texas trip

Unfortunately, Em El and I were sick with colds during part of our time in Texas, she for longer than me. They were not debilitating colds, but they were an inconvenience (and still are, as we continue to slog along through their end times). We still soaked up plenty of family time, and I even picked up three (!) new life birds, all within the Dallas city limits. Important lesson: never underestimate the value of urban birding! At White Rock Lake, I found an American White Pelican snoozing on a log and a flock of Franklin’s Gulls gathering overhead. These birds were just passing through during migration. The next day I observed a couple of Harris’s Sparrows feeding on seed outside the fantastic Trinity River Audubon Center. This bird is a winter resident in north Texas. None of these birds are easy to find in Maryland, as they are nonresidents and only rarely vagrant in the northeast U.S. during migration.

Other than occasional birding and lots of chilling with the family, Texas involved a lot of eating. Of course we had to sample the best of what the Dallas area has in the way of vegan fare! These included the always delicious Spiral Diner; the newly spruced-up under new ownership 100% vegan Asian buffet, Veggie Garden; a new one for me, Kalachandjis (Dallas’ longest serving vegetarian restaurant, which begs the question of why they never brought me here before!); and a new one for everyone, D’Vegan (specializing in vegan Vietnamese cuisine- soooo good). We also ate plenty of Mexican food naturally, including vegan migas from a new place in Dallas.

Here are a few photos. I took less than I thought. I blame the sickness. Or maybe I was just trying to live these moments, not document them.

The first few are from Trinity River Audubon Center. The wildflowers are Texas Paintbrush (Castilleja indivisa).

© 2012 S. D. Stewart, Trinity River Audubon Center, Dallas, TX

© 2012 S. D. Stewart, Texas Paintbrush, Trinity River Audubon Center, Dallas, TX

© 2012 S. D. Stewart, Trinity River Audubon Center, Dallas, TX

Sign on the wall at Veggie Garden Restaurant in Richardson, TX:

© 2012 S. D. Stewart, Sign at Veggie Garden Restaurant, Richardson, TX

Maneki Neko (“Beckoning Cat”) statue at D’Vegan Restaurant in Dallas, TX:

© 2012 S. D. Stewart, Maneki Neko, D'Vegan Restaurant, Dallas, TX

dragon monday breathing down your neck

Yes, once again it is Sunday night and I am reluctant to bring the weekend to a close. It started out great on Friday with an excellent day of birding at Lake Roland. Many new arrivals were on-site, both summer residents and migrants passing through.  I found most of the birds I was hoping to see, with the exception of a Brown Thrasher.  The day started out a bit slow but I eventually came upon a mixed flock of Palm Warblers and Yellow-rumped Warblers.  It was wonderful to see swallows hawking insects out over the lake again.  The crew I spotted included Barn, Tree, and Northern Rough-Winged.  Other highlights included a pair of Wood Ducks, three Red-tailed Hawks soaring on a thermal (as well as one being acrobatically harassed by a crow), a high-flying Black Vulture, and the buzzing of many newly returned Blue-gray Gnatcatchers.

Much of the rest of the weekend was spent working in the yard, ripping out the evil multiflora rose and pulling weeds.  I have battle scars from the rose bush.  Many of the vegetable seeds in our new raised bed have germinated over the past week (photo forthcoming).  Today we went to a native plant sale and bought an inkberry bush and two butterfly weed plants.  Unfortunately, I found out later that inkberry bushes are dioecious, which means they require a male and female plant in order to produce their berries.  Now we must determine what sex the plant is; if it’s a female, it will need a male to pollinate it.  If there’s not one in the neighborhood (probably not likely), then we need to plant a male so the birds can have their berries.

Tomorrow begins a new week of stifling office hell.  Hooray.  One day I will extinguish the putrid fire of the Monday dragon forever!

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