What Do You Hear?

The past couple of days we’ve seen waves and waves of sandhill cranes fly over. I got some pretty photos.

What’s really been fun in that they keep flying by after dark. We’ve been working on projects in the garage for the past two evenings, and it’s been a true joy to listen to their clacking sounds.

When the cranes stop, the owls take over. On a crisp evening like tonight, with all the stars out, it’s great to be in Central Texas.

Planning to Be Interesting

While I have little exciting to report today, I sure planned to be interesting later! I think that counts as good news.

I did a lot of work for my volunteer jobs. The best part was planning for next year’s Master Naturalist activities with our Vice President, Donna. She hates computers and I love them, so we are complementary.

The back of Donna as she talked about bluebirds

We even made a survey to ask the members what they want to learn about next year. The one person who has filled it out so far is me, but then it hasn’t gone out in email yet.

Carlton wants his fellow pound puppies to get to run around like he does.

Lee and I then went to Tractor Supply in scenic Hearne, where I not only got horse and chicken supplies, but also scoped out supplies for the dog run our family and business are going to build for the Cameron dog pound.

We even got an invitation to do a dog adoption day at the Tractor Supply store! Thus, I did work for ALL my volunteer jobs! Interesting!

The evening has started well, too. As I walked back from horse feeding at dusk, I heard the sandhill cranes above me. I guess they were heading to the big lake by the old Alcoa plant.

Imagine cranes here. They are too high to photograph.

Then I walked through the field as flocks of Savannah sparrows took off at my approach. Their wings were beautiful to hear.

Ahh, autumn.

A Grand Welcome Home

cranes
Sandhill cranes, just passing through. Loudly.

We returned to the ranch over the weekend, with zero seconds of downtime, but we jumped right into the swing of things and enjoyed visitors, both human and otherwise.

Flying Friends

The most glorious visitors were just passing through. Many flocks of sandhill cranes flew over. We also saw a few snow geese. I just love the sounds of the cranes!

blue_heron
One of my favorite neighbors.

While I was taking crane pictures, two blue herons squawked, so I got nice close photos of them. Of course, they are blurry iPhone pictures, but some day I’ll get a new battery and learn to use the good camera again!

There have also been a lot of visiting starlings, which we don’t usually have. One thing I’ve noticed about them is that they make lots and lots of noise when they are all lined up on the electric wires, but when they take off as a flock to rearrange themselves, they are totally silent. It’s really eerie when you are standing around in the field listening, and suddenly all you hear are the coyotes.

bluet
These are so delicate.

Most of the dragonflies are gone, but we did see a lovely bluet by the small meadow pond. These sure are pretty. They curve their bodies where you see the stripes.

turtle
Why won’t the turtle play with me? (You can sort of see it in the grass.)

More “Friends”

Because it’s rained so much (have I mentioned that? Lots of flooding while we were gone), animals seem to be wandering around. Yesterday, Carlton the dog found an extra large pond turtle in the middle of the pasture. He was most dismayed that it would not come out and play, so he stood there for 15 minutes and barked at it, poking it with his nose a lot. Treats had to be used to save that poor turtle from the torture.

water snake
This dirty part of the porch is where we harmless snakes like to hang out. I want to date this electric cord.

And later yesterday, I once again spotted a large snake on the front porch, in the icky dirty part, of course. I was pretty convinced it was a water mocassin, but the folks at iNaturalist talked me down, and asssured me it was a water snake trying to look like a poisonous one. I am pretty sure this is the same snake I’ve seen over by the pond. It hisses. We kept the dogs away, and it slowly meandered off.

Our house guest was not thrilled that we didn’t kill it. I repeated a number of times, “I don’t kill snakes.” I do understand many people aren’t good with them. My dad sure wasn’t! He’d kill them 3 or 4 times!

scorpion
It’s a scorpion, all right. Small.

In the early evening, we found our first scorpion at the ranch. It was pre-dead, so we didn’t have to do anything to it. We used to see lots more in our house in the karst area of Williamson County

Not Friends at All

We apparently have a visitor over to the chicken coop who is not our friend. It has killed at least 4 of the chickens (at least two roosters, who were probably trying to defend the flock). It gets them IN the chicken coop. Yet another reason for them not to lay eggs in there!

The Neighbor is sure it’s an owl. I think it might be a bobcat, since both hunt at night. A cat could get in there easily from the tree, then scale the fence to get out.

sheep
Leave us ALONE! We just want to eat grass. And escape from these non-sheepproof fences.

Something also went after the four new sheep the Neighbor brought in, and one of them lost a LOT of wool and some flesh, but seems OK. We are hoping the culprit is not the cabin occupant’s dog, who went after the sheep when he first saw them, so they don’t want to leave the pen to eat in the pasture.

Nice of all these creatures to wait until I got home to show up, isn’t it?

 

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