Breaking The Bird Fast (Sound!)

“Periodic fasting can help clear up the mind and strengthen the body and spirit.” ~ Ezra Taft Benson

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Slowly, surely, the winter residents are returning to our yard. Eastern Phoebe and Wood Ducks were the first to arrive, followed by Wilsons Warbler; all we need now are some Pine and Yellow-rumped Warblers to grace our birdbath with their unending cuteness.

Our summer yard is not exactly ho-hum as far as birding is concerned, but then summer is not the necessarily best time for birding along the Gulf Coast. Birding requires you to be outside, and outside is brutal.

At just about any time of day, mosquitoes will carry you away or bleed you of life essence one drop at a time. There’s the annoying kind that attack your ankles and knees in the pre-dawn hours, the different bigger kind that can bite through clothing during the day (ouch!), and the return of yet another little bite-y guy in the evening is just too much to take. Some will even follow you in and bite what skin is showing in your sleep. They’d make for great zombies in the apocalypse.

Needless to say, anything DEET or anti-itch becomes my standard perfume.

(Just don’t spray anything with DEET around your technology — it will destroy the plastics!)

Even native Houstonians like me aren’t exempt from the high 90’s temps and oppressive humidity. Sure, we’re well-adapted to being wet all the time, smelling like a dog’s butt on any given day. Three months straight of it though? It gets old. Thank goodness for short hair, body fresheners and cold sink baths or I might spend my days primping instead of living.

The hottest on record, Summer of 2016 had it all: heat and humidty and mosquitoes. The ceiling fan on the back porch and a cold glass of water helped temper the discomfort, but adding to it a heavy camera or field lens around the neck is too much to ask. The usual birding equipment took the back-seat to eyes, ears, and a smartphone with its convenient (if not lack-luster) on-board camera for quickies. Quality has gotten pretty good for pocket-computers these days, but it’s difficult to shoot tiny, moving targets way off in the trees successfully without the right equipment.

With June, July and August behind us, we broke our summer birding fast in the new autumn months, even though the heat/humidity and mosquitoes soldier on. Scott with the eyes and ears and I with the ‘big gun’, we’ve logged dozens of miles in just a few weeks. Sadly, only a few birds have been shot; it’s still too early for species in greater numbers.

But these few creatures are just what we needed to fill our hungry bellies souls. Birdies are my Pokemon: gotta catch ’em all!

Green Heron

Green Heron
Doesn’t care about me.
Brazos Bend State Park

Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfisher
Bonus: In-flight and chattering!
Baytown Nature Center

Wood Stork

Wood Stork (with White Ibis)
Backlit and bright, right place, right time. Bing!
Baytown Nature Center

(Tiny) Broad-banded Water Snake
Taken with the smartphone after emerging
from my sandal…with my foot still in it!!
El Franco Lee Park

Great Egret

Great Egret
Always Regal, Always Posing
Baytown Nature Center

Great-tailed Grackle

Great-tailed Grackle
Wary of the big lens down the rail
Baytown Nature Center

Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Juv)

Yellow-crowned Night Heron
Just caught him some breakfast!
Baytown Nature Center

Monk Parakeet (Feral)

Monk Parakeet
A lucky find on the streets of my city!

Wood Ducks

Wood Ducks
Fresh arrivals for winter, we see them in
our creek too (though they spook easily).
Sims Bayou

American Robin

American Robin
Harbinger of springier weather perhaps?
Bear Creek Park

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker
Love the big lens…look at that spear-like tongue!
Bear Creek Park

Photos are all straight from the camera — no post-processing.

Like the audio? Check out DirtNKids’ SoundCloud
for more tiny bits (bytes?) of nature.

6 thoughts on “Breaking The Bird Fast (Sound!)

  1. Oh wow.. these are so very cool! I love your camera! We get some birds for winter up here in East Texas but probably not as many as you do. I love seeing my song birds all winter like the Cardinals. Thanks for the share of pics! 🙂 ❤

    Like

    1. Hi Courtney. Thanks for the lovely words and for stopping by after the long stretch! Texas is a Mecca for birds and we share many regular species, like that gorgeous cardinal. I hope you had a great summer!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was a crazy busy summer and I have had a crazy busy fall so far. Hence the reason I haven’t been around as much. Life marches on! We had two cardinals build nest this summer. Love watching the babies grow up and fly! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

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