Checking the Martins after Five Days of Rain

by Donna Lewis

The purple martins at my property had just started laying eggs the last time I checked them. So I knew they should have babies anytime now.

After the f days of rain, I knew I needed to check to see if water had gotten into any of the gourds. A wet nest can be deadly for birds.

Checking the gourds

The first thing I do is gather everything I might need to clean and replace wet nesting material. You should always clean the site and not throw  anything on the ground. All that does is alert snakes that there is food up the pole.

So, nesting material, recording paper, a sack to put debris in, and clean towels to wipe out the gourd should be taken with you as you go to the housing. You don’t want to have to run back to get something. It’s best to not lower their housing for longer than 30 minutes at best, especially when they are feeding young.

All my material is gathered

As I thought, there were eggs in three gourds and young in the other nine gourds.

New life

YEAH!!!!!  How exciting! I love babies. Sadly one of the gourds with eggs had gotten a lot of water in it.  The nest was wet and not fit for the martins. The eggs were cold. I had to remove everything, clean it and put in fresh pine needles.  It is possible that the martin might lay a second set, but not probable. 

I measured one of the oldest healthy babies to be five days old.  Now I will know when I should check on them again.

Babies!

A wonderful day.

Much Needed Rain

By Marian Buegeler

After months of trace amounts of rainfall, we have finally gotten some much needed rain.  From the morning of Wednesday, December 30 to Thursday morning, I have received 3.81 inches of rain.  As I write this on December 31, over an inch of rain has fallen again today.

These first two photos are of Mustang Creek where it crosses County Road 133.  I am standing in my pasture looking across the road toward the neighbors property. It looks like the fences are going to need some repairs, again.

Mustang Creek near County Road 133
That fence won’t hold much longer with all that debris on it!

The next few photos are of Mustang Creek as it winds through the pasture.

Mustang Creek
Mustang Creek
Another view of Mustang Creek

This last photo is of North Elm Creek.  You have to know just how deep this creek bed is to fully appreciate the volume of water flowing through it.

North Elm Creek

Unfortunately these photos are not of the creeks at their peak.  Both had receded by the time I hiked out to the pasture to take these pictures.


PS: For more photos of flooding on Walker’s Creek, a little south of Marian’s and also in North Milam County, see Sue Ann’s blog from New Year’s Eve.

Walker’s Creek, usually a ditch over by those trees.