“A wise old owl lived in an oak;
The more he saw the less he spoke;
The less he spoke the more he heard...
Why can't we all be like that bird?”
― Edward Hersey Richards




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A Lifer Found!!!


This time of year, I really miss my father! Not that this is the only reason I think of him so often, but he had the farmer's knack of growing things! His garden consisted of everything under the sun. Including growing pineapples in Colorado!!  Strawberries at the supermarket are now coming down in price....the season is not quite at its peak yet, but they're irresistible. Thing is, they're not the 'farmer's market' quality! Sure they're huge.  When I pull one out of the container to clean for snacking on them, I can't help but think "What am I putting into my mouth"? Are they GMO? -growth enhanced with crop steroids?-  I have to admit, tho drier and much more bland, they're still good. I wish my father were here...





Farmer Evans was driving his John Deere tractor along the road with a trailer load of fertilizer. Tim a little boy of eight was playing in his yard when he saw the farmer and asked: 'What've you got in your trailer?' 'Manure,' Farmer Evans replied. 'What are you going to do with it?' asked Tim. 'Put it on my strawberries,' answered the farmer. Tim replied, 'You ought to come and eat with us, we put ice-cream on our strawberries.'


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I've been here many many times, and viewed this mural each time without thinking or associating it with 'fences'.  The light bulb went on extra bright one day as I parked the car to check out this particular birding area.  "Duh!!  This is a fence for Ms. T's Good Fences, AND it has a couple of her famous Black Bellied Whistling Ducks as part of the birding mural!  My goodness, Anni, it took you long enough to realize that....you're truly blond!!"




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As I left early one morning, just before sunrise from home, by the time I reached the freeway heading to the islands,  Tho, it's not 'countryside quiet' -it's busy with city landscaping and morning traffic, it was still breathtaking. The colors were magnificent; the photos really don't do it justice...





By the time I reached the island highway, the sun was warming up the air, and the breeze was practically nil. It was going to be a hot day!!



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In a previous post, I mentioned Bud and I taking a Sunday drive through the morning fog in search of an Upland Sandpiper. Which we didn't find on that day. To let you in on a bit of trivia, this bird has been VERY elusive!!! I've searched highways and byways for it so I could get a photo. It's been over 2 1/2 years of traveling around South Texas....county roads, parks, ranches, out of town areas, fields, ...even a golf course near the clubhouse, where they were reported seen....two and one half years of no spotting them. Until Thursday of this past week!!! We were at a local park just outside of town, getting close to a rural community. Bud, with his binoculars to his eyes, called me to him: "Anni!! Come here!!"  "Just by the soccer goal net, to your right....look!!" I did, and knew right away this was a lifer!!!!! Four Upland Sandpipers foraging in the grassy field. I took some photos. Then....eleven Sandpipers!! Within a few more minutes Bud counted 15 of them.  I have better photos yet to be saved off the camera card..

I took these two of the scissortailed flycatcher as I was trying to focus on the sandpipers that were so far away by now...



But, alas, when I returned home the photos of the sandpipers were all quite blurry. as you can see by the photo from the first outing I share here. I guess I was too excited to be taking photos. I was heartsick.  I returned to the area Bud found 'em. Three remained. I will share some of the GOOD photos at my bird photo blog, with a link above.


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Speaking of parks, the mountain laurel found throughout many of the city parks here are nearly finished with the blooming season.  I'll share some photos of the blossoms & bushes....



97 comments :

  1. My dad always planted a garden even when it was just him. He supplied his neighbors with fresh produce as well as my brother and I. He grew things he didn't even like simply because he could grow them so well and everyone else liked them.
    That strawberry you're holding is huge

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    1. Yes, it was huge....a real mouth full of goodness...well, the best I could expect from hot house strawberries.

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  2. As expected,your pictures are lovely.

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  3. I smiled at the mural and the lightbulb that went on over your head! So glad you were able to return and get pictures of your latest lifer, Anni. :-)

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    1. Isnt' that something? I've seen it hundreds of times and never once figured it would be a good fence. lol

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  4. I share the feeling of expecting clear pictures of something special and being disappointed with blurry results. Your Upland Sandpipers is a very good shot after all! It definitely shows what it looks like. The Mountain Laurel flowers resemble a bouquet of violets!

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    1. It was so frustrating. Good thing the area wasn't that far of a drive so I could return to re-find them.

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  5. Anni what absolutely gorgeous photos. The sunrise is breathtaking.
    I've never seen a Scissortail...now that is a long tail!!
    We had our first tomatoes yesterday. We didn't grow them but they were locally grown in a hot house I suspect. They were actually very tasty
    Hugs cecilia

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    1. Those scissortails are just about everywhere right now.

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  6. It seems our dads are on our minds this weekend! I always enjoy visiting you and today I find a kindred spirit! Wishing you well and, OH, your sunsets are grand!

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    1. Thanks Cathy....fathers/daughters...there is a special relationship between 'em.

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  7. Love your story and your photos ... especially the scissor-tailed flycatcher. I have seen some in a ranch near us and wish they would be in our yard. They are beautiful. Love your early morning pictures of the sunrise too.
    Blessings,
    Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures

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    1. Audrey....I've been wondering about you...hope you're doing well! You've been missed.
      Thanks!!

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  8. Enjoyed this thank you for sharing

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  9. A gorgeous photo of the scissortail! What long feathers!

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    1. Indeed...VERY long...and when they come in to land, the tail feathers spread open...looking quite like scissors!

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  10. This week-end was the Strawberry Festival in Poteet. Texas. Small town came to life with bumper to bumper traffic.

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    1. I bet that was fun to attend!!

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  11. My Dad was a farmer, and also had a wonderful garden. His strawberries were much more flavorful than the ones I buy now.
    I love the mural behind the fence.
    Those birds are awesome!

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    1. Nothing can compare to anything home grown in a garden! Thanks Mari.

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  12. love the fence and whistlers and flowers are gorgeous. ha ha on that manure.. we have been eating FL strawberries for several weeks and local picked, delish. without reading i bought them this week and got home and they were from CA.. big like this one in your pic, but no where near as good as ours because they are picked ripe here and don't have to be shipped. also they are huge but hollow on the inside. makes me wonder just what they did to them... my dad grew all of our food. they bought staples like flour and sugar, the rest he grew

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    1. Ours come from either CA or Old Mexico right now.

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  13. A very interesting post. Lovely birds shots. I cannot imagine a strawberry that huge. I too would wonder what I was eating. Strawberries are a favourite berry of mine. I buy about 2 pounds every week and a half or so. They are mostly for my smoothies though I eat some as it ;-) Have a great week ahead. xx

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    1. I love 'em. Fresh!! Not those frozen ones with all the sugar added.

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  14. I was happy to see the flycatchers. Sometimes I get home and realize I had the wrong setting on the camera!

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    1. Oh I've done that too with my camera.

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  15. What gorgeous sky shots!

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  16. I enjoyed the strawberry story Anni. We don't have any just yet, only imported Spanish ones which are OK but thet've travelled a long way.

    Your Scissor-tailed pictures are wonderful. What a special bird to see.

    Amazingly enough I've seen an Upland Sandpiper in the UK. Many years ago on the Isles of Scilly in SW England, blown there across the Atlantic one October time after storms. Thanks for the memory.

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    1. How neat to see an Upland Sandpiper....and I bet you didn't have to chase after it to find it....it came to YOU!

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  17. Beautiful post and photos

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    1. Thank you....glad you enjoyed it today.

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  18. Love the flycatcher shots! What a gorgeous bird!

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  19. Wow that scissor tailed flycatcher looks amazing. Can I come and stay for a bit :)

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    1. Consider yourself invited...there's nothing like Texas birds...and Texas hospitality!!

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  20. Wonderful photos... My Dad hasn't been gone even a month and how I miss him...

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    1. It's difficult to be left behind!! Thanks ... I'm glad you enjoyed the photos this week.

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  21. That gigant strawberry looks really delicious.

    And the images of the scissortailed flycatcher against the net are really great. The narrow legs and feet against the ropes in the net make great contrast..

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    1. It's nice to know you enjoyed your visit...thanks!

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  22. HI Anni Your Scissor-tailed pictures are wonderful. What a very special bird to see and one that I have never seen.

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    1. Oh Margaret, come to Texas sometime for your pleasure birding...in March and April...they're everywhere!!

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  23. Hello!
    I've never seen Sandpipers or Scisor-Tailed Flycatchers - both would be exciting to me! Have a wonderful day!
    Lea

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    1. I remember the first time I saw a scissortailed...exciting indeed. But the Sandpiper this time made me thrilled!!! I now miss the hunt...finding a bird that you've been searching for for so long is good, but a 'let down' at the same time. Now what do I look for? Y'know?

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  24. Great post! I too think of my Dad when it comes time to plant things. Dad had a vegetable garden every year that he was able, and I inherited his gene of "needing to" plant in the spring. I've missed that here in Tucson...looking forward to a good vegetable garden and more flowers in Oregon! I too worry myself to death about GMOs, and am anxious to find some good farmers to buy from. It can't be a perfect fix, but I can try. Beautiful photos...loved the blue flowers!

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    1. That makes Four of Us....our fathers and their gardens = with others' comments.

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  25. Incredible!!! Scissor-tailed Flycatchers are one of my favorites. Another favorite? The Upland Sandpipers! I've seen both only once. I'd love to see them again. Love your photos of the Mountain Laurel. They smell so good!

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    1. I tellya what...I'll visit with you to go birding in my previous hometown with your Wrenagades, and you can come visit with me in South Texas...we could go on a search for the scissortailed...[the uplands are beginning to 'thin' out and head north tho 'bout now]

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  26. Hello Anni, pretty sky shots. I lvoe the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher.

    Happy Thursday, enjoy your day and weekend ahead!

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  27. Loved the strawberry story. lol I put ice cream on mine, too. I miss my mom this time of year. She had a green thumb where mine is black. Today would have been her 96th birthday. Love the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and the mural behind the fence. Have a great day!

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    1. It's so good to see you!!! Been a long time!!
      Hope all is coming around for you much better now...and stay in touch.

      Thanks for visiting and saying hello!!!

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  28. Wonderful photos, full of atmosphere.
    Thanks for saying hi on my blog http://areyouhere-areyouthere.blogspot.de/

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  29. awww! a sweet mural it is behind that fence! love the scissor-tail portraits! gorgeous!

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    1. Thank you kindly Ms. T!!! Oh yes, you and me both love the scissortails!!

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  30. How exciting to see the Sandpipers and get good photos! And I agree with all of the comments...the flycatcher is a neat bird to spot! Enjoy your week! Hugs!

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    1. PS I love that mural too!

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    2. ps...I can't believe I've not ever before this week taken a photo of that mural. 100 times or more prior to the light bulb going off. lol

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  31. So many great things here today.
    First that was one huge strawberry. We have a local berry farm here in our area that I wait patiently for every summer to enjoy their delicious berries. I rarely buy them in stores as they just don't taste the same.
    That mural by the fence was wonderful. I'm so glad that light bulb went off and you photographed it.
    Congrats on seeing the Sandpipers even though you didn't get the pictures you were hoping for. Those Flycatchers are certainly a pretty bird with an impressive tail. Gorgeous sky & Very pretty flowers. A really enjoyable post.

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  32. my grandpa and grandma always had the best gardens....it's scary not to know what we are eating these days...great photos, love the flowers and birds! thank you for linking to willy nilly (it will be ready at midnight tonight!) and have a great weekend :)

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    1. Thanks Tanya. I'll be back to your blog tomorrow to add my link.

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  33. I like the scissortailed flycatchers quite a bit, Anni. Congrats on the upland sandpipers!

    P.S. Tim is right.
    ~

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    1. Thanks....

      By the way, who's Tim?

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    2. "Tim a little boy of eight was playing in his yard when he saw the farmer and asked: 'What've you got in your trailer?'"
      ~

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  34. lots of eye candy here

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    1. Candy? Hope it's sugar free! *wink

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  35. Such beautiful photos. I did smile about the strawberry joke, we tend to have cream on ours...

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    1. Strawberries and cream....*nodding in agreement

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  36. I understand how and why you miss your father, there are just times more than others when they are needed/wanted more. Sending love.

    I too think about what we are putting in our mouths and then have to stop as I might not eat anything anymore if we listen to all the contradictory advice out there. Love the strawberry joke too x

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    1. Exactly...it's like one day eggs are BAD then....eggs are good. Butter is bad, use margarine. Now, it's don't eat the margarine, stick with butter [no pun intended]

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  37. Replies
    1. Your profile is private. I can't access it. So, I'll thank you for your visit and kind words.

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  38. Oh the strawberry! We are about three months from strawberries. I can't ever get enough of the tiny wild berries that are incredibly sweet so I grow a patch of larger berries in the garden. Strawberry pie - can't wait!

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    1. Oh yes....the fresh picked from the garden are SO MUCH better than store bought.

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  39. Huge congrats on the lifer and I'll go look at it at the D'Pot again. What a fun-filled happy post. I bet Tex loved that fence (I do too). I still use the 'former blonde' excuse pretty often myself. Strawberries are pretty good here in Florida (but earlier -- they started in February; peaked in late March). But not as good as the first ones in Oregon in June back in the day when we used to go and pick them (I think that was the secret).

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    1. In a couple of weeks, I think, Texas strawberries will have their peak season. Can't wait.

      Aha...that makes TWO former blonds then, huh? lol

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  40. I don't think I have ever seen a strawberry quite as large as the one in your photo! Have a lovely weekend.

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    1. It was huge, but nearly tasteless. Yet, still, it was a strawberry. Can't go wrong with ANY strawberry.

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  41. A wonderful post Anni. I miss my mom, my dad and my sister. My brother-in-law was visiting and we had such a great time talking about our family. We always looked forward to when the strawberries were in season and ate them in a bowl with cream poured over them. I was told on my last visit to England by good friends that the strawberries in the shops were for such a short time, as all of them were sent to Wimbledon after that. Not sure where my friends got their facts but thought it very interesting. Great post, great photos and thank you for once again sharing those gorgeous flowers with Today's Flowers. Happy weekend :)

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  42. I've wondered about those giant strawberries, too. Something funny going on to consistently make strawberries so huge!

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  43. The tail of a scissortailed flycatcher is really long.
    Amazing.

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  44. I wish I had your father's green thumb. As you probably learned from family, it's back to winter in CO. I always like visiting and seeing the birds and blooms at your locale.

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  45. Beautiful mural! It's perfect for Good Fences.

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  46. Such fun. I love the bird with the long tail. and I've never seen a photo of mountain laurel. Beautiful. Would love some of those giant luscious-looking strawberries, too.

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    1. Thanks Patsy...
      Sometimes, size doesn't matter. LOL....the smaller, homegrown ones taste so much better. [strawberries that is]

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  47. A fabulous variety of thoughts and pictures....I miss my dad and would love to have had him gardening with me. The mountain laurels are stunning...we don't get these around here.

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