Bird Brain Chronicles, Bird pics and story

January 12 – Lots of Egrets

The #BirdBoxChallenge is a big deal these days. Based on the actions of characters in a Netflix movie, people are putting on blindfolds and trying to do normal, everyday tasks. You’d think there’s be limits, of course, because there are some things even the dumbest people won’t do. Like, who could imagine anyone being idiotic enough to drive a car blindfolded. Just won’t happen. Nope. Not here. Not in America….well, maybe. PT Barnum was right: no one ever went broke because they underestimated the intelligence of the American people! Anyway, I bring that up because I want to offer a variation of the Bird Box Challenge. I’m calling it the Bird Brain Challenge. Instead of blindfolding yourself to the fears of our surroundings, open your eyes and notice God’s handiwork in our world today. Look at the beauty and variety we see in people, in plants, in animals, and especially birds. Enjoy this beautiful world that God has made!

As to the pictures today – lots of egrets. There’s a reason. I’m actually going to link a picture back to my facebook photo album so you can see the whole sequence of an amazing egret battle! But, first things first. We were at the South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center today. Lucy walked with me. We didn’t see the variety of birds we usually see, but we saw that amazing egret battle. The first bird we saw, though, was an Inca dove with it’s distinctive pattern on the wings. They used to visit our backyard when we fed the birds, but this is the first one I’ve seen this year.


Then, we saw some birds that were too far off to get good pics. After that, we came to a lake where there were numerous water birds. Most of them were too far off to see too much, but there were some egrets close by. They were photobombed by a darker bird that made me wonder if juvenile egrets are hatched with dark feathers. I late discovered what kind of bird it was, but I’ll save that reveal for later. What we did see was a growing tension among the egrets that led to a great battle between two males, I believe. Finally, one prevailed and chased the other one off, but thee was a bit of a twist in the ending. If you click on the picture of the egrets fighting, you can see the beginning of the fight all the way through. The captions explain the twist.


The darker bird was a juvenile white-faced ibis, if I got the identification right. He kept right on eating through the fight without a care in the world. Front row seats to the premier boxing match of the spring and he kept staring down at his dinner. I would have caught the identification when I looked at the pics later, but a different angle confirmed that it was an ibis.




As we continued on our walk, we saw some beautiful flowers and even a lizard. The last picture of the day was the butterfly below.




















It was a great day to be out in God’s world today. It was good to see families and friends walking the trail at the Botanical Gardens. It’s a beautiful place to go. Get yourself a yeary membership and you can go there often and see the beauty of God’s creation in the different stages of the year.

Bird Brain Chronicles, Bird pics and story

January 10 – About Bird Brain Chronicles…and Today’s Pics

So you may have noticed the #BirdBrainChronicles hashtag and the category for Bird Brain Chronicles. “What’s happening?” you ask. This is still the Bob James Author page and I’ll be sharing authory stuff with you when I have it to share. I just wanted a chance to share my hobby/passion for bird photography with people. And, to be honest, I’m looking at ways I can expand this in the future, but this will help me get my feet wet. If you have any questions about photography, the places I choose, or suggestions or ideas, etc. please feel free to note them in the comments. Also, feel free to share links with anyone who might be interested.

Today, I took the advice of a friend I used to teach with when looking for a spot. Only, I remembered part of where she said, not the whole thing, and ended up on the wrong side of the road. I didn’t see any birds I could snap, so after I checked her directions, I started heading back to the right end. Only, due to a military airfield, it wasn’t a straight shot. So, I tried to cut over on a different road. I did see this egret and the cormorant, although the egret was camera shy and flew away as I tried to take her picture.








When I got to the suggested road, I could see how it would have lots of places for birds to hide, but today the places were too good and I couldn’t see any birds worth shooting. (With a camera of course!) So, quite disappointed, I turned towards home. While on the homeward path, I came across this flock of sandhill cranes. There were about a hundred of them in the field. At first I thought they were sheep, then I realized they were the cranes. I took lots of shots, but I’m going to give you a more panoramic view of them rather than pictures of the individual birds. This is what I first saw, but the pics don’t do justice to the birds.



Then, just as I got to the bridge, I spied this osprey. He was so far away I thought he was on top of his kill. When I looked at his pic, I realized that he was on an old tire. While I’m happy that made it possible to see him, I continue to be appalled at the blatant disregard for our world. I look at the beauty of God’s creation in the birds and in the land and the plants. Then, that joy is jarred when I see the litter people leave thoughtlessly: not caring about God’s creatures, the land, or other people who seek to enjoy the land. I’m typing this while out of town right now, but I’m planning to bring along a small sack to pick up trash along the way in the future. I can’t clean the whole area, but I can clean my part.

And that fits in with the Bird Brain concept. While it’s been an insult in the past, science has shown that birds are great problem solvers. While my actions aren’t a permanent solution, they’re a start. God created a beautiful world for us, and we’re called to be his stewards.