Priscilla's World | 80 and Dangerous
80 and Dangerous

I am eighty…and the Level 4 trail is challenging and dangerous. Our son, Ben and I spend a morning in the Friederich Wilderness Area outside of San Antonio. We start early morning and climb to the area the map says we should find the Golden-cheeked Warbler. This little guy is rare and endangered … nesting only in the juniper-oak woodlands of central Texas. His restricted breeding habitat is shrinking and becoming more fragmented. Disappointment nearly overcomes me as I rest on the edge of one of those steep rock ledges. We hear few bird songs and have fewer sightings as we struggle to see or hear any birds.

I look at the park map and see that another flatter trail further down is labeled Water Trail. We know that Texas is experiencing a severe drought so anything with the designation "water" is more promising for birds. We hike down and find a small windmill and cistern that feeds into several small mud puddles.

I have loaned Ben my camera that is more powerful and speedier than his. He sits and rests his 400mm lens on the fence rung…using a folded shirt for a "bean bag." A great substitute for a tripod.

We stay in that spot for an hour and a half … with the camera clicking as fast as possible while we marvel at the wonders we are watching.

A pair of Golden-cheeked Warblers flits in and out the whole time…taking baths, flipping water and sounding off for each other. A pair of Painted Buntings comes in for a while, but only the female has a bath. A Black and White Warbler, Black-crested Titmouse and Cardinals enjoy that bit of water. Just as we decide to leave the park a female Summer Tanager appears briefly above us.

We have come to Texas to see Rod’s brother, Fred who lives in Boerne just north of San Antonio. We also see my cousin, Dwight who owns a fabulous restaurant in San Antonio, the Liberty Bar. If you are ever in San Antonio, we recommend it.

Ben Wilson took all the pictures (with my camera) except the picture of Ben…which I took with my iPhone.