There’s a variety of woodsy enclaves within Houston’s sprawling metropolitan car colony, including the Central Park of the South, Memorial Park, as well as a number of bayou parks. Little islands where the cars are not allowed and they have to sit in lots while their owners walk around pretending that nature still exists. I gravitate to these spaces and manage to find some wildlife to photograph as well.
Due to the ceaseless work of bacteria and fungi, dead things gradually melt back into the biosphere which is cyclically alive, trees falling into the hungry mouth of tomorrow’s forest, like eggs laying chickens.
un-baffled exhaust ports
of an unseen muscle car breathe
noisy fire, roar, then idle down to a purr
abrupt report of a pistol
then shifting gears as the motor fades
into the distance, like self-conscious years
writing their way to a halt
at the index of a history text
all the unprovoked thoughts
run adrift, then assemble at sleep's door
as the novel loses its thread
just like a life lived in earnest
innocent as a forgotten thing
its power to provoke all played out
on a Saturday night in Houston
First bird outing of the year was not bad at all. Encountered a small flock of these little seed-eaters at White Oak Bayou and was confounded as to what they were. Similar looking to female Indigo Bunting, but the bill size and shape eliminated that, plus there’s these scale-patterned black and white feathers popping out on the breast. Turns out to be the last featured bird in Sibley 2nd, the Nutmeg Mannikin or Spice Finch, another Houston area import/escapee from Asia. These are immature, as the adults have a scaled breast.
You can see on the right-hand specimen the lack of wing bar markings, good tell that these are not one of our grosbeaks. Without these photos to study I’d have never figured it out, I think. Always a thrill to find a bird that sends you into research mode.
Also seen there, a large flock of American Robin, a strikingly beautiful bird seen up close in detail.
And the Red-bellied Woodpecker, same time and place. A fast moving flock of Cedar Waxwing also came through. Only the second time I’d seen these, and the experience was the same: good sized flock appears out of nowhere, and disappears soon thereafter. Later at Buffalo Bayou I spend some time with a pair of Blue-headed Vireo and was unable to claim a satisfying photo.
Moving on later that morning to the Houston Arboretum I saw only a single Eastern Phoebe and a Yellow-rumped Warbler, then headed to the Eastern Glades at Memorial Park to acquire another life-bird, the Least Grebe shown above. These range down through Central America with parts of Texas being the north-most boundary of its range.