I started my morning at an 8:15 a.m. service at Suncreek United Methodist Church. I chose this church today in part because the sermon theme was "Forgiveness". I think that forgiveness is a difficult and important virtue, whatever one's beliefs. The sermon featured a touching video about a woman whose 20-year-old son was murdered by a 16-year-old. Eighteen years later, she reconciled with the wrongdoer and even arranged for him to rent the duplex next door. I found the video touching, because of her obvious strength.
On my way out of church, I noticed two House Finches in a little tree. I thought of bardcat . He had just today posted a picture of a House Finch near his Georgia home. Until today, I had seen few House Finches or American Goldfinches. But today I saw these two.
I decided to drive up to Farmersville and bird-watch. Farmersville is a Texas small town with an old-fashioned downtown comprised of antique stores and similar businesses. Southlake Park is a little lake park a fair piece from downtown just off a little country road. When I first arrived two kayakers fished in the little lake.Otherwise, the birds and I had the park to ourselves.
When I first pulled up, Mourning Doves and Eastern Meadowlarks were flitting here and there. I saw a Loggerhead Shrike on a fencepost. I got out and began to walk around the lake.
I am an intermediate birder, but sometimes I have difficulties telling the Winter sparrow-ish birds referred to as "little brown jobbies" apart. This one is an example:
I think this is a Song Sparrow. If it had a bit more yellow on its face (lore), I'd call it a Savvanah Sparrow. If it were larger, I'd instead have to consider (as I did) that it's a female Red-Winged Blackbird. The somewhat rarer Lincoln Sparrow is also a contender. I wish I had that kind of command of sparrows that let me know instantly which one I am seeing.
I saw a nifty Belted Kingfisher flying away from the lake. I spent a good hour there.
I had some time left, so I went to downtown Farmersville. There a bicycle/hiking path called the Chapparal Trail. It runs for hundreds of miles into northeast Texas, along an old railroad line. The first few miles are paved with a sidewalk.
I walked an mile up that trail and a mile back.
I saw a goodish few birds during this walk. Another sparrow, the White-Crowned Sparrow, was easy to identify, as it lacked the yellow lore that would have instead made it a White-throated Sparrow. One of the two delightful kinglets that winters in Texas flitted here and there. Usually, these two pose a challenge to sort out the Ruby-crowned Kinglet from the Golden-crowned Kinglet.I saw a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet in its Summer quarter in Manitoba, and its crown was perfectly visible. But Winter is a less showy season for kinglets. Today, though, the little kinglet showed me its lovely golden crown.The two kinglet species, the American Goldfinch, lots of sparrow species, and the Yellow-Rumped Warblers are among our "Winter birds" here, who Summer in parts far north of here.
I went to Weight Watchers, and found that I lost 2.8 pounds of the 3 pounds I had gained the previous week. Had I foresworn the waffle my wife was kind enough to make me this morning (a second breakfast), I'd have been in the black.
After my meeting, I decided to go to Pollo Tropical for lunch. We had tried to go last night to find that this new fast-food chicken place from Miami was swamped. We ate sushi at Umeka instead. I figured today at 3 p.m. offered a better opportunity. I was mistaken. The parking lot was against crowded. I got chicken with broccoli at Tian An Mien Wok instead.
In the late afternoon, I gave Beatrice a walk. She liked this very much, as the temperature had crossed 16 degrees Celsius. Then I settled down at home, my wife having gone to a concert with a friend, and doodled using the program Inkscape.
Then I ate a sandwich, picked up some milk and bananas, and settled in to watch Downtown Abbey. I've been reading my book a good bit this weekend. I have also been playing computer chess against pychess a good bit. When I play solidly, I do all right, but over and over I lose because I "let up" late in the game and lose material. It's good practice.