I am a writer living in Austin Texas who focuses on the natural world. I love being outside, whether walking my Jack Russell, riding my horse, watching wolves in Wyoming, or just hanging out in my own backyard.
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.
The Owlets At Almost Three Weeks Old
Inside the owl box, Mrs. Owl pecks at last night’s leftovers and feeds the owlets. Her gray feathers, dark with rain, stick to her, making her appear smaller. She grooms an owlet, ruffling through the downy feathers of its head.
Five owlets! The Owl Chronicles Continue.
The fifth egg hatched on or about April 17 when we noticed the last egg missing, but weren’t sure if the egg had hatched or been eaten. The owlets huddle together in one big fuzzy ball, so it’s hard to tell how many owlets are there, but by Monday the fifth owlet could be seen in the middle of its four siblings, its tiny white head and skinny wings and body sticking out.
The Owlets Hatch
The first owlet hatched on Monday, April 12, one month from the day the first egg was laid. Two more owlets appeared the next day, leaving two eggs unhatched. On Wednesday, April 14, two eggs were still unhatched with three owlets. Last night only one egg remained, so four have hatched.
Five Eggs! Owl Chronicles 2021 Continues
Mm. Owl surprised us on Tuesday by laying a fifth egg. She stayed in the box that evening and, for the first time, we saw Mr. Owl visit the box and feed her.
The Owl Chronicles 2021 Begin
Mme. Owl laid her first egg on Friday, March 12, and that is how we know the female screech owl is in the box now.
Yellowstone Trip Reports
In September 1998 I visited Yellowstone National Park for the first time and have returned every year since.
A few years later, my boyfriend Tim Springer joined me, and we began posting our trip reports
and photographs of the Park’s abundant wildlife and natural wonders.
Previous trip reports from May 2004 through May 2016 can be found at Yellowstone Experiences ->.
Yellowstone – June 2019
There is still light over the mountains and a dusting of snow shines in the fading light. It is almost 10 p.m. I took a brief walk after dinner, gazing up at the tall lodge pines and the crescent moon. Soda Butte Creek rushes past our little cabin. When we arrived yesterday, it began to snow; fat, wet flakes that quickly melted on the deck and under the pines.
Yellowstone – October 2018
The grass has turned golden. Spring accented by vibrant wildflowers has faded, but its muted colors are a striking contrast against the deep green of fir trees. October begins tomorrow, but the aspen here are still undergoing their metamorphosis to fiery yellow. Their leaves shimmer in the sunlight.
Yellowstone – June, 2018
The Yellowstone River is running high and fast and muddy with snowmelt and the Bridger Mountains are still capped with snow. A few river rafts filled with brave souls bob up and down in the rushing water. A golden eagle flaps his wings high above Dome Mountain Ranch.
Yellowstone Trip Report May 2016
It’s raining; a cold rain that drenches you in minutes and suddenly stops. We are holed up in the map room in the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, sitting at a table at the far end of the room watching passing traffic – human and ungulate – from the floor to ceiling window. This morning it was almost clear as we drove across the Gardiner Bridge, passing a bald eagle perched on a rock, looking for his next meal. The road curves through forests of leafed-out aspen, cottonwoods, and pine trees. A black bear ambles across a clearing in the woods near Lava Creek. Not far down the road, two young bull elk, their antlers still covered in velvet, bed in tall grass on the steep slopes.
Yellowstone Trip Report October 2015
Leaving Bozeman, deep green conifers spread across rolling hills and mountains. Aspen and cottonwoods have peaked, their brilliant gold leaves fading. Muted yellows, reds and greens blend forming Yellowstone’s autumn. A large herd of elk graze the pastures of Paradise Valley while not far down the road, antelope forage in grass. Their migration out of the Park has begun.
Just around the bend from Yankee Jim Canyon a chubby black and white border collie perches on top of a tall round boulder, a sentry greeting an SUV at the gate. Horses graze in pastures far from the road: paints, duns, blacks, grey, sun bleached to almost white.
Previous Yellowstone and other Park Trip Reports 2004-2016
We have a large number of other trip reports on our website Yellowstone Experiences. Reports on trips to Yellowstone, Glacier, Olympic, and Jasper Parks with discussion about hiking, wildlife viewing and helpful tips to make visits to the parks more enjoyable.
Looking for 527
Looking for 527 is a book I authored with artist Susanne Belcher, based on my essay about Yellowstone wolf 527, alpha female of the Cottonwood Pack.
“Looking for 527 by Susanne Belcher, artist, and Christine Baleshta, writer, is a creative collaboration that is part art gallery catalog, part personal journal interspersed with snippets from their correspondences. It is an emotion-evoking tribute to the wolf and the people whose efforts are ongoing to preserve their lives.” Martha Meacham, Story Circle Network