Monday, January 21, 2013

Winter thoughts

Last Saturday, a Blanco friend emailed me and shared her thoughts and observations. I think she writes so wonderfully that I asked if I could share her letter here. She said yes and asked that I only use her initials, KCM....

A hungry American snout that dropped by the hummingbird feeder last December 24. So I dropped some sugar water on top of the feeder, and it drank and drank.

"Hi Sheryl, I finally took the opportunity to go through one of your blogs. Windows on a Texas Wildscape is wonderful and is a very close approximation of the daily manna of our household. Birds, trees, wildflowers, mammals, bugs, spiders, turtles, frogs, butterflies--we observe and report to each other the daily latest and greatest. For me, nature provides the simplest sources of joy--all you have to do is pay attention.
"Yesterday brought the conversation of three owls, calling back and forth, just before dusk. They are a family of great horned owls. This season we began to hear them in December. One would call who ha whoo whoo whoo, another would answer, and the third do its best, but not a complete call and never full-voiced at that time. Now they often talk over each other. We've caught sight of all three in a tall tree in front of the house. It is magic.

"I appreciated your picture of the spider. In summer, the orbweavers are my favorites, though we haven't seen any for the last two summers. But they will come again. For years, I've singled out one to be our Carlotta (in homage to Charlotte's Web). I watch it through the summer until it lays its eggs in a little egg sac which I watch through winter in hopes of seeing birth in the new year. Hasn't happened yet, but someday I'll see it happen.

"Do you know of a Blanco-centric blog or site where we could report bird sightings? Sharing that information and seeing if others could confirm it through their own sightings would be fun and useful. Our most recent observations were a ruby-crowned kinglet and a red-breasted nuthatch. I know little about birds, but like you, I spend hours at my computer in front of a window with an old live oak and young deciduous holly livening up the view about 12 feet away. Binoculars and Sibley's (bird book) sit at the ready.  This time of year, the berries on the holly are attracting cedar waxwings, robins, cardinals, and the two previously mentioned species, which are new to me.

"Oops, I could go on. Your winter pictures were delightful. We so often think there's nothing to see this time of year, but to ignore winter happenings is to ignore the silence and sleep and death that winter brings. On the one hand, the end of a cycle, and on the other the peace and rest of nature before all of spring's budding and buzzing and greening up begins. God's touch.

"Thank you for posting your observations. I'll tune in every now and then to see what's up in your neck of the woods."

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