Monday, August 25, 2003

From Orange to Lumberton

I've been transferred from Orange to the new store in Lumberton, which is scheduled to open on Friday. This week I'm working long hours getting the store ready.

The good news is that this new Walgreens is only about 10 minutes from home, so my commute time and gas consumption will be greatly reduced. It's located across the street from the Lumberton Police Department, at an intersection that it shares with a gas station and Katfish Kitchen (an example of fine local dining and poor local spelling). There's also a Dairy Queen wouldn't be Texas if there wasn't a Dairy Queen somewhere.

The new store is closer to home, but I have mixed feelings about the transfer. I was happy working in Orange. It was a long commute, but Mr. Price was a fair boss and we had a good crew. Now I am again venturing into the unknown, and my working conditions are unlikely to improve. I'll probably end up working more hours and get fewer days off. At least it's a more convenient location and will save me several hours of driving per week.

Friday, August 22, 2003

New Herp, Etc.

I had the day off, and Troy came over. He mowed my grass. I think he likes riding the mower. After that we went to Circuit City and I got a new scanner. Now I can scan and post more of my photos.

Down by the pond I spotted a tiny frog leaping ahead of me in the grass. We cornered it, and Troy managed to catch it (not easy; this frog could really jump - like over a yard in a single hop!). I identified it as a Northern Cricket Frog, possibly of the subspecies paludicola.

Today the only bird of note was an adult Broad-winged Hawk that flew out of my front yard and perched in a tree across the road.

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Dragonflies & Raptors

Did some dragonfly watching this afternoon, and I was able to identify several species down at the pond. There were Blue Dashers, Eastern Pondhawks, Ashy Skimmers, Black Saddlebags, Red (or were they Carolina ?) Saddlebags, and best of all, a Halloween Pennant! The pennant had orange wings with black bars, very distinctive, very butterfly-like.

It's been months since I've seen a hawk in the neighborhood, but today I saw 2; an adult Broad-winged and an adult Red-shouldered. The Red-shouldered had a grayish head (unlike California birds) and contrasting russet breast (darker than in Florida birds). At dusk a Barred Owl flew into a pine in front of my house and perched briefly in my flashlight beam. The only other birds of note today were Red-headed Woodpecker and Summer Tanager.

Saturday, August 9...Another day in the Swamp

Where did all these dragonflies come from? While driving around Beaumont on Saturday I noticed them swarming along the roadsides. Down at the pond they were everywhere. The ones I could identify were Eastern Amberwings, Eastern Pondhawks, Black Saddlebags, and Red Saddlebags.

Bird activity, on the other hand, has noticeably slowed down during this hot dry spell. The Carolina Wrens still sing occasionally, but otherwise it's become rather quiet. Birds seen around the yard on Saturday included a juvenile White-eyed Vireo and a Northern Parula - the first parula I've seen here since a singing male visited my yard in March. I checked the bat house to see if it had any occupants, and sure enough, it did...but they were big cockroaches, not bats. Disappointed. A Gray Treefrog at my front door on Saturday was a new amphibian for me. Usually it's the smaller Green Treefrog that I find clinging to my doors and windows (or are they Squirrel Treefrogs? Some of these species are not easy for me to differentiate). I've also been been seeing lots of baby anoles and geckos lately.

One of my neighbors is a judge here in Hardin County, and people in the neighborhood just call him "The Judge." Well apparently our pond is overpopulated with turtles, which are eating too many fish, and so The Judge has judged that it's time to catch and relocate them to the nearby bayou. He uses a hook baited with bacon. A couple of times I've found him down at the pond in the evening with a bucket of turtles bound for the bayou. Most of the turtles I see at the pond are Red-eared Sliders or Cooters, but one of his catches was an odd little guy with a keeled carapace and a mean looking mouth. At first I misidentified it as a baby snapping turtle, but later I hit the books and realized it must have been some kind of mud or musk turtle.