Friday, June 21, 2013

On the Road--Down South: Houston to Home (June 20, 2013)

I arrived home safely from Houston yesterday. It was a smooth flight despite flying over a long line of the big clouds I call "fluffy bumpies"--those puffy cumulus clouds that can momentarily make an aircraft suddenly feel like it's dropping from the sky. As planned, I woke up early and made the short drive from Houston Airport to Jesse Jones County Park to do a little birding before departure. It was hot and wet, but I did see a few noteworthy birds--a Pileated Woodpecker, a Prothonotary Warbler, a Carolina Wren, Summer Tanagers, Cardinals, and another warbler that I've yet to identify. I was able to record its song, so I'm hopeful of an identification with a little work.

Looking back at my list of new birds from the trip and comparing that with records at home I see that I added 24 new birds to my life list: Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, White-winged Dove, Purple Gallinule, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Carolina Chickadee, Prothonotary Warbler, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Little Blue Heron, Roseate Spoonbill, Laughing Gull, Black Vulture, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Anhinga, Wood Stork, Mississippi Kite, Swallow-tailed Kite, Royal Tern, Northern Parula, Painted Bunting, Fulvous Whistling Duck, Eastern Towhee (although probably seen before, it wasn't on my list), Field Sparrow, and Common Ground Dove. That brings my life list to 408.

The garden grew a lot while I was away. The new grape vines I'm training up the front of the house are about ten feet tall now. In the vegetable plots we have zucchini and other summer squash ready to eat. Tomatoes are on the way. Arugula, lettuce, spinach, and other greens are all doing well. Eda mame, green beans, various peppers, lemon cucumbers, and eggplant all look strong, although not a lot of eggplant have developed yet. I hope the honeybees are well. I'll need to have a look at them this morning. I enjoyed my trip, but it's nice to be back in a cool, dry climate, and to be in a place where I know I can get healthy, wholesome food.  

[The unidentified "warbler" turned out to be a White-eyed Vireo, identified by song.]

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