A Year on Clear Lake-Aug 29, 2013

The Merlin–August 29, 2013

I discovered there is a difference  between a hawk and a falcon, and apparently we have a small falcon, a Merlin, frequenting the area nowadays. I have seen it several days in a row.  The Merlin was once called a pigeon hawk, because in flight it was often mistaken for a pigeon. My little mockingbirds and doves, be warned–this predator feeds predominantly on small birds.

Back to the difference between a falcon and a hawk: a falcon has a notch on its beak that is used for breaking the neck of its prey, while the hawk’s beak has a simpler, smoother curve. The hawk  typically uses the talons on its feet to kill its prey. Falcons fly fast, while hawks are typically much slower,  preferring to glide with a much slower stroke. While hawks tend to be larger, the falcons have longer wings, while the hawk’s wings are generally shorter. And now you know, too.

An old friend, the sun,  is almost peeping around the corner. Its bright reflection in the water can just barely be seen at the east end though it hasn’t quite made it far enough around the bend to be visible at sunrise. It’s only a matter of days. Soon I’ll be able to share the gorgeous sunrises, again. The sun disappeared around the bend back in April. Here is my last recorded sunrise in the spring.

I have another native plant identified by my friend, John Ward. It’s the Carolina Wolfberry, also called the Christmas Berry, which produces a lovely purple flower, and later bright red berries, loved by whooping cranes (though we have none) and water fowl. Info from the Texas Native Plant Database says the Carolina Wolfberry grows quickly and well in sand and tolerates standing water for lengthy periods, yet it is also resistant to drought and is well suited to cultivation in dryish areas. Perfect for the peninsula.

Green Thought: “She shows us only surfaces but Nature is a million fathoms deep.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson