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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Doctor's office visit today

I wasn't improving, had a bad night, and worried I wouldn't be up to speed for my jaunt this weekend, so reluctantly, as always, I went to see one of my nurse practitioners. She seems to think that because I didn't have a fever, and because I have a long history* of asthma from pollen, smoke, etc., that explains my problem. And she stressed that it's a very serious condition. (You think? What's serious about thinking every breath is your last?)

So anyway, they gave me a steroid shot, some kind of inhaling therapy there in the office for about 30 minutes, and a prescription for some stuff I have to start taking tomorrow. Also sent me home with an inhaler that she cautioned me was long-acting and under no conditions dare I use it more than once a day. She said to use it today one hour after leaving the office treatment. So one hour later as I was heading down Snake Road I stopped and did as I had been instructed. But when I inhaled into it, I immediately began a violent coughing spasm. Doubt any of it made it into my lungs, much less got held there for 10 seconds. But no way dare I try it again. What was, was.

She had also wanted to give me antibiotics, but I declined. I said if there was a specific pathogen that I was confirmed to have, I would, but not just a general blanket shot. She knows me pretty well, didn't argue a bit. In fact, I sensed that when she asked, she already knew what my answer would be, but felt to cover all bases, she should offer. And she did elicit a promise from me that if I got bad again I'd go to the ER. I'm not so bad off I guess. It's been two years since I needed my inhaler.

Tons of butterflies along Snake Rd. Saw this gorgeous Black Swallowtail amid waves of them. This one lay in the road unable to fly. I couldn't resist collecting it. For what purpose I have no idea.


Hummer activity was way up from last time. It took me a long, long time to service and clean my feeders. Seems the steroid shot or something caused my fingers to seize up when I tried to use them. They would just freeze in some cramped position and refuse to do anything. Hence almost no photos. Finally managed to get the feeders done, but wasn't able to pull weeds. Can only type sporadically with a few fingers even now. Sure hope it's gone tomorrow. But my breathing is good now, and my energy has moved slightly up the scale from zero. 

The javelina must have taken pity on me. They tried to help clean the weeds from the walkways.


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* My first asthma attack was from pollen and/or pollution in Phoenix around 1960. In those days before unleaded gasoline the air made your eyes burn... literally. I've never smoked a cigarette, but inhaled my share of second-hand smoke.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

More than allergies

 I suspected that after staying indoors for three days while it rained outside there couldn't be enough pollen floating around to give me this much grief. Had to be more going on, so I went online and researched. Here's something I came across. "Cases of walking pneumonia are most common in the late summer and fall..... there are widespread outbreaks every four to eight years. When those outbreaks occur, walking pneumonia can account for as many as one out of every two cases of pneumonia." It says lots of things can cause it, such as resulting from lung infections caused by microorganisms and fungi. I'm convinced that when I get a lot of pollen irritating my lungs, they become susceptible to pneumonia bacteria or bronchitis. Bronchitis is also caused by pollution or dust, so it could be that. My only real symptom is just asthma. Can't breathe.

Looking back on my blog, I think the problem started around the 16th of September when I went to Cibolo Creek and couldn't get my energies up. Wading for hours in the cold water probably didn't help. So it's only really been 10 days. Seems like much longer. October of 2014 was the last time I had this problem. Glad it's not every year anyway. Hopefully, I'll figure out how to prevent these episodes from developing to begin with.


When Brian was here a week ago he collected four teensy Question Mark caterpillars to raise. On my post of Sep 21st I showed one of them. The others were hidden behind leaves. Now, here they are today. Incredible how they've grown. The fourth one is hidden behind the stem between the bottom one and middle one. You'll have to look hard to see it.









































Monday, September 26, 2016

Making plans

The last few days have been cold and rainy. The oasis probably got about an inch, but long and slow, with no runoff. Still good though. It keeps me from having to water for at least a week.

I ordered a new Lumix that has a sensor four times larger than my old one. It's a camera like Desha's, a FZ1000, versus my old FZ70. Desha takes great photos with that model, so I'm determined to learn how, too. I refuse to accept failure. And it's time for me get a lighter camera. My big Canon is a killer for me to haul around. And it isn't going to get easier, unfortunately. The new camera will arrive Friday. It's going to be a huge challenge for me since I'm still not taking good photos with my old Lumix. But "can't" isn't a word I use very often. I usually say "the difficult I do right away and the impossible takes a little longer."

Then Saturday I plan to go oding with both my Canon (sort of my security blanket) and my new Lumix. The plan is to go to an area between Rocksprings and Uvalde (along the Nueces River) for some highly desired lifers. Likely, I'll spend the night with good friends. Ode season is almost over and it'll be my last decent chance for the year. One of my New Year's resolutions was to do an oding trip this year. I had the Lower Rio Grande Valley in mind, but feel that's a little too ambitious for me to deal with at this time. I've been sickly with allergies, or something, for a couple of weeks now. Without my inhaler I'd be in the ER as I write this. So I've toned down my current ambitions.

When Brian was here he found lots of Tawny Emperor eggs and caterpillars. Because normally most would be parasitized by wasps, he put a net around an egg cluster. At some point, I'll have to remove the bag, but for now they're safe.


So hopefully I'll get some good Tawny Emperor photos in the spring, or whenever, if some survive. The first Tawny I photographed was old and worn, and the others were inside a net feeding station. I want the Tawnys to be fresh, and hopefully, in sunshine when I photograph them.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Boys at it again

My son came from Austin to do some more sign work at the Triangle. This evening they worked on the canopy over the pumps and added to the big sign they put up last time. On this first photo he's putting the blue stripe around the canopy. It had been red.






































Tomorrow they're going to put stuff (sorry I can't be more technical) on the pumps themselves.

I've been staying indoors as much as possible, but still my allergies are miserable. Cooler and rain forecast. Maybe that will help.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Truckin' and pluckin'

The oasis is really weedy, which isn't unusual after monsoon rains. Sometimes it takes me until spring to get things back under control. One year rains came in early spring and by the time my birding groups arrived they could hardly walk anywhere without wading knee-deep in wildflowers/weeds. But I'm sure I'll get it under control. Just keep pluckin.' My allergies and bad back slow me down. Here is how many areas of my pathways look.


A nice fresh Common Buckeye...


Still lots of Spot-winged Gliders...



And here are some caterpillars that are up to no good. I forget what kind they are, but they denude things of leaves.



Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Butterflying with Brian

Brian visited recently and gave me glimpses into a world I wouldn't otherwise see. For example, here are some Tawny Emperor eggs he found in the vicinity of where I saw my lifer Tawny a couple of months ago.


And some Tawny caterpillars...


Next is a pupa hull (exuvia) from one that successfully hatched (eclosed).


And here's a Tawny pupa (chrysalis) that was parasitized and failed to eclose. Apparently that's very common. 


And here are photos I took of Tawnys at his feeding station. When I shooed them away from the net for a better photo they shot straight to the top of the highest tree. So much for that.

Female

Male

Here's Brian looking for Question Mark caterpillars in a neighbor's hackberry tree. (With neighbor's approval.)


And here is a Question Mark caterpillar on a small hackberry leaf. It's that tiny dark spot on the leaf. I measured it. It's less than 1/8" long.


While I was waiting on Brian to find whatever he was looking for yesterday I shot my best in-flight shot of a Red-Tailed Hawk.