A May Day’s of Wildlife Firsts


The Beaver Pond at Comanche Springs.



Driving to Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus in the Rolling Plains of Texas I rarely see much wildlife. On really hot days like today at the campus – my car registered 100 degrees – not much wildlife ever stirs on the campus.

That was not the case today!!!

At the Beaver Pond – barn swallows were swooping and catching flying insects and dabs of water. Then a lone turkey vulture landed on the shore of the pond and proceeded to strut ever so carefully one leg at a time with a couple of head bobs over to the water’s edge for a few drinks of water before flying off. Cricket frogs were making the sounds of clicking marbles, while the red-winged blackbirds sounded like they were laughing at me.

The wind was up just enough to make the pond produce waves.

As I proceeded with my survey the turkey vultures started flying overhead casting their shadows over the landscape. I’m always amazed at how they never make sounds when flying. Given the recent rains, antelope horn was growing in abundance. Finally, some, not all, hackberry trees have sprouted. In the distance crows were cawing.

Several little Mexican ground squirrels were running all over the main campus area with their tails straight in the air. It seems the ongoing construction has not affected them in the least. Then there was one lone bunnykins eating some buffalo grass in the shadow of one of the buildings.

As I left for Quanah – sadly three Rio-Grande turkeys met their fate with a vehicle. Just south of Copper Break State Park was a rather happy feral hog on the side of the road wagging its little tail as it ate at a low-lying tree. I swear it looked like that pig was smiling. Not far up the road was a lone coyote with a perplexed expression on its face. It followed my car as I passed by. I hope it and the pig remain safe. Who wants to kill a smiling pig?

Sadly, I saw a dead possum on one of the residential roads in Quanah. It’s great knowing this small town has such a beneficial species.

But luckily, a Carolina wren made the evening perfect and topped off a brilliant day of wildlife encounters.