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I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.   Henry David Thoreau, Walden Dedicated to Bobby Scott, the local explorer who led an effort of save Spring Creek as a Preserve in the 1980’s.

June 15, 2014 notes from Jim Varnum:



I visit SCFP (1770) and SCPP (1787) today to collect some prairie clover (Dalea sp.) for Carol Clark analyze tomorrow. She thinks she has 2 species with white flowers and 3 species at he Cooke County farm. Our goal is to see which ones grow at Spring Creek Forest. I collected and pressed some purple ones. And one white one past blooming. Stay tuned.

At SCFP (1770) I found both gayfeathers in the prairie... but not yet blooming. Liatris mucronata is the common one. L. glandulosa is the new, uncommon one. It blooms first... maybe in 2-3 weeks.

Also at SCFP I found some Marigold dogweed (Dysodiopsis tagetoides). No pic... it was too windy. A first sighting for me, but it's in Jack Hills list online.

At SCPP (1787).I found several Woolly ironweed (Vernonia lindheimeri) in the chalky area in the back. It is uncommon and is only found on chalk. Not blooming yet.

Folks were swimming in the creek at both places. They were cooler than I was.









iNaturalist.org is a website and smartphone app that lets you share your nature observations with others around the globe! You might discover someone who finds beautiful wildflowers at your favorite birding spot, or learn about the birds you see on the way to work. If enough people recorded their observations, it would be like a living record of life on Earth that scientists and land managers could use to monitor changes in biodiversity, and that anyone could use to learn more about nature.


For nature apps check out Audubon Field Guides for 99 cents during John James Aubudon's 228th birthday.  http://www.audubonguides.com/index.html


Thanks to Kristy Griffin's class for sending this nice link about Missouri's State Bird, The Eastern Bluebird. At Spring Creek we do put up and maintain blue bird boxes along the edge of our prairies. Thanks Class!



March 9, 2013  Bluejay courtship - is underway up north.  Saw a group of 16 jays this am.  You can also witness bluejay migration to and from Canada here in se Michigan during late April/early May.


Best nature film in a long time. Check out IMAX near you! Flight of the Butterflies

in 3D (http://www.flightofthebutterflies.com)


You can read and comment on a recent draft climate report by the NCADAC (National

Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee). Comments must be submitted

by April 12.  Their website is http://ncadac.globalchange.gov . The report can be

downloaded as a .pdf file but it is 1,146 pages in length.


A youtube video produced by "Chasing Ice" producers.  Incredible and was sent to me by a climate change denier!



Keystone XL Pipeline - Dallas Observer January, 2012



Native Prairie Restoration article



Big trees around the world are dying...



Interesting website yourwildlife.org explores biodiversity on you and around you.


Thanks to Rebecca Lupinski at Lexington Middle School in Virginia for helping add a link on gardening for kids!

 http://www.pickupflowers.com/flower-guide/flower-garden-resources-for-kids and it has some great information everyone could




Thanks to Paul Marino and his class for adding two educational birding links to the website!

We have added these links to both the birding page and links page.


"Hummingbird Gardens - Herbs and Flowers for Hummingbirds" - http://www.herbco.com/t-hummingbird-gardens.aspx

"All about birds" - http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/search

Cornel Lab of Ornithology news:


Seven Super Sounds From Our Newly Digitized Archive
Our Macaulay Library is the world’s largest public archive for natural sounds and video. After 12 years of hard work, the library recently finished digitizing its entire archive of tapes—150,000 clips and 7,513 hours of running time are now up online. To celebrate, we've put together a small sampler of sounds we love, including a Song Sparrow from the Jazz Age, a bird's impression of a UFO landing, and everyone's favorite wailing waterbird, among others



E-bird is a nice app for birders and lets you find sightings in local "hotspots" as well as add your own sightings and explore data from all over the United States.  For Spring Creek Preserve there are a few observations but we need someone to keep it current as well as Spring Creek Forest.

Click on E-Bird icon to visit websites......


New iPhone App harnesses the power of eBird--Check out BirdsEye! 




Derek's recent sightings...Thanks Derek!


9 May 2012 - Bob Woodruff Park, Plano, 6:50am-8:10am
partly high clouds, calm, mild
Canada Goose - 8 large form flying over low
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift
Archilocus sp. - 1 fem
Least Flycatcher - 2
Great Crested Flycatcher - 8
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - 1
Eastern Kingbird - 30 flyovers, groups of 5 to 10
?Warbling Vireo - 1 poorly seen
Red-eyed Vireo - 1-2 singing
Blue Jay - 2
Am Crow - 2
Purple Martin - 1
Barn Swallow - 1
Cliff Swallow - 1
Carolina Chickadee - 10
Tufted Titmouse - 3
RCKI - 2
EABL - 1
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 1 HO singing along creek
Swainson's Thrush - 3
Brown Thrasher - 1
CEDW - 10
waterthrush sp. - 1
Black-and-white Warbler - 1 fem
Nashville Warbler - 10
Com Yellowthroat - 1 HO singing
N Parula - 1 HO singing
Blackburnian Warbler - 1m, 1f
Yellow Warbler - 10+
N Cardinal
Indigo Bunting - 1 singing
Painted Bunting - 1fem plus 1 singing
BH Cowbird - 4
Baltimore Oriole - 5-10




Some field notes from Ohio....please send me local field notes so we can make this local to Spring Creek Preserve and Forest! Thanks.



May 3, 2012 Magee Marsh Boardwalk

left at 6:30 returned 1:30pm

Partly sunny most of the day. Became hot and

muggy after lunch reaching 87 degrees!!!! A record!!!


18 Warbler Day..although 29 warblers posted

at Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) today.



Black-throated Blue Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Magnolia Warbler (abundant)

Blackburnian Warbler

W.Palm Warbler

Canada Warbler


Northern Parula

Black-and-White Warbler

Chesnut-sided Warbler (abundant)

Bay-breasted Warbler

Black-and-White Warbler

Blackpoll Warbler

Nashville Warbler

Tennessee Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler

Yellow-Rumped Warbler (abundant)

N. Waterthrush

Eastern Screech Owl

Yellow-throated Vireo

Blue-headed Vireo

Warbling Vireo

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Eastern Bluebird

Swainson's Thrush

Summer Tanager

Scarlet Tanager

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Least Flycatcher

Gray Catbird

Maggee Marsh

May 8, 2012

Morning fog cool, sun by 10am



Black-throated Blue Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Magnolia Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler

W.Palm Warbler

Canada Warbler

Cape May Warbler



Woodthrush (Ottowa NWR woodland trail) pm

Purple Martin (Ottowa NWR)

Red-Eyed Vireo (call Ottowa NWR woodland trail)pm

Eastern Kingbird (Ottowa NWR)

Veery (3)(1 @ Ottowa)

Northern Parula (4)

Common Yellowthroat

Black-and-White Warbler

Chesnut-sided Warbler (abundant)

Black-and-White Warbler

Blackpoll Warbler

Nashville Warbler

Tennessee Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Yellow-Rumped Warbler (abundant)

N. Waterthrush


Yellow-throated Vireo

Blue-headed Vireo

Warbling Vireo

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Swainson's Thrush

Summer Tanager

Scarlet Tanager female

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Gray Catbird

Olive-sided Flycatcher


Trout Lily cousin up north...the Yellow Trout lily blooms about 8-9 weeks

after the Trout Lily Walk at Spring Creek Forest. It likes the same type

of habitat = mesic woodland slopes. This image was taken April 19th in

Lower Huron Metropark, se Michigan.



Happy Earth Day -April 22nd is Earth Day but every day should be Earth Day, not with big celebrations but with a commitment from all of us to do our part in keeping her healthy through energy conservation, smart growth, preserving biodiversity, and green thinking. If enough of us do that we can make a difference, whether its joining conservation organizations, picking up trash, educating others on the environment, writing politicians to preserve nature... Do your part!

Official Site - International Earth Day
Earth Day Network

Recycle Bank
Envirolink, the Online Environmental Community
Earth Day - EPA



Results of the Great Backyard Bird Count can be found at the following url:




March 13  Astronomy Note


Update: For smartphone users I would recommend an inexpensive ($2.99) astronomy app called "Star Chart".  It is better than Stellarium.


Picked up a pair of Bushnell Legend Ultra 10 X 36s and tried them out on the night sky around 8:30 PM tonight. Ganymede and Europa were visible by Jupiter, with nearby Venus, in the western sky.  Mars in the eastern sky.  Not as good as a telescope but still fun to use. There is free planetarium software "Stellarium" available at stellarium.org. so check these out.


Sharing this link from Marvin so you can see some great Texas photography...


Wyman Meinzer graduated from Texas TechWhen he graduated, he moved back to his ranch near Benjamin, Texas so he could begin his photography. He lived in a dugout for quite a few months to be in the middle of the roadrunners, coyotes, and snakes.
Tremendous photography work, If you love the outdoors or not, this will stir your heart!

CLICK HERE! <http://player.vimeo.com/video/22132017>



The Great Backyard Bird Count is February 17-20th, 2012



One of our members recently messaged with a question on those jelly-like fungi that you find on the shallow caliche soils at Spring Creek.  Most likely it is in the genus Tremella.  During dry months it is hardly noticeable and crusty but when it rains it swells up and resembles large raisins or a mass of jelly. The soil community where you find this is called cryptogamic soil, or biological crust since the soil community harbors fungi, bacteria, lichens, and this "jelly fungus".

Jelly Fungi are edible; one recipe calls for Tree-Ear (a related species) to be soaked, sliced, and added to casseroles to provide "snappy" texture. A related species in China is used regularly in soup, salads, and stir-fried dishes. The Chinese also believe Jelly Fungi improve breathing and circulation--an interesting assertion since chemicals found in some members of this group have been shown to inhibit blood clotting. The taste is not unpleasant but I can't say it tasted




Commonly called the "Jack O'Lantern Mushroom," this species is fairly easy to identify. It grows in clusters on wood, its colors are bright orange, its gills run down the stem, it has a white to pale yellow spore print, and its flesh, when sliced open, is orange (or at least orangish). It is a common fall mushroom east of the Rocky Mountains, and is frequently found in urban settings, sprouting from dead trees and stumps.  Info source:

http://www.mushroomexpert.com/omphalotus_illudens.html    Photos taken 9.27.11 by webmaster.


Photos of the new Pavilion at the trailhead of Spring Creek Forest Preserve on Holford Road.  Thanks Marvin!




September  entertaining video of a barn owl/black cat duo...Thanks Fay!


July - Thanks for the information on summer nesters, Peter!


Summer nesting season 2011
Plano Outdoor Learning Center (POLC) / Bob Woodruff Park (BWP) / Oak Point Nature Preserve (OPNP)

Unrelenting heat and drought over the past few weeks.

A Cassin's Sparrow was skylarking on June 4 at Oak Point Nature Preserve, presumably one of the birds that first showed up here
in late April. I was in Canada in mid-June, and when I returned to the park on June 25 there was no sign of them (but they can be
hard to find when they stop singing).

A pair of Black Vultures constructed a "nest" on the floor of an abandoned hut along Old Morton Vale road in Oak Point Nature Preserve. Two eggs were found on May 1. At least one hatched and I found a downy young bird on June 25.


Also along Old Morton Vale Road, I found a Black-chinned Hummingbird nest with 2 dead chicks on July 23
(Nest constructed on a branch at eye level, in full sunlight, right on the path which is used by horseback riders and hikers)

Painted Buntings seem to have had an exceptional year with 10 or more singing and/or seen on July 23
(seems unusual to see or hear so many this late in the season)

Swainson's Hawks likely nested at their traditional spot near Custer Road and Plano Parkway (one or both birds seen on
many occasions between July 2-30 perched or soaring nearby). Single Swainson's Hawks seen at Oak Point on July 9 and 30
also suggests local residency.

A group of 3 American Kestrels perched together on July 2 and 16 suggests local nesting

A Mississippi Kite on July 16 at Bob Woodruff Park (not known to nest in the vicinity)

Louisiana Waterthrush 1 on July 23, 3 Black-and-white Warblers, Orchard Oriole, 1 Eastern Wood Pewee and an
Empidonax flycatcher on July 30 => likely early migrants




Found a photo of a rock climber at Spring Creek Preserve. The rock he is holding on to collapsed during a large February

         storm a few years ago...so be careful around the cliffs!





June 3   False Solomon's Seal (Smilacina racemosa) a relative of Polygonatum biflorum (Solomon's Seal), which was once seen

at Spring Creek. These plants were blooming yesterday is se Michigan.





May 4  Just to show you how late spring can be in the north....the following are images taken today on Grosse Ile, a large developed island in the Detroit River and home to typical oak/maple forest as part of the Grosse Ile Open Space Program. The

woodland wildflowers are just now starting, a full 9 weeks after the Trout Lily Tour at Spring Creek Forest.

Left to right: Trout Lilies (pre bloom), Mayapple,  Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Cut Leaved Toothwort





Arbor Day

Keep current on wildfires west of Fort Worth and Deep East Texas, and watch for stray cigarette butts or fire activity near the Forest.



Friday, April 22nd is Earth Day but every day should be Earth Day, not with big celebrations but with a commitment from all of us to do our part in keeping her healthy through energy conservation, smart growth, preserving biodiversity, and green thinking. If enough of us do that we can make a difference, whether its joining conservation organizations, picking up trash, educating others on the environment, writing politicians to preserve nature... Do your part!

Official Site - International Earth Day

Earth Day Network

Earth Day Online - Envirolink, the Online Environmental Community

Earth Day - EPA


 Below is a nice image of Indian Hills a  prairie in North Central Texas (Matt White). The plant is Baptisia australis,

Blue Wild Indigo blooming in profusion after a prescribed burn.  Presribed burns are the best way to manage prairies when

the risk of wildfire is low....




    Cornell and Audubon have teamed up to produce migration maps of most of our songbirds....visit their website to watch radar-like movements

of the birds as they migrate over the seasons...http://ebird.org/content/ebird/about/occurrence-maps/occurrence-maps.  Spring Creek and Prairie Creek

are both on eBird hotspots, so email me to dig up the password if you want to enter bird data for either site! Spring Creek Nature Area is near Plano and Renner road in Richardson.


(above) Scarlet Tanager in early May...


L151004,US,US-TX,US-TX-113,32.9652,-96.6577,Spring Crk Forest & Preserve (Dallas Co) PPW-W 097
L300596,US,US-TX,US-TX-085,32.9973154,-96.7073785,Spring Crk Nature Area (Richardson)  
L151005,US,US-TX,US-TX-085,32.9865,-96.7183,Prairie Creek Park(Richardson)


April 2   Derek reported the first of season (FOS)  Scissor-tailed Flycatcher near Spring Creek today.


March 23

Pair of Cooper's Hawks near the Administration Building, GPARD. ...these photos are from Warren Bird.

Thanks Warren for sharing. Click on thumbnails to enlarge.

"We have a mommy and daddy Cooper’s Hawk watching over a nest by the Admin parking lot. I took a few pics of them together this morning. The male has the darker feathers."

Warren Bird
Recreation Superintendent
Garland Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Arts Department

www.garlandparks.com  We cannot do all the good the world needs, but the world needs all the good we can do
Making Garland an active, enjoyable, healthy, and inviting city for generations to come


March 12 Bird Walk List: Thanks Marvin!

List of birds seen on Bird Walk
led by Jack Hill at
Spring Creek Park Preserve,
1787 Holford Road, Garland, TX
8:30 - 11:00 am        
12-Mar-11     And the Butterflies we saw:
Bluebird Eastern   Leafwing Goatweed
Cardinal Northern   Swallowtail Eastern Tiger, M
Chickadee Carolina   Sulphurs  
Cormorant Double-crested   Checkered-Skipper Common
Cowbird Brown-headed   Skipper Dusted
Crow American   Elfin Henry's
Dove Mourning   Swallowtail Black, F
Dove White-Wing   Crescent Pearl
Duck Mallard   Buckeye Common
Flicker Northern   Epimenis Grapevine
Goldfinch American      
Grackle Great-tailed      
Hawk Cooper's   Total Seen                                    10
Hawk Red-shouldered      
Hawk Red-Tailed      
Hawk Sharp-Shinned      
Heron Great Blue      
Jay Blue      
Junco Dark-eyed (Slate-colored)      
Kinglet Ruby-crowned      
Mockingbird Northern      
Robin American      
Sparrow Field      
Sparrow Harris      
Sparrow House      
Sparrow Lincoln's        
Sparrow Song      
Sparrow White-throated      
Thrasher Brown      
Titmouse Tufted      
Towhee Spotted      
Vulture Black      
Vulture Turkey      
Warbler Yellow-Rumped      
Waxwing Cedar      
Woodpecker Downy      
Total Birds Seen                                  36      


February 26 Trout Lily Walk was a big success....thanks to all who participated! Special thanks to Tom Frey, Garland Parks and Recreation Department for leading the annual event!




February 22...more Trout Lily photos....location must remain undisclosed in the Forest Preserve to avoid damaging the colonies.




February 21st President's Day - Today we saw Trout Lilies in full bloom!  Last year the trouts were later, peaking around March 9.  The Trout Lily Tour is this coming Saturday so don't miss it. They will be at their peak!  Also a bobcat was seen near the horse ranch adjacent to Spring Creek Preserve on the

western edge near Maple Ridge (seen by Bob)...the bobcat has been spotted there a couple of times before in the same area.



February 18-21.  The Great Backyard Bird Count is less than two weeks away. If you need to study up on your backyard birds, see the

Cornell Website: The Birds of North America Online!


Thanks Marvin for sharing this nice photo of a Pine Warbler in the snow. Nice find!


February 2...Hard to believe that trout lilies will be blooming in about 4 weeks. The high today was only 20, with a wind chill of  9!

Low tomorrow is only 9 degrees (that's without wind)!

Trouts in sleet, February 2003.


January 29   A nice 73 degree day at Spring Creek Preserve. Spotted at the copse at the top of the "hill" were field sparrows, a couple of bluebirds (one

emerged from the big barn owl next box, and one beautiful male Pine Warbler in full sunlight!


Invasive Plant?  We identified this as a Cherry Laurel this morning as Matt was cutting out invasive plants, mainly privet species. Cherry Laurel (Prunus carolinianus) is native to East Texas but is naturalized  here. Any opinions on removing it from the forest as we clear out privet and other noxious species?




January.. From Caleb Frome. Thanks!

Field notes from today.

Location: Breckenridge Park (Richardson)
Observation date: 1/4/11
Number of species: 41

Canada Goose 6
American Wigeon 2
Mallard 15
Great Blue Heron 1
Great Egret 1
Turkey Vulture 3
Red-tailed Hawk 2
American Kestrel 2
Killdeer 15
Spotted Sandpiper 1
Ring-billed Gull 50
Rock Pigeon 50
Mourning Dove 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 2
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 2
Downy Woodpecker 3
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 1
Blue Jay 10
American Crow 10
Carolina Chickadee 5
Tufted Titmouse 3
Brown Creeper 2
Carolina Wren 5
Winter Wren 2
Golden-crowned Kinglet 3
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 10
Eastern Bluebird 10
American Robin 2
Northern Mockingbird 5
European Starling 2
Cedar Waxwing 15
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 2
Chipping Sparrow 20
Field Sparrow 10
Savannah Sparrow 2
White-throated Sparrow 15
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored) 15
Northern Cardinal 10
Great-tailed Grackle 4
House Finch 15
American Goldfinch 15

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)

Caleb Frome
TX Century Club Youth Member