Photo of Da day @ Da Pine #187

I got to spend time with my Granddaughter, Larissa Jenae this weekend. The second girl to absolutely steal my heart. She gives me the wonderful opportunity to really feel those “ah” moments. To see a persons heart be reflecting in those dark brown eyes. It allows me to feel, to see, and to realize what is important and the joy of it all brings me tears of happiness. Family is forever.

Watch for the reflections on your journey!!!nada te turbe†††jim

Photo of Da day @ Da Pine #142

Okay, I promised some more manly birds, but this one is a female, albeit a handsome one indeed. She is an American Kestrel (Falco sparverius), the smallest and most common of North American hawks, although I don’t know that I had ever seen one before. They grow to 9-12 inches, a dainty little thing with those marvelous vertical facial stripes. A group of them are called a “hover”, “flight” or  “soar” of kestrels.

She posed atop this cottonwood tree and over the course of 15-20 minutes let me inch to within 15-20 feet. I usually like to get photos of my subjects doing something, and I think she was just showing off what a beautiful creature of God that she is….Don’t pose (except for HIS glory) too often on your journey†††nada te turbe†††jim

Photo of Da day @ Da Pine #141

While I have some much more manly birds to present, I just can’t stop being drawn to this image of a Sandhill  crane (Grus canadensis). There are large numbers of them at Bosque Del Apache in New Mexico, and they are also one of the most populace birds in the world. They are a big bird. The male can come in at 10-12 pounds, stand a height of almost 4 feet with a 7 foot wingspan. They have a haunting yet appealing call. For as gangly as they are on ground, they are specimens of extreme grace in flight. The Southwest Indians thought the Sandhill mystical, and that the cranes most surely flew with the songbirds on their backs.

I especially like the extra weight of mud they fly with on their beaks and feet. Little boys have just gotta  find primal appeal in the way these guys dance & play in the mud. Some of us adult men will even want to at least get our shoes muddy after watching them!

Play in the mud on your journey††nada te turbe††jim

Photo of Da day @ Da Pine #139

Once again, another marvelous day at the Bosque Del Apache Wildlife Refuge south of Soccoro, NM.  The refuge is known for its bird population, and while we photographed a good number of them, we wanted to show you something other than just more fowl. You will be seeing plenty of birds in the future. Yesterday, we saw a family of well-fed coyotes (much fatter than our West TX variety)  and today came around a corner and were presented this herd of deer with a massive 8 point buck leading his brood. They let me come closer than I really wanted to be on foot. This guy was big.

We had actually prayed last night that we might get to see a bald eagle. Our prayers were answered. We ended up seeing all five that had been counted. Once again I was not specific enough in my prayers and while we got to watch them for near an hour, they were at their closest about 150 yards away. Quite a bit further than the deer. Next time remember to ask for a full frame bald eagle, you probably will get it!

Prayer up on your journey††nada te turbe††jim

Photo of Da day @ Da Pine #138

What a great day we had in New Mexico. A wonderful warm winter day with highs in the low 60’s, lots of sunshine & that azure blue sky that seems only to exist in New Mexico. We were heading to Bosque Del Apache Wildlife Refuge south of San Antonio, NM. (no they don’t have an Alamo there). We had been savouring a Green chile cheeseburger from Manny’s Buckhorn Tavern. It is rated as the #7 best burger in the U.S.( how could anyone argue that stat & who would want #7 except in baseball!).

Well it is that age old problem when you count on people to give you the big offering, The Buckhorn Tavern was closed for the holidays, major bummer. we settled for a good green chile cheeseburger from “The Owl Bar & Grill” across the street. It was good certainly not a #7 in the rankings, but okay none the less.

After lunch we headed to the refuge. Our Father presented us with many of his glorious creations, but on the last quarter mile of the loop we came upon this Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis) perched in the top of a dead cottonwood. I managed several perched exposures when he took to flight displaying his full physique. This guy had thighs like Dick Butkus…..what a jaw dropping sight… and to think we have all day tomorrow……we be looking for a Bald Eagle, there are 5 of them nesting here, now to just see one. But I know that God will have a show for us with or without the eagle…he never let’s us down….Happy New Year…Soar like a hawk on your journey†††Nada Te Turbe†††jim

Photo of Da day @ Da Pine #137

We spent the morning at White Sands National Monument. It was a great quiet place with few visitors this time of year. We had visits from 3 different dogs, which was nice. New Mexico is one of those really dog-friendly places. Wish Texas was more that way. It eased the missing of my Grace & Clovis. Got a little wet sand and slobber on me, made me almost feel  at home.

We had the added treat that the north sides of most every dune was still covered with a recent snow. You think the “white sand” is really white until you see it covered with snow. It quickly appears more ecru than white. We came across this one snow-covered dune that had a great line of tracks going up the side all the way to the top. Susan walked around them and up to the top. A great little wisp of a line of clouds was provided by the Master completing the scene. All I had to do was push a button and walk with a smile back to the car…..kewl beans.

leave some tracks of your journey†††nada te turbe††.jim

Photo of Da day @ Da Pine #136

Okay, we Texans will deep fry anything, but it takes a real (dumb) man  to fill that deep fryer with diesel fuel and drop in that bird. IT”S DIP STICK LICK’N GOOD !

This sign is on the back side of a convenience  store right off Interstate 10 in Van Horn Texas. I think it is meant to say they have diesel fuel and fried chicken. It paints a strange image to me, so I posed with a drumstick and my wife, Susan, made my photo on the start of our New Mexico trip. The drumstick wasn’t bad, thanks for asking!

Watch for signs on your journey††nada te turbe††jim

Photo of Da day @ Da Pine #135

At first I thought these two White-Winged Doves were mad at each other. It seemed a “you go your way, I’ll go mind” kind of a thought. Then after watching them a bit, I got the distinct feeling that they were actually watching each others “6”. Find someone to watch your back, we all need that!

Watch your back on your journey, better yet have a friend to do it for you†††nada te turbe†††jim

Photo of Da day @ Da Pine #133

We had seen this Great Blue Heron several times on our walk north of Alpine. He never allowed us to get too close. Most often he would take flight before we saw where he was perched. In checking the bird maps, Alpine is at the very northern extreme of his winter habitat. I am most assured that with the 20 degree temps and the snow & ice, he has headed on down Mexico way.

The Great Blue Heron is one impressive bird. This one’s wing span was about 40 inches. Lot of lift has to be generated by these wings.

I was looking through my photos of him from from a week ago and I found this file of him. He was pretty small on the image, but it was sharp and looked pretty nice after some cropping and noise reduction software. Sometimes you don’t know what you have, a familiar refrain of mine.

Be aware of what you find on your journey††nada te turbe†††jim

Photo of Da day @ Da Pine #132


I love Yogi Berra quotes. This one at first take, sounds like ridiculous advise. But, I heard Yogi on some television show explain the meaning behind his words.

Mr Berra lived on a street that was a circle drive. So when he was giving people directions on getting to his home he told them to turn either left or right when they came to his street, it made no difference, both ways lead to his house. “When you come to the fork in the road, take it.”

Kind of takes the mystery out of it, so when you come to a fork in the road, take it!!!

Enjoy the forks on the journey††nada te turbe††jim