Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Scissor-tailed was Watching and So Am I

Birders, as well as most Texans in general, are familiar with the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher.  These LONG-tailed beauties pose for us on telephone and power lines, and perch at eye-level on barb-wire fences. 

It is not a Scissor-tail’s perch that so amazes—but their acrobatic fly-catcher chase.  These Lovelies open those long scissor-tails while maneuvering 360 degree loops, giving chase to many an airborne insect.  Scissor-tails are the royalty of the Aves Family Tyrannidae:  Tyrant Flycatchers.

And so a recent day’s end at Galveston Island State Park found me sitting behind the driver’s seat of my rather large, white vehicle.  I was headed home when I noted a Red-tailed Hawk flying “heavy” toward the top of a power pole.  I pulled over and stopped, noting this hunter had his protein dinner in talons, seeking out the pole’s flat-wooden top to serve as his dining table.

The Red-tailed was too distant for a good photo, and I didn’t want to drive closer.  Birders know that buteos are chicken-littles, and I didn’t want to disturb a well-caught dinner.

So I sat in the car and enjoyed the view of fall-flowering fields.  I had that relaxed, peaceful feeling after a day of walking, birding and photography.

 Two Scissor-tailed Flycatchers were on a close-by wire.  One flew to ground, a bit of a surprise, especially as she flew toward me.  She didn’t feed but rather seemed curious about the large, white object that was my vehicle:

She came closer, looking hard at my white vehicle, as if I was some mega-mother of a flycatcher:

 It was amazing to get this ground view of her, with her orange-pink underwing coverts showing as colorful armpits:

Only when I made too much movement, with my arm and camera hanging out the window, did she depart.  Showing off her scissors as she acrobatically found higher ground.

And now it is I, doing the watching; to the weather, that is.  Monday looks like a stellar day to get my RV.  And what does Tuesday bring?  That “polar vortex” of a strong cold front; the one that will overtake much of the U.S.

And so I’m watching the weather forecast and will probably change where I head for my first RVing trip in almost a year and a half. I’ve camped in cold and heat, and love those heavenly days with a high of 70 degrees and a nighttime low of 50.  But when the lows are in the 30’s, I start looking for a different destination; especially with an RV that is unknown to me in terms of how well it handles cold temperatures.

But that’s OK.  A great thing about Texas, from September until end of May:  somewhere in the Lone Star State one can usually find great weather.  Not to mention birding.

I will post again soon.  But not until I’ve had a few days with my new condo-on-wheels.

Stay warm!

1 comment:

  1. Tell that Scissor tailed flycatcher that I would love to have him here (Santa FE!)


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