nature journal austin texas2017-02-28T21:11:39-06:00


I began keeping a nature journal decades ago.  Below are excerpts from those journals sharing my experiences with dogs, cats and horses, and observing the natural world in Austin, Texas.


Snow! Outside, big flakes of wet snow still falling. At any other time I would be delighted by true winter weather. Snow in Austin is cause for celebration and I am winter-deprived, but now I am just cold.

January 31st, 2021|

Entering Winter

Tonight I sat outside as the sun went down, taking in the live oak trees shedding their small oval leaves and watching the screech owl poke his head out of the box. The moon was already up and almost full, an appropriate way to end the year.

January 10th, 2021|

The Screech Owl Arrives and Willis Goes to His First Show in Five Years

The male screech owl showed up on Halloween, peeking out of the owl box entrance just as it became dark. It’s a relief to finally see him; I have been waiting and wondering when – and if – he would appear. Each evening he pokes his head out about 5 p.m., preparing to take flight and leaving around 6 p.m., soaring over the fence and into the trees.

December 1st, 2020|

Ruidoso October

After a long, hot Texas summer with no swimming pools to cool us, we were ready to go somewhere. Anywhere. So, in this year without Yellowstone, there was Ruidoso, our escape from real life.

November 1st, 2020|

The Black Fawn

We finally saw the black fawn as we rode our bikes through the neighborhood. She was grazing in a corner yard shielded by tall oaks and plants with another fawn, a buck, and a doe, who must be her mother.

September 27th, 2020|

Doe and Fawn

The doe crosses our lawn in the middle of the hot afternoon. Her fawn rushes ahead of her, turning the corner around the fence, suddenly out of view. She stops and waits, staring toward a place we can’t see, then bends her head to the grass.

July 30th, 2020|

Fawn Season

Each night we walk through the neighborhood searching for does and fawns. The evenings are the best time, walking just as darkness falls when a strong breeze makes it feel cooler than it actually is. This spring we’ve been particularly lucky, beginning with the doe and fawn we saw on May 30.

July 8th, 2020|

Screech Owl Chronicles – The Owlets Fledge

We woke to an empty owl box on Friday morning. Two owlets took off on Wednesday evening, the first at 8:40 p.m., the second at 9:03, leaving the other two owlets to follow, but they lingered in the box, shuffling the sawdust, hopping up to the entrance, squawking for their parents to bring food. On Thursday morning only one owlet remained in the box, his sibling having left in the middle of the night.

May 13th, 2020|

Screech Owl Chronicles – The Owlets at Two Weeks

The owlets are now two weeks old. I watch them on the owl cam, waddling around the box, shuffling through the sawdust, looking up at their mother who is sitting in the box entrance. She is waiting to leave, anxious to leave. As the owlets grow larger each day and spring days get warmer, the box is becoming crowded and uncomfortable.

April 26th, 2020|

Screech Owl Chronicles – The Owlets at One Week

The owlets are all almost one week old now. The first egg hatched on Thursday, April 9, and the last on April 11, bringing the final count to four owlets. At one week old, the owlets are no longer amorphous blobs; they have wings which they stretch out as they awkwardly push out from under their mother and wobble around, all fuzzy round heads and tiny beaks and black eyes.

April 26th, 2020|

The Last Day of Winter

The last day of winter doesn’t feel like winter. Growing up in New Jersey, today might have brought snow. Back then we wished for signs of spring. Here in Texas, especially decades later, the signs of spring have been with us for weeks. Redbuds in bloom, primroses, bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrush all over the hillsides along 290, Blake Manor Road and the pastures at the barn.

March 20th, 2020|
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