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August 2011

Remember when Flat Stanley came to El Paso?

Well, my niece posted a picture on FaceBook of my great-nephew Logan holding his Flat Stanley report from Aunt Wanna. I used some of the pictures from my website story to make a packet which could be mailed.

These three pages are a sampling of what I sent to his teacher for the classroom display.

Richard Love, who operates the Bird Blind in the Franklin Mountains State Park, which I showed in our original Flat Stanley story, sent this picture in June. He wrote, "I think this is the guy that is coming to the bird blind at night and moving the rocks around. I shot this on the nature walk trail. He stayed right on the trail going to the bird blind."

In case you wonder, he "shot" the coyote only with his camera! lol

I wrote Richard recently and he told me to tell Flat Stanley (and Logan) that because of the drought and the high heat many birds had visited the blind where they could find both food and water.

He sent these pictures of some of the spring and summer visitors.

A painted bunting ...

Black-headed Grosbeak ...

A tiny unnamed bird ...

A Bullocks Oriole ...

A Calliope Hummingbird ...

And a Lark Bunting Male.

Richard wrote, "Because of the lack of rain the butterflies found the hummingbirds' nectar quite tasty. This one is a Tiger Swallow Tail."

In another email, he said, "Because of the only water in the area two male earless lizards try to scare each other away by looking bigger than they really are."

Aren't they amazing? I didn't know they did this!

Thanks again, Richard, for the wonderful pictures and for the valuable service you provide to the wildlife of the Franklin Mountains State Park in El Paso.

Who knows how many birds, butterflies, lizards, coyotes and other animals would have perished during this difficult drought without the food and water you provide them?

I am sure Flat Stanley and Logan are breathing a sigh of relief, as well.

My husband is a building a new mountain bike trail in the the mountains on the east side of the park and leaves very early in the mornings. He usually quits between 10 and 11 because of the heat. I am really looking forward to a return to the Franklin Mountains State Park and a stroll down the Nature Walk. We had rain yesterday that really cooled things off; hopefully we will have more, and the birds and animals will flourish everywhere, not just at the bird blind.



Since I made this update, ...

On August 21, my husband took our daughter and oldest grandson to see the new mountain bike trail he has been working on, on the East Side of the Franklin Mountains State Park. After that hike, they drove across the mountains on the Trans Mountain Road to hike on the West Side.

Here they are starting off their second hike from one of the parking areas in the Tom Mays section of the park. Notice that things are beginning to green up after our recent rains. Still not as much as we need, but a big help.

This is the trail they hiked, starting at a group picnic area high in the park. It is much steeper than it looks here. This was a mountain bike trail that my husband rerouted.

I have also received more bird pictures from Richard.

This is a new bird in the Park, a Kassin's Kingbird.

And did you ever see an angry hummingbird? Richard wrote, "This shot looks like he was making an ugly face at some of the other birds.  Unusual behavior; he would do this when other hummingbirds came around."

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