Thursday, September 29, 2011

October 2011 email to readers for list of recent articles

During the period June through September 2011, the following Woodlands Commentary articles were published. We are in our third year of an extended drought which threatens our trees and will continue to stress our water supply. It is far from being over. Related articles from the past remain applicable and can be found using the search engine. This week I was on Channel 11 news, at the TV station's request, to describe the forest situation in The Woodlands and discuss tree watering techniques. See the first article below for a news story link and the story that triggered their interest.

01.  Save our Trees   

02.  Hummingbirds again about to migrate   

03.  Eagles perpetuate their species -

04.  Businesses at Kuykendahl and Flintridge -

05.  Houston Grand Parkway goes to Development Status 

06.  Drought of 2011 - one to remember  

07.  September Storms - first of 2011 brewing  -

08. Next-generation Government for The Woodlands - focus groups for gap analysis 

09. Fall Flea Market in The Woodlands 

10. Woodlands Parkway and Gosling intersection 

11. Letting them go, loss of loved ones 

12. Amazing Discovery in the Jungle, the Rainbow Toad

13. Watering Trees, especially during a drought

14. Drought Tolerance of Trees in The Woodlands 

15. Texas Wildfire - Northeast Texas 

16. Ponds under Stress 

17. Forest under Stress 

18. Wildfire in Dyer Mill, Texas 

19. Museum hosts Kinderfest 

20. Children's Fishing Tournament 

21. Wildlife and Values of The Woodlands 

This blog is provided as a service to The Woodlands residents and patrons of local businesses, connecting to amenities provided in and near The Woodlands. Please forward to anyone who might be interested. Every reader's view on any local matter is appreciated and considered for future articles. Help save out trees and forest! 

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Save our trees - program by Texas Forest Service

Many of the things I have been saying about watering trees in this drought are found in recently published documents on the Texas Forestry website, stated a bit differently and shortened to my explanations. It has been estimated that we will lose 66 million trees worth two hundred billion dollars in the Houston region this year alone. That is 10% of the total population of the region. Here in The Woodlands, where water runoff is managed, where the soil is sandier and elevated, and concrete is near many of the trees, this will be a larger percentage. The Woodlands is known for its enormous trees and dense forest from the lumber mining days. It is quickly disappearing and cannot be effectively reforested for decades. This potentially will significantly harm the economy of the area and value of private homes. Home owners have the responsibility to care for the trees as well as the government officials who are charged with safeguarding the community's investments and resources.  

+ Texas Forest Service video - Water your Trees! How to care for drought-stricken trees.
+ Texas Forest Service downloadable document-  Tree Watering Tips: Caring for trees during extreme drought
+ Houston Chronicle article - Houston may lose 66 million trees this year. Or more. Save yours
+ Channel 11 News 09-25-2001 - Grassroots Effort to Save Our Trees in The Woodlands featuring the author of this commentary, Randy Scott.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hummingbirds again about to migrate

Bottlebrush provides a fine nectar

It is that time again as you probably have noticed, if you live in Southeast Texas. Hummingbirds are everywhere there are flowers. Yes, you are so right! Food is available only in cultivated areas, like gardens and homes. This is the reason I write this article. These birds need our help to get ready to migrate across the big pond. There is very little food available for them this year. So far, I have put out three feeders and plan to put out two more in my yard, spread out enough to allow "thieves" to get away with some. Yes, all food "belongs" to the resident bird of the area, which may include two neighbors' homes.  Possession is the law with these birds. Territory is protected judiciously and ferociously.
Lickn her chops to get all the leftover nectar on her proboscis from the bush she just visited 
Personally, I can be entertained for hours by these amazing creatures. The expend so much energy fighting each other, that in the end you wonder how they can possibly be storing up energy to ride the north winds to Central America and Mexico later this month.
Keeping cool in this heat is no easy task but time out for a rest!
 This year, 5-8 birds are in my little plot here in The Woodlands. I expect even more in the days ahead. These are constantly bickering and fighting. They will fly within a few inches of my head or arm when I am watching them on the back deck. I can feel the air as one passes and hear them both and at times, four of five of them with their battle cries.  I have been hoping to get a photo of two of them dueling face to face suspended by their wings in mid-air, chirping gallantly, hoping to run off the other. I have not managed that yet but came very close to capturing the scene this morning.
At times, everyone needs some rest and personal hygiene 
Even so, the birds manage to get food and water. A splash of water with the sprinkler is received very enthusiastically. They love to get a drink off of leaves when a bush or tree is covered in water. They also love to take a bath in a very small water container. I use one that was designed for that purpose. It sits in a rod three feet tall that is in the ground under the trees.
From every angle, every drop is important
They are very nimble in their ability to reach difficult spots
What was that?!!! exclaims the Tufted Titmouse 
Other birds and creatures don't seem much affected by this hullabaloo but watching close, there are cases where others are annoyed by the hummingbirds.
Hey you! Keep your act away from me! That is dangerous!!!!! This is MY space. 
It was clear that this exchange of words was due in part from a flyby.
Hey bud! You can eat on your side. I am taking care of the ants on mine!
At the feeder, everyone gets a drink sooner or later. This lizard likes the idea of the ants on the feeder, but the birds could care less.

Man your battle stations!!
And there will be no peace!