Texas Winter Week

Ask pretty much anyone who lives in Texas and they will tell you that generally speaking, we don’t get much of a winter here. That said, this week appears to be our week for Winter here in East Texas and today we had what will probably be our only significant snowfall. Whenever this happens, the feeders are a frenzy of activity as, I’m just guessing here, the birds start to think that the sky is falling and the world is coming to an end.

So, with my back door open and camera pointed to the back porch around the feeder (yes, my wife was yelling at me that she was freezing), I saw some interesting visitors that I thought I would share with you. It did seem that the large falling flakes of snow was playing havoc with my autofocus. Something that I was not counting on.

Here is a Dark-eyed Junco. They are a cute little bird to mostly feeds on the ground. My outside cats, Earl and Dakota, usually keep them on their toes but with the cold weather, I’ve been keeping them warm in the barn.

And this cute little thing is a Tufted Titmouse. They are regular visitors to the feeder and make a terrible racket if you are disturbing them.


After a bit of taking their pictures, I noticed that all of the birds just disappeared. I thought maybe I had made too much noise or something. Then I spotted this Red-shouldered Hawk in the tree near the back porch. Although mostly hidden, the snow was not helping with its usual method of camouflage. Apparently it was hungry too and was looking for an easy lunch. The little birds hid and it finally flew away. No more than 5 seconds later, the smaller birds began to reappear.


And what would winter bird pictures be without the colorful Mister and Misses of the bird kingdom, the Northern Cardinal. The white background really makes their red colors pop out of the frame.



Another regular visitor this time of year is the American Goldfinch. These little ones pass through each year as they come down south to get away from the cold. We are, of course, happy to have them visit.


But this little guy, this is the first time I’ve seen him around. If I’m reading my guide correctly, this is a Purple Finch. Apparently I am right on the eastern border of their winter range so when I saw two of them, I considered myself blessed.


That’s it for today. As the day is drawing to a close, the snow is already beginning to melt away. So, from the house on the snow-covered hill, until next time, enjoy God’s beautiful creation.


Backyard Morning

Today I took the day off work to attend a conference, but since it doesn’t start until noonish, I decided to take the chance to spend the morning in my backyard and discover what critters frequent the feeders in the AM.

I’ve noticed the squirrel a few times now.  He seems to live in the neighbor’s yard, but occasionally comes over to sneak some of the peanuts and such that I leave out for the blue jay.  Here, he is on the neighbors fence and seems to be cursing the dove that is standing watch on my fence, baring his way to my yard.  Truth is, when he comes over, the doves scatter, so they really aren’t much of a defence.

The blue jay showed up for a brief second.  I’m getting closer to getting a very good shot of him, but in this one, I just cut to tip of his tail off.  And yes, there are two peanuts in his mouth.  How long before he realizes that there is no threat to him here and takes him time.  Then I’ll be able to aim and shoot much better shots of him.  I look forward to that t day.

Next, the male cardinal showed up but spent most of the time up in the tree above the feeder.  I don’t know, maybe I have the only birds around here that just aren’t hungry in the morning.  In any case, I got a shot of the bird in its natural habitat: a tree.

And finally, seems that I can get all the shots of doves that I want, and then some.  They guys just hang around all the time.  They were even hanging around my yard long before I ever put up the feeders.  In any case, I realized that normally shoot them from the side, but when this one looked at me straight on, he seemed to be saying to me, “What are you looking at?”  To which I replied, “Snap!”

That was it for the morning shoot.  It was very windy and cloudy, so maybe that kept the birds away.  I’ll have to try again.

Shots taken with Canon 7D, EF600Lf/4IS