Heralds of Spring in Texas

Front Cover
Texas A&M University Press, 1999 - Nature - 257 pages
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"It is a basic part of human nature to anticipate a new cycle of growth in our natural world and to recall fond memories of earlier springs. But the signals of spring are varied and personal. They differ from one person to the next and often are very special to the beholder."—from the Introduction

We know by the calendar when spring officially begins, but how does nature tell us spring has come? In Heralds of Spring in Texas Roland H. Wauer walks us through Texas, from the Rio Grande to the Panhandle, as spring arrives.

In addition to offering us his own special memories of spring in Texas, Wauer brings together here the thoughts of other Texas naturalists, professional and avocational, and augments both with background information about the particular herald being considered. Harbingers of spring explored include birds, trees, flowers, mammals, even the night sky.

For many along the Gulf Coast, the arrival of the first purple martins signifies the season. As Petra Hockey of Port O'Connor says, "I run outside to welcome them, and they seem just as happy to be back as I am to have them. Now spring has arrived." In the Trans-Pecos, two welcome signs of spring are the blooming of the Big Bend bluebonnets and the arrival of Cassin's kingbirds in the Davis Mountains. But for Mark Adams of the McDonald Observatory, "as the Earth swings closer to spring, . . . Pegasus, the Winged Horse, emerge[s] from the solar glare into the pre-dawn sky. . . . My spring herald."

For many in Central Texas, spring has come when the Mexican buckeyes and redbuds begin flowering and the golden-cheeked warbler arrives. But for Burr Williams, in the Western Plains, "spring is best expressed by the myriad of invertebrate tracks that he finds on the sand dunes at Monahans Sandhills State Park."

All those who love outdoor Texas will relish this delightful celebration of spring and enjoy the artwork of Ralph Scott, who has done an illustration of each spring herald.
 

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Contents

Field Sparrow Songs at Guadalupe River State Park
132
Anemones at Dripping Springs
136
Chimney Swifts Aerial Acrobats
139
Mountain Laurel Blooms
145
Greening Cottonwoods at Barton Springs
148
The Northward Passage of American Robins
152
Whitethroated Sparrow Songs in Austin
156
Migrating Upland Sandpipers
159

Greening of the Coastal Prairie
46
Matagorda Island Stonehenge
51
Purple Martins Arrival at Port OConnor
55
Alligators The Roar of Spring at Brazos Bend
61
Crane Flies in Friendswood
65
Yellowthroated Warblers Arrival at Sabine Woods
68
TRANSPECOS
73
Violetgreen Swallows along the Rio Grande
75
Blooming of Big Bend Bluebonnets
78
Turkey Vultures Returning to West Texas
82
Cassins Kingbirds in the Davis Mountains
87
Spring Skies at the McDonald Observatory
91
Boutonniere Plants in the Guadalupe Mountains
95
PINEYWOODS
99
Violets at Old River
101
Gray Squirrel Nest Building at Port Arthur
104
Carolina Jessamine of the Big Thicket
110
Flowering Dogwoods in the Forest Midstory
113
Falcate Orangetip Butterflies in Sam Houston National Forest
118
Warbler Songs at Caddo Lake
122
HILL COUNTRY
127
Mexican Buckeyes and Redbuds Twin Heralds
129
Goldencheeked Warblers at Balcones Canyonland
164
The Texas Bluebonnet Official State Wildflower
170
PRAIRIE AND LAKES REGION
175
Cliff Swallows near Victoria
177
Our Little Huisache Tree Is Famous Worldwide
181
Buffbellied Hummingbirds at Mission Valley
185
The Unmistakable Scissortailed Flycatcher
190
Northern Cardinals Provide Our Earliest Spring Songs
194
Southern Plains Trout Lilies near Waco
198
DevilsElbow in the Northern Plains
201
Spring Beauty on the Heard Wildlife Sanctuary
204
PANHANDLE AND WESTERN PLAINS
209
Invertebrate Tracks on the Monahans Sandhills
211
Cassins Sparrow Songs in Midland County
215
Migrating Peeps near San Angelo
218
House Finch Songs and Pin Clover Blossoms on the Llano Estacado
223
Three Early Wildlowers at Amarillo
227
Western Meadowlark Songs on the Northern Prairie
230
Common and Scientific Plant Names
235
References
241
Index
247
Copyright

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Page 14 - Whereas, Ornithologists, musicians, educators and Texas in all walks of life unite in proclaiming the mocking bird the most appropriate species for the state bird of Texas, as it is found in all parts of the State, in winter and in summer, in the city and in the country, on the prairie and in the woods and hills, and is a singer of distinctive type, a fighter for the protection of his home, fallIng, if need be, in its defense, like any true Texan.
Page 35 - And yet they's a point worth thinking about — We note that the old mesquites ain't out! Well, it may be spring for all we know — There ain't no ice and there ain't no snow. It looks like spring and it smells so, too. The calendar says it plenty true — And still they's a point worth thinkin...

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About the author (1999)

ROLAND H. WAUER is a former chief naturalist of Big Bend National Park, an active nature writer, and author of Naturalist's Big Bend and numerous other books on birds, national parks, and nature.

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