Esta página es parte del sitio , con miles de fotos de aves de Argentina
This page is a part of the website, with thousands of my own photos of birds of Argentina

Vist to Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center
3rd February, 2012
Copyright (C) 2012 - Alec Earnshaw

Returning home to Buenos Aires from a business trip to Chicago, I had an unexpected layover at Houston. I missed the connecting flight due to a minor fault on the domestic Chicago-Houston leg, detected before takeoff.

So I took advantage to visit the Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center, at Humble, not far from my hotel and from the airport. Inspite of the unstable weather, I had a great day and - most importantly - I was able to put my brand new camera to the test.

At the reserve I did many miles of trails, was able to photograph some birds, butterflies and tortoises, and had lovely winter views of those very attractive cypress ponds. A sudden heavy shower caught me - quite literally!!! - as I was stepping under the roof of the verandah at the Nature Center. Here the exposition room is packed with various stuffed birds and other animals, posters, aquariums, and a wonderful collection of live snakes, some of which inhabit the park. There is also a tribute to the originial inhabitants of the area, the Ahokisa - Atakapas - Ishak. I also had the pleasure of meeting the warden, Greg Taylor, who offered me use of the library, assisted in identifying some of the wildlife, told me about the trees and - most importantly - went miles out of his way to ensure I got to my plane on time! THANK YOU GREG!!!

This page has 44 photos, including 10 bird species. The photos are aranged more-or-less in order of appearance, as I made my way around the reserve.

Thanks for visiting this page - Alec Earnshaw
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(Click o the photos to enlarge)

Assorted photos
Made it to the gates!
View of the Nature Center from the entrance
Signpost at the entrance
Seems like its an important bird area!

Some birds...

American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)

These are my very first photos taken with the new camera setup, a Canon D7 + 300 mm F4 L-series lens!

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)


...and females

The wonderful Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)
The seem to grow in swampy areas
The emit roots that are known as "knees" - nad they do look like knees!
The also demark many of the ponds, known as "cypress ponds"
The base of the trees are quite suprising, especially very photogenic
Here's one that is not quite symetrical!
Some ponds have overlooks, affording good views of the turtles.

More cypress photos coming later...

Red-eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans)

The most common turtle at the reserve. One of the most cold-resistant of turtle species. Once commonly held as pet, now illegal.

Some more birds...

Brown Creeper (Certhia americana) - CERTHIDAE family

A very por photo, of course - poor light and focusing on a twig. But it was a lifer, and must surely be a close relative of the FURNARIDAE family from South. America, which is my favorite group.

Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)

Another poor shot, but also a lifer!

...and butterflies

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) - NYMPHALIDAE family - Nymphalinae sub-family

Found across all N. America, Europe, N. Africa, and eastern parts of Asia, including N. India and Hymalayas

Question Mark (Nymphalis interrogationis) - NYMPHALIDAE family - Nymphalinae sub-family

Found across most of N. America

Onward along the trail, and got some more birds
The attractive River Birch trail.
From here onto the Magnolia Trail, where I heard many birds, saw some, but was not all that successful with the camera.

Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)

Very common throughout the reserve

Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus)

Has a characteristic call. A Lifer!

White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)

More cypress ponds
On the walk back to the entrance I crossed this wonderful boardwalk through a cypress pond.
A large tree here.
Not also the knees coming up everywhere!
That's it for the bald cypress!

Back to the Nature Center
From the shelter of the Nature Center I got some more birds - albeit in very poor light

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) - BOMBYCILLIDAE family

A lovely bird, bit seen very high up and against the light. Another lifer!

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)

Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis)

And another lifer!

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)

Inside the Nature Center
From the safety provided by a pane of glass, I was able to get these and other snake photos!

Southern Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix contortrix)

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox)

Not expected at the reserve, but it WAS my first live Diamondback!

Hope you liked the photo-report!
The bird photos are not very good, despite the wonderful equipment. The main reason was that the camera was focusing "near" and needed a "microfous adjustment". But the bad light was also to blame, as well as a string of "bad luck" shots, as every time there was a bird there was also a thin branch precisely in the way!

The Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center has a website:
From here you can download the trail map, learn about the wildlife and be informed about many interesting activities held here, including the Homestead Heritage Day, which - going by the incredible photos I saw at the Nature Center from last year's event, seems a wonderful and fun initiative, not to be missed.

Many thanks again to Greg Taylor. for all his kindness and generosity!

It was great to be able to visit this woderful place. Highly recommended. For me, the chances of returning will probably be more dependant on having another technical hitch on the airplane - but you never know!

Thanks for visiting ths page - Alec Earnshaw
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