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Saturday, January 30, 2010

I headed to Global Pond in the afternoon after the torrential rains in the morning finally ceased. There was a sharp whistle overhead and I looked up just in time to see an Osprey flying by. This fish-eating bird of prey was clutching an unlucky mullet in its sharp talons enroute to consume his prize on a perch somewhere closeby.

"Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who is the Fairest of Them All?"

These 'Snow White' wannabes did not have magic mirrors that could answer them but you would have thought so by the way they were parading about the pond showing off their raised crests. These female Hooded Mergansers were a pretty sight but nowhere near their stunning male counterpart which was not present.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Lighthouse + Peveto Sanctuary

I began my day's venture here. The eighty foot Sabine Pass Lighthouse stands tall in the low lying marsh off the Gulf coast in extreme Southwest Louisiana. As the sun peeked its head above the horizon, I wondered what the Lighthouse looked like at night years ago with her brilliant beam piercing the night sky for all the sailors passing by to see. I thought of the Second Battle of the Sabine River fought practically in her shadow and the natural disasters she encountered in her 153 years of existence. It was a great way to start the day in the presence of such history.

On the way home I stopped at Peveto Sanctuary and surprised this small, nervous bird hopping about in the bushes, vines and trees. He spotted me and immediately displayed his scarlet red ruby crown then went merrily on his way hopping about the woodlot gathering food while at times hanging upside down on branches. I've seen them on many occasions but never with their bright red ruby crest raised.

Here he is again with his usual wing-flapping ways. If you look closely you can barely see the ruby red crest on top of his head.

A Belted Kingfisher hovered in mid-air then plunged head first into the water in the pond west of Peveto. He clutched his prize with his large, thick beak and flew to a snag at the water's edge. Each time the mullett moved the Kingfisher slapped him hard against the wooden snag. It was a loud, distinctive slap easily heard. I observed this behavior for several minutes and moved on wondering how this bird would down this large fish.

Brown Pelican

How could I forget this picture of our majestic state bird hanging out with his buddies?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mother Nature's Serene Smile ...

I sat transfixed and in awe of Mother Nature as she painted the sky with her fiery colors and the calm water with a glowing reflection as the Great Blue Heron waded the shallows in the waning hours. This inspirational sunset unfolded in a short period of time changing minute by minute like a giant revolving kaleidoscope. With no one around, Mother Nature's serene smile at the close of the day provided a feeling of quietude and peacefulness.

This picture is not the same as being there but I hope it gives you an insight to the actual setting and feeling.

If Trees Could Talk ...

I'm happy to bring you a new picture of my favorite tree. You can see its close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico with the water and breaker rocks in the background.

Mother Nature, our master sculptor, continues her artistic work molding and shaping my favorite tree as the continued exposure to the south wind kills the branches on the windward side giving it a flag-like appearance. What did this tree look like ten years ago? What will this tree look like ten years or even twenty years from now? Only time will tell ...

In addition to the day-to-day challenges of these trees, Hurricane Rita, the most intense Category 5 Hurricane in the history of the Gulf of Mexico with its storm surge approaching twenty feet and 180 mph winds, leveled a small coastal town to the east of these trees in September 2005. She shattererd another small community a few miles to the west of these trees as well.

In spite of one of Mother Nature's greatest natural disasters, these trees survived and stand proud today serving as an inspiration to be strong in the face of adversity, to weather the storm and surely better days will follow.

Wouldn't it be nice if these trees could talk and tell their tales? What would they say?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Surprise Visit

We had some surprise visitors in our back yard this morning. Two gorgeous Eastern Bluebirds checked out the Peterson Bluebird Box that I built three weeks ago. This male with its iridescent, electric blue plumage hovered outside the box, lit by the entrance hole and disappeared inside to check out the accomodations. Hopefully the nest box will meet their approval resulting in a nice little Bluebird family.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sabine Pass Lighthouse

Does this Lighthouse remind you of a rocket preparing for lift off? :)

It was humbling to witness and photograph this impressive landmark which went into operation in 1857. The Lighthouse remained lit for 95 years except for a brief period of time during the Civil War.

The most one-sided Confederate Victory of the Civil War, the Second Battle of Sabine Pass, was fought in full view of this Lighthouse on the Sabine River on September 8, 1863. Lt. Dowling with his 46 Confederate soldiers defeated a flotilla of four gunboats and eighteen troop transports carrying 5,000 Federal Infantrymen entering the Sabine River in less than an hour with accurate cannon fire and without the loss of a single Confederate soldier.

The Lighthouse's most recent challenge was its face-to-face encounter with mighty Hurricane Rita in September, 2005. In spite of Rita's rage, fury and mass destruction this sentinel of the past remained standing. For 153 years this Lighthouse has stood the test of time passing all challenges by Mother Nature.

It was a pleasure to witness this survivor rich in history first hand.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Some Northern Harriers were gliding low over the fields out of camera range. I parked my truck, walked down the road and waited near some dense foilage. After a while a Northern Harrier cruised over in camera range. He spotted me, as seen in the picture and took off. That is a neat looking raptor.
Not a bird but ... after the power company cleared the limbs away from the power lines on this Live Oak Tree my wife asked our grand daughter, "What does this tree remind you of?" as we drove down the road. Adi replied, "It looks just like a camel!" Our grandsons replied, "A dinosaur!" What do you think?

Friday, January 1, 2010

I almost forgot about a few American Goldfinches practically in our back yard earlier this week.