Sunday, March 27, 2005

Spring has Sprung

While it remains cool in the evenings, sometime even cold, spring has arrived to the Edward's plateau. Afternoon sun warms the earth, and the flowers bloom, bees buzz, and the grass grows. This placid season precedes what is the windiest month of the year for us, April, and then three or four months of terrifying mesoscale thunderstorms and scalding hot summer temps. Fortunately, San Angelo is just on the very southern fringe of the area that hosts the majority of supercells and really destructive tornadoes. Abilene, only 100 miles to the north, gets pounded unmercifully every year. If you want to go to Wichita Falls this time of year, buy extra insurance...

You can see from the above picture, San Angelo has little in the way of geography to protect it from bad weather. This photograph was taken from at least 20 miles to south of downtown San Angelo, on the west side of Cristoval, Texas. The tallest building you see center frame is the famous Cactus Hotel, an original Hilton hotel, built by Conrad Hilton himself in 1929 (only his fourth hotel). Of course, we knew what was going on in 1929, so the Cactus had a rocky start. That building is 14 stories tall.

West Texas, as dry and desolate as it may seem, is a haven for bird life, and we have all sorts here, from waterfowl, to passerines, to raptors and everything in between.

I saw this Red Tailed Hawk today on my way home from my friend's house in Cristoval, were I was helping him roof his garage. This critter did me the favor of taking a second perch after stopping my truck caused him to alight, allowing me to capture his image. He sure is beautiful, and hungry. Fortunately, there is plenty of forage for him this year, as we've had a wet year, which benefits his choosen prey greatly. We all benefit from the water, especially after a ten-year drought.

Yes, the water is running this year. Above you see the South Concho River (I labeled the photo incorrectly) with a healthy flow. Maybe we'll get some of our local reservoirs above three or four percent capacity. God willing...


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