Eagles in Llano, County, Texas

Llano county – 11/20/2014...my wife and I went to the Hwy 29 location where the Bald Eagle pair had been observed in the past. We had been hearing that they had returned, but we had not been able to see them on several trips to the location, but today, we found them.
Having never been here before, we were not sure where their nest might be located, we have been told they were seen just east of their old nest location (it fail to the ground last summer), so that didn’t help us. We were told that the old nest was next to the Llano river across from the west end of the unpaved area, so basically we were on our own!
No problem, we have all the time we need to find they new location. Today we went out there around 14:30, and decided to wait till after sunset. We parked on the west end of the unpaved area in hopes that we would be able to see them fly in. During our wait time we were both on the internet looking for photos that might give us a clue as to their new location, no such luck. One photographer had a photo of a tree top with an arrow indicating a location he had seen them fly into a couple of weeks back, but the photo was of a small area and we were unable to pinpoint the location. A wider angle would have been better suited for someone who had never been to the location before.
We were becoming more and more frustrated, even though we both knew that patience was the only way we would get what we wanted. All of a sudden, there they were, flying so gracefully and smooth, a flap of the wings carrying them on the wind currents that were invisible to us, yet to them, these beautiful American icons, it is a super highway! A wonderful sight to see in person, especially when they were only a hundred or so feet right over our heads, wow! We were admiring the amazing contrasting colors, and suddenly they split up and headed in different directions, one of them went down behind the trees in front of us, while the other flew over our heads, as if to get our attention, and then head in the opposite direction out of sight behind the trees to the west. Now we couldn’t find either of them! 
For more than 30 minutes we searched the sky, they seems to have vanished without a trace. Movement caught my eye in one of the trees about 1000 feet away, I took the spotting scope outside and lo and behold there they were, both sitting on a limb over the water of the Llano River. We drove down the viewing area to get a closer look, but to out surprise they were hidden behind the leaves. We ended up going back to the location that we had seen them. 
 
Bald Eagles of Llano, Texas

Bald Eagles of Llano, Texas Fall of 2014

I knew it would be a lucky shot if I would be able to get a good image of them because of the distance and light, but I was going to try. I put my new Tamron 16-300mm lens with a 2x teleconverter, on my Nikon camera, using a tripod at that distance was required. I zoomed in the full 300mm and by using the teleconverter, I was getting an effective 800mm, asp-c sensor. Because the light was going away and only being able to get the aperture to F/13, iso-800, I had way to much grain. I moved the iso, shudder and f-stop around and just was not able to get enough light on the sensor to capture a good image. I was disappointed, but once the leaves were gone I knew I should be able to get an acceptable image. I will also try with my Tamron 70-200mm, 2.8 lens, hoping that will give me more light to work with.

Pointing Tree

Point Limb

Native American Direction Tree

hollowtreewfetish_2014While surveying and photographing the Super Old Oak trees that the State of Texas has slated for destruction, we found a couple of these ancient trees that we believe have been what is called a “pointing tree.”

A pointing tree was used a method used by the Native Americans as a way to mark a trail or other important feature, i.e. water, food source, and campsite. Native American would twist, bend, trim or cut one of these trees in a manner that they would grow to point in a certain direction! I guess you could say that these trees were the highway signs of early America. Examples of this type of markers are found throughout the Americas.

500 + years

500 + years

These marker trees have lasted throughout history and well before the written records of America, as witnessed by the ones in the “Live Oak Forest” in Snook, Texas. These examples in Burleson County are located on private land; however, you can enjoy them through these photos. 

As a matter of fact, that may soon be the only way to enjoy them, as the State of Texas has determined that even though they may well be examples of this type of historical trees that have survived hundreds of years they now have to die for progress through greater and smoother traffic flow.

TxDot planners told their engineers that they needed to build a NEW roadway around the small rural farming community in Central Texas. Snook, Texas, which has a population somewhere around 600, apparently needs relief from the severe traffic conditions which may exist only in the minds of these planners and designers. Planners determined that the ONLY place to build this new road was to put if precisely where these trees have lived for maybe 600 years. They have told the property owners that they are unable to move this right-of-way to the side of the giant trees by only a few feet. Less than 40 feet is all that it would take to save these monstrous historically significant trees.

I just hope that someone who cares about what these trees mean to the land owners and their family, Citizens of Snook, Citizens of Texas, American History, Native American History, will take notice of their plight and help stop this travesty.

Joe L. Covington

Photos by Citizens Reflection Photography, Joe Covington

UPDATE – THE STATE OF TEXAS DOT RELENTS!  After a lengthy and complex process, TxDOT has agreed to make a slight change to the plans to build a bypass around Snook, Texas. This change will not cost the taxpayer of Texas any additional funds and the Trees will be spared. Rather than keeping the new road’s grassy median, they will compress the planned median , thereby  decreasing the width of the new road and the result is saving the historical trees.

Living in the United States

Old Oaks_2014Words spoken by Famous Man 

I have read and re-read this following statement and I cannot find one single part of that is not totally true, or should be true. I’m sure that some of you may be offended by this quote and more likely even more so with my review and comments about the quote. All I can say is, get over it! Simply because they are MY opinion!

Take a moment and read this quote, ponder on it and attempt to determine why it was said. Then try to lay your preconceived ideas of hate and racism aside and allow me to respond to what I believe this quote meant then and if anything has changed to actually make it’s assertion obsolete now!

“In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here does in good faith become an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with every one else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed or birthplace or origin. But this is predicated upon the man’s becoming in every fact an American and nothing but an American. 

“If he tries to keep segregated with men of his own origin and separated from the rest of America, then he isn’t doing his part as an American. 

“We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile. We have room for but one language here and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, and American nationality, and not as dwellers in a polyglot boarding house; and we have room for but one soul [sic] loyalty, and that is loyalty to the American people.”

Riverway RV Park Magenta_2014“American or America” in the above statement is a term historically indicating the United States of America and the citizens of the United States of America.

“Immigrant” in the above statement historical means “legal  immigrant”  in todays language, as back during the time when this statement made, there were no illegal immigrants.

Now with that being said,  let’s point out the immigration laws that were being enacted at the time this quote was made were without a doubt not perfect, as a matter of fact, some were quite terrible:

1891

Immigration Act of 1891 creates the Bureau of Immigration, which falls under the Treasury Department. The act also calls for the deportation of people who entered the country illegally and denies entry for polygamists, the mentally ill, and those with contagious diseases.

1892

The Geary Act strengthens the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 by requiring Chinese laborers to carry a resident permit at all times. Failure to do so could result in deportation or a sentence to hard labor. It also extends for another 10 years the ban on Chinese becoming citizens.

Ellis Island opens. It served as the primary immigration station of the U.S. between 1892 and 1954, processing some 12 million immigrants. By some estimates, 40% of all Americans have a relative who passed through Ellis Island.

1903

Congress passes the Anarchist Exclusion Act, which denies anarchists, other political extremists, beggars, and epileptics entry into the U.S. It’s the first time individuals are banned from the U.S. based on political beliefs.

1906

The Naturalization Act of 1906 creates the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization and places it under the jurisdiction of the Commerce Department. The act also requires immigrants to learn English before they can become citizens.

1907

The Immigration Act of 1907 broadens the categories of people banned from immigrating to the U.S. The list excludes “imbeciles,” “feeble-minded” people, those with physical or mental disabilities that prevent them from working, tuberculosis victims, children who enter the U.S. without parents, and those who committed crimes of “moral turpitude.”

The “Gentleman’s Agreement” between the U.S. and Japan ends the immigration of Japanese workers.

Congress passes the Expatriation Act of 1907 that says women must adopt the citizenship of their husbands. Therefore, women who marry foreigners lose their U.S. citizenship unless their husbands become citizens.

It seems to me that these laws were being implemented at the time for one reason only, protecting the United States and her citizens from the dangers of the world. So tell me what is wrong with demanding/requiring when someone wants to come and live in America, they come with the understanding that they will receive all benefits of being an American, as long as they live as an American.

Well, what does this mean, or better yet, what does this means to me, It’s simple, we don’t have to have Mexican-Americans, Italian-Americans, African-Americans, Muslim-Americans, etc. etc, etc.  Instead the United States would have Americans  of Mexican decent living in the U.S., Americans of an Italian decent living in the U.S., Americans of African decent living the U.S., Americans of Muslim decent living in the U.S., etc.. Making the point that all of us are Americans and not some hyphenated American!

If an immigrant wants to come to America and live as they did in the place they came from, they just need to go back, plain and simple! If that immigrant wants to live under sharia law, then go where they practice sharia law, as Americans  we live within or under our Constitution and nothing else. United States of America is a nation of laws, if you as a citizen, non-citizen, White, Black, Brown, Tan skinned person, obey these laws or suffer the penalty to be assessed. If you feel you are not guilty, the remedy under the law is to present your case before the court, not to fight the police!

If an immigrant comes to America, yet wants to fly the flag of another country, then they need to go to that country or to a place where that flag is welcome. It is only allowed in one location in America and that is the United Nations facility in New York!

Americans only speak one language, English, period!

If for some reason you believe this statement is mistaken, wrong or maybe incomplete, please let me know, just do it nice!

Oh, by the way, the above statement was written in a letter circa 1919, by one Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States, 1901 to 1909!