Posts Tagged ‘cedar hill state park’

             “Color is a power which directly influences the soul.” – Wassily Kandinsky

Painted bunting — Wikimedia photo

The Bunting Came with a Bonus

Back in my early birding days, I spent some time at Texas’ Cedar Hill State Park near Dallas in search of a painted

Female painted bunting. — Wikimedia photo

bunting. It took three days of breaking spider webs on trails in the early mornings, and one day of slogging through the mud after a night of rain, but I eventually found one of these clownish-colored birds.

When in the open, you can’t miss the adult male.  He has a bright blue head, a scarlet breast, a green back, and a red rump. The female and first-year males are more subdued, dressed in shades of green, with the breast leaning toward yellow on the color wheel. These birds, however, feel more comfortable when ensconced in thick foliage, thus my difficulty in finding one.

The colorful bird I finally found on my fourth day of looking was an easily identifiable adult male perched in a tree near a small pond.  The painted bunting became bird species No. 383 on my life list (which now numbers 710). The painted bunting is nicknamed nonpareil (without equal) in French and mariposa pintado (painted butterfly) in Spanish because of its spectacular appearance.

Appropriately, a group of painted buntings is called a mural or a palette.

Green heron — Wikimedia photo

Sad to say, the bird’s beauty made it a popular caged bird until its capture and captivity became illegal in the United States. It is still, however, a hot item with the international pet trade, and the birds are particularly popular as pets in Asia and Europe, which may be one of the reasons its numbers are dwindling.

Meanwhile, as I was enjoying my front-row view of the Cedar Hill painted bunting years ago, it was suddenly displaced on the limb by another bird. I would have been upset, except this bird was a green heron – bird species No. 384.

Some days, life is really good.

Bean Pat: Traveling with dogs. https://jamieandthedogs.wordpress.com/2019/06/05/yep-just-me-and-four-dogs-heading-east/  This reminds me of my years on the road in my small RV, only I just had one dog.

*Available on Amazon, Travels with Maggie features a list of birds saw each leg of the journey.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, enthusiastic birder and is always searching for life’s silver lining. She can be reached at patbean@msn.com

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 “The hacker mindset doesn’t actually see what happens on the other side, to the victim.” — Kevin Mitnick

Travels With Maggie

Hackers are drowning us with viruses just as surely as Mother Nature does with her weather extremities, as shown here at Cedar Hill State Park in Texas. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The picture that accompanies this blog was taken several years ago at Cedar Hill State Park in Texas, when the area had an excess of water. Today the same area is in a drought.

Meanwhile, Northern Utah and Southern Idaho, which is my stomping grounds for the summer, is having an excess of water.

Given the extremities of Mother Nature, it’s a problem of inequity that’s never going to be solved.

I’m beginning to think it’s the same for my computer woes, which is actually what got me focused on this particular photo this morning. I feel like I’m drowning.

It seems my brand new computer may be suffering from a malicious virus targeting Windows 7. So far, counting travel and tech support costs, I’m out nearly $300 in an attempt to get it fixed – and it will be more when I have to drive 320-miles round trip to pick it up again.

As I’m the only campground host volunteer at Lake Walcott State Park, I need to get back there for the weekend crowd. And my computer, the geeks told me, won’t be ready by then.

Budget cuts, layoffs and business failures abound these days. It’s a time when everyone in this country should be pulling together to find solutions.

I do not understand why some of the brightest minds, those among us who might even be able to improve the economy, are so intent on making it worse. How, I ask myself, can we stop this maliciousness?

I truly wish I had an answer.

In the meantime, I hope every hacker making this country’s economy woes worse is caught and prosecuted to the fullest degree possible. We need to let them know their pranks are criminal acts that are costing people their jobs and business to fail.

And my blood pressure to rise.

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One crow in the road at Texas' Cedar Hill State Park. -- Photo by Pat Bean

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Worthy of a Georgia O'Keeffe painting. -- Photo by Pat Bean

“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether want to or not.” Georgia O’Keeffe

Just for Today

Mother Nature has her secret treasures, even in big cities.

For example, I spent five years looking in prime birding habitat for a brown creeper, which although illusive isn’t rare. I finally found it just three blocks away from my oldest daughter’s Dallas suburb home.

The Dallas Metroplex is also full of small parks, like the one just off Miller Road in Rowlett, where there’s a small pond, and where I got my grandson, David, first interested in birding. As we started off on a trail that would lead us behind backyards to the edge of Lake Ray Hubbard, we came upon a red-shouldered hawk just as it caught a mouse.

Orange is such a cheerful color. Don't you agree? -- Photo by Pat Bean

Boys being boys, he found that quite exciting – actually so did I.

But purple makes the heart sing.

For a bit more of Mother Nature when I’m in the Dallas area, I escape to nearby Cedar Hill State Park, where I volunteered for a few months as campground host a couple of years back.

 It was here that I saw my first painted bunting and my first yellow-billed cuckoo – and watched as a rainy winter gave way to a colorful spring.

I thought this morning, which is going to turn into a busy day, might be the perfect opportunity to share a bit of the park’s color with you. Then I can go exploring with my daughter, Deborah, in search of more big city sights.

We’re celebrating her birthday a couple of days late by going out on the town. I’ll probably tell you all about it soon.

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