Tuesday, September 29, 2015

One Fine Day

In the middle of the torrid heat of a Texas summer, there was one fine day when the temperature stayed in the mid-70's.  So my husband and I drove to a small nearby lake tucked away in the woods. With binoculars and camera in hand, we took our time discovering and appreciating the details of the handiwork of the Divine Designer.  

The beauty of nature is scattered everywhere. We can't get away from it, and almost all of it is free. Its splendor resonates involuntarily in each human heart. 

The peaceful lake

Marshy area of the lake

Water Lilies

 Marsh Fleabane plants with 
luscious hues of bubble-gum pink flowers.

Pearl Crescent Butterfly on Marsh Fleabane

A type of semi-aquatic vivid yellow buttercup

Mississippi Kite quietly scanning his territory

Elegant Great Egret in the distance 

Snowy Egret patiently waiting for fish movement in the water

If you look carefully, you'll see a small bird, a Phoebe, perched 
on a Water Lily seed pod.

Reflections at the end of the day.....

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Last Blast..

The last blast of winter in North Texas.  We don't often have much snow, but when we do, it can turn the dead of winter into a wonderland.

Snow flakes swirl down gently, in the deep blue haze beyond the window.  The outside world is a dream.  
~Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration~

Our back yard during a recent snowfall.

Cardinals braving the cold....

Female Northern Cardinal

The daytime view of our backyard.

Handsome Harris Sparrows that showed up at our feeders because of the cold.  They are somewhat rare and usually not that visible.

Carolina Wren looking for nourishment.

Anyone with knowledge of birds will find this grouping of interest:
Fox Sparrow, White Crown Sparrow (immature), Cardinal and Harris Sparrow.

Another night view of our backyard.  It was taken in the wee hours of the morning.  I turned the porch lights on and this is what I saw.

The colorful and striking Fox Sparrow (red form).  He is also somewhat elusive unless the cold drives him to the feeders. 
I absolutely love the Divine Design on his breast.

Cardinal, White-crowned Sparrow, Harris sparrow.

Berries are a favorite source of food for a number of birds.

More winter visitors.  Most of our sparrows leave in the spring for their northern nesting areas; some flying to the Canadian Arctic.  

"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed to the sower and bread for the eater."
~Isaiah 55:10~

Capturing the silence and tranquility....
and the beauty of the Divine Designer. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

If it looks like a duck.....

The Divine Designer provides specific habitats with water, food, and shelter for wildlife. Animals, waterfowl, fish all have value to Him independent of their benefits to humanity.  It is intriguing to realize most events in nature take place beyond human awareness, enjoyed by and visible only to the Creator. 

Near our home, there is a lake which provides perfect habitat for ducks who visit us in the winter season.  There is nourishment, areas where they safely blend into the landscape for protection, room to come in for a landing and just hang out. We have enjoyed a good variety this year.  Many species of ducks are now pairing up for the mating season, getting ready to fly north to nesting areas.

Typical waterfowl habitat 
which is not only safe, but picturesque.

Elegant Canvasback Ducks

The Canvasback male has red-toned chestnut-colored head 
and female has pale, tan-colored head.

Peaceful winter setting for ducks.

This is one of my favorites, the diminutive Bufflehead, like a toy duck.  He is a diver and so quick he is difficult to photo.  Once the camera is focused on him, he's disappeared back under the water searching for food.

Male Bufflehead, with white "scarf" on round head, and female.

Two males trying to impress a female.  The male head coloration looks black, but it is actually iridescent green/purple.

From afar, the Gadwall is rather plain, 
but closeup he is striking in his own way.

Then there is the Mallard, the most familiar duck of the Northern Hemisphere.  The brilliant green on the male's head 
never fails to impress, especially when there are several together.

Paired off and ready for the mating season.

Often in small flocks, Ring-necked Ducks favor sheltered waters which is exactly what our little lake provides.

Most of us wonder why they are not called "ring-billed" because the brown neck ring is so hard to see.... 

The colorful Northern Shoveler swims around pushing it's spatula bill through the water to strain out food.

A mating pair of Northern Shovelers resting on the right, 
joined by Green-winged Teal.

Northern Shoveler, top and American Wigeon

Love is in the air, mating pair of American Wigeons.

Ruddy Duck, an odd little diving duck, common in many areas.  They have cute little stiff tails that are not always apparent.

Ruddy Ducks, somewhat sluggish, sit around on ponds, lakes and bays.  Ruddys have difficulty taking flight and fly with fast, buzzy wingbeats.

The ever beautiful Green-winged Teal with a mate.

I love the color reflection on the water 
of this male Green-winged Teal.  His coloration blends so well 
with his environment along the edges of the lake.

Soon our nearby lake will be surrounded by lush green
and the ducks will have all ventured north.