reveals pairs of glistening eyes!
Fat, furry bodies or sleek ones with enormous tails,
	Respond with silent retreat only to reappear
As campground attractions prove too irresistible.
	Normal fear is over shadowed by visceral necessity.
I have lived these special moments.
	Though somewhat painful to leave one's bed,
So carefully heated with body warmth and position snugly found,
	The effort well worth the reward.
Moments treasured long after discomfort of rising
	Has been erased when once the deed is done.
Experience with earth's wild creatures:
	A never ending source of excitement and wonder!  

Eyes in the Night