Sunday, March 11, 2007

Spring Update

No, it's not officially spring yet, but there are signs and portents. For example, the clocks just sprung forward. And the azaleas are in bloom. And everyone seems to have sinus trouble. No new birds have arrived yet, but on the morning of the 8th I heard a White-eyed Vireo singing (probably wintered locally, it's still a bit early for migrants), and that evening I saw my first bat of the year flying over the pond.

The male Rufous Hummingbird continues to visit our feeders, last seen on the 10th (photograph below).Michelle and I went to Winnie today for "Trade Days," the monthly flea market. One of the vendors there sells martin houses, and I bought a new one for the backyard. Took down the old aluminum martin house which had survived Hurricane Rita, but only ever sheltered broods of starlings (a.k.a. K-Martins) and House Sparrows (a.k.a. Burger Kinglets). In past years I've seen martins checking it out, but they either didn't like the accomodations or were unable to compete with the more aggressive introduced species. This spring I plan on being more proactive, meaning I'll evict any unwanted tenants.

A few Purple Martins return to Texas as early as late January, but the earliest I've seen them here is March 18th. Their new house is up and ready, and they could be back any day now.Thought I'd share a little Southeast Texas culture with you. As far as the cuisine goes, this pretty much sums it up. Funny...I don't recall ever seeing chicken rings before...


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