Checking on trees is a year round task. We recently went down into lower 30s requiring some plants to come indoors. Now we are back in the 50s and having a blessed rain. The trees are loving it.
I have a new tree in the collection that will require some research and re-potting soon. Austrian Black pine joins the family.
2018 was a great birding year for me. I traveled to some fun places and had the opportunity to find/see birds not found in Texas. Year end total count was 214 species. Although it may be slightly higher as I wasn’t always diligent in my recording keeping – something I’ll address for 2019.
Here are some of my favorite bird pictures: Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-bellied Whistling Duck
Birds of prey make their living in different ways; Kestrels are fond of mice, Peregrines are fond of pigeons, Brown Falcons are fond of snakes. Hunting technique are appropriate to the creatures hunted.
Harriers go about their business fairly low over open country with wings upswept. In Australia we have a couple of members of the guild, Swamp Harrier and Spotted Harrier. One prefers wetter habitats the other drier habitats.
The dry plains around my home seem ideal for Spotted Harrier but for all that they are only occasional visitors. I was looking for quail when I encountered this one, so was he probably.
When looking for mice in the grass slow flight is an advantage. Kestrels and Black-shouldered Kites can hover. They are both smaller birds, there is only so much energy in a mouse and hovering is expensive. The equation works for the small birds but…
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Watch as this Great blue heron spots a rainbow trout, grabs it and then takes a short walk before swallowing it. Put up your volume to hear the heron vocalize after swallowing the trout. Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, near Taos, NM, 12-14-18.