A Texas Winter Like Never Before

I took my phone to check the weather for the next day, February 15th, 2021. The weather app gave a snow storm warning and had a 100% chance of snow on Monday. I was obliterated by the shocking fact of snow IN TEXAS. The last time there was a snowstorm in Texas that was severe happened in 1989! All night I had twisted and turned in my bed longing for the sun to rise.

As soon as my Google mini alarm clock rang, I got up faster than the speed of light and rushed to my window to see the snow. I was speechless. The blanket of snow made Texas have a true winter. I quickly brushed my teeth and put on my maroon, cozy hoodie and a teal winter coat that I’ve never used, and rushed out into Bob Ross’s art. The most beautiful form of water was laid out onto the side-walk, roofs, dead grass, and everywhere else where the sun touches the ground. The crisp snow underneath my cold shoes gave a surreal feeling like I’m not in Texas. My mom was out with me and we tried to make a snowman like Olaf. It looked like the deformed version of the Grinch. Can it get much worse than that? Apparently, there was a massive power outage that took over most of Texas leaving more than four million people without power. Unfortunately, our power left my family at 8:00 in the morning.

Blanket of snow
Me making a snow Angel

Instead of whining for no power, I went out and made a snow angel for the first time. Ironically, I didn’t expect it to look like an actual angel! I hurried back inside to have breakfast. My go-to meal was milk with Nesquik chocolate powder. After I finished my chocolate milk, my mom put on proper winter clothing and we decided to go for a walk on the white, frigid blanket. When I stepped out of the home, tons of birds were eating from my bird feeder. My mom and I walked cautiously to not disturb the birds. We started our walk around the block and felt the snow underneath us every step of the way. The snow crackled and made these abnormal sounds.

Northern Cardinal
Goldfinch

Near the end of the block, out of the blue, were three birds that looked like they came out of a rock concert. They had “mascara”, “Mohawks”, and they looked so colorful. The black eyeliner on the bird made it look elegant and exquisite, while the crest on its head looks wild and savage. The tint of the blue, yellow, and vibrant red looks like it popped out of Picasso’s art. It was called a Cedar Waxwing and they were probably the most angelic bird I’ve ever seen in my 13 years of life. I filmed them with shaky hands from awe and joy. After a few minutes of being awestruck, I ran to get a better quality camera, the Nikon camera, but when I came back they were gone. I came back home and my mom decided to go for another round of walking to see if I can capture a picture of the waxwings. Suddenly, I saw more Cedar Waxwings on a crystal, clear puddle on the concrete road drinking water. I took a picture with a push of a button, but the snow that surrounded the water and the birds reflected the light from the sun causing the picture to look white. They flew away after a quick sip and I watched them go to a tree on the opposite side of the street. I took a few pictures here and there and quickly crossed the road with my mom. Sadly, the birds flew away due to a threat of a potential predator(me and my mom). On the flip side, I did get some pretty great shots and saw these new funky birds.

Cedar waxwing
Video of cedar Waxwing

In the evening, I had to set up romantic fake candle lights to brighten up the home, since there was no power. We had NO WIFI, which was a nightmare, but we did do some “family bonding”, and thankfully the fireplace was working. We had plenty of food, and our stove was a gas stove, so making food wasn’t a problem. My parents slept in the living room while I slept in my room. The day next was similar with a little bit of melted snow, but it was worse because the house was cold as a fridge and there was no WiFi. We would go to Whole Foods occasionally and connect to their WiFi and see the news. We spent another 24 hours without power until at 3:25 AM when the power came back on. We had 43 hours without power.

I was overjoyed but I felt like exploding like a volcano because our water pipe burst and left us without water. The plumber came on Wednesday and fixed the pipe what turned out to be a sprinkler pipe. During these times, I learned that snow can bring us happiness but also danger. The most important thing I learned though is, Texas CANNOT handle two inches of snow.

Hawk vs Squirrel- 1/16/2021

Let’s just say that the squirrel wasn’t even close to winning…

I was slightly awake until my mom screamed at me that THERE’S A HAWK THAT KILLED THE SQUIRREL THAT WAS CHILLING ON OUR FRONT PORCH. I leaped out of my bed like a frog and rushed to the window without my contacts and squinted to find the hawk that strangled the defenseless squirrel. I almost exploded from deep anger because I couldn’t see where the hawk was until my mom zoomed in on her phone to show me. I went lightning speed to put on my contacts and I came back out. In a much clearer vision, I saw how the Cooper’s Hawk’s talons were right on top of the Eastern Gray Squirrel’s head like it wanted to pop its eyeballs out. The hawk then wobbled over like a penguin to a ‘secret location'(our front porch) and proceeded to rip it’s guts out of the squirrel revealing the blood, clots, and intestines. Right then my mom was out. Gone like the wind unlike me who was watching very intently. Did I mention that my mom lost her appetite? It was the same way I watch whenever I look at a BBC documentary or a National Geographic documentary. Eyes open and my connection to the world is gone. It’s like the feeling whenever I switch from transparency to noise cancelation mode on my AirPod Pro. I grab my Nikon camera and imagine that I’m filming a documentary for BBC and David Attenborough narrated it. The hawk was pretty cautious and very aware of its surroundings. One sound and its head was up scanning the area. After 20 minutes of gore and slaughter, the Blue Jays came to shoo away the hawk from their territory. First, one Blue Jay came and then another. After the hawk saw that he grabbed the squirrel by the neck, heaved the squirrel, and he launched out of the bushes and into the trees across the street. Seconds and not even minutes after the hawk went, Northern Cardinals, Northern Mockingbirds, Blue Jays, Chickadees, and more rushed to eat the seeds that they have been waiting patiently for. It was like nothing even happened. Now I see why these birds are omnivores and not carnivores. Couple of hours later, a squirrel came and sniffed at the same spot where the hawk was eating the other squirrel. I felt a remorse and was quite forlorn at the sight of this. That’s when it hit me. I was pretty inarticulate when I realized that was the squirrel’s partner. Now the partner was gone. Vanished. Into thin air. But this is nature. They will all eventually forget and also die. Nothing is meant to last long in this world. Only the one and only Mother Nature.

A feast for thy hawk. This is for mobile viewers

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1q4NcQCIMTNKQYcEr1GgjmguFs6ehEvgH/view?usp=drivesdk This is the link for viewers on a computer.

California Wildfires: An Annual Disaster For Mountain Lions

The sky has been taken over by a demon in California.
The menacing, crimson-red grin tearing apart the once
bright, pale leaves on the trees. The grass perishes into
ashes never to be seen again. A limping mountain lion
and two ash-covered cubs dart around the gushing
flames and onto the highway. Before they know it, their
bodies touch the metal frame of the car and slowly fall
onto the tar road heading to heaven.

Captain Cal is a 4-pound California mountain
lion cub taken by Oakland Zoo under captivity
and treatment to cure the wildfire burns and
grow into a healthy, living animal. Captain Cal’s
mother was burned to death in the Zogg Fire.

What causes these threatening wildfires?

Over 4 million acres of land in California has been burned down into smithereens this year, breaking the record of 2 million acres burnt in 2018. The temperatures and the wind speed skyrocket, encouraging the wildfire to unleash its worst potential. That is only one of the reasons. Scientists say that California’s changing climate is the #1 reason why there are so many fires, unlike other states. According to Park Williams, a bio-climatologist, “As long the stuff is dry, and there is a spark, then that stuff will burn.”Secondly, people are another cause of wildfires. For instance, at a gender reveal party, a fire ignited by fireworks burned thousands of acres. Firefighters only contained 16% of the El Dorado (the fire’s name). Every fall, an air current called Santa Ana Winds brings dry air from the Great Basin in the Sierra Nevada to California. The air stretches across the mountains and gets pressurized and warm becoming less moist. The gust speed is about 40-60 miles per hour benefiting California wildfires. Overall, the wildfires are generated by many factors but there are some that we can prevent such as fireworks.

Wildfire impact on mountain lions

The mountain lions are already facing habitat destruction from builders cutting down trees to create stores. Because of this, cougars have less territory and may also inbreed. In other words, when mountain lions have habitat loss, their region shrinks, and the father may even mate with his
child. Since the fire had burned at least 26,000 acres of their habitat, their habitat shrunk even more. When wildfires come in the puma’s territory, they tend to move away from the fires and lurk somewhere else, such as farms with livestock to eat. After they move back into the area where
the fire was, the cougars would burn their paws and starve to death because they can’t hunt with their retractable claws. According to a study, wildfires can create deer grazing areas which can increase deer population, but it is a problem for cougars. The mountain lion’s main diet is hunting
deer although they like a dense forest to hunt in and their prey is not in plain sight. The increase in wildfires poses a threat to the mountain lion’s environment.

Importance of mountain lions

Mountain lions are known as an “umbrella species,” meaning that saving their habitat will save other organisms habitats as well. They stabilize the herbivore’s population such as deer. If there were no mountain lions, deers would over-graze and not let the plants grow back. The cougars play an indirect role in the California ecosystem showing what the cost would be if there were none. Mountain lions also compete with other carnivores such as coyotes and bears so they balance their preys population.

California Fires 2020

Mountain lion habitat range in California

The habitat for mountain lions range from the North of California to South California which is a dense forest and mountainous terrain. The cougar’s natural environment is the same as the wildfire’s causing the puma’s habitat to shrink. In the two maps above, there are four different wildfires in the circle of the cougar’s habitat. Most of the fire has been contained although the trees were burned.

Twin mountain lion cubs rescued from the Zogg fire; their mom died in the fire. The Oakland Zoo are planning to introduce them to Captain Cal.

Citations: Credit goes to Oakland Zoo for Captain Cal and the twins. Props to them!

Grizzly Hunt

Hello, today I am going to tell you about a special moment in my life.

In out of my 14 days of my road trip to Grand Teton National Park, this day stood out the most to me. My family and I took a road trip for 14 days to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. Around 7 PM in a scenery location called Willow Flats in Grand Teton National Park,  we saw a herd of elk munching on some delicious willow. My parents and I decided to wait to see what happens because we had nothing else to do. I observed the behavior of the elk’s and I noticed one thing in particular. They ran away from certain bush spots which caught my eye. I’ve also noticed that the elk was being more playful in my opinion and didn’t watch out for predators. As the sun began to set and the moon became luminous, elk calves were screaming like toddlers and were running around like they were mad. Suddenly the screaming stopped and the eerie noise of the blood-sucking musquitos made my body feel numb. 

My parents whispered, “Let’s go back to our cabin and get some sleep.”

I replied, “Five more minutes.” I glance at my phone to see the time and it was 9:40 PM. We decided to wait for those five minutes and observed what was going to happen.  Exactly at 9:45 PM, a big male grizzly popped out of one of the bushes and charged at the elk herd. Elk’s were crying, crossing roads, and ran everywhere to get away from the bear. At one point the bear got confused because all the elk split up and he didn’t know what to do. Sadly, the hunting action was over and it was too dark to see the bear going back to its den. I still can’t get over the fact that we captured a National Geographic moment. Thank you for listening to my memoir.

Day 9 of my adventure to Yellowstone NP and grand Teton NP

GO TO THIS LINK TO SEE ALL THE PICTURES AND VIDEOS OF MY TRIP! 👉Yellowstone and Grand Teton Trip 2020 👈

We left early to go to Jenny Lake, and we suddenly saw a bear in the meadow. It was a cinnamon black bear! We were the first to spot it, create a bear jam, and have the rangers come. The bear was taking a stroll in the meadows on a hot day. I saw the bear look for food and looked at us! I asked the ranger that came to control the traffic where can we find moose. He said to go to a place labeled, Moose Wilson. Moose Wilson was along the way to Jenny Lake, so we went there. Since Jenny Lake was too crowded, we just went to Moose Wilson, and we saw two female moose! We saw one in the water and one eating willow. We came to Willow Flats after the moose sighting and saw what the elk was doing. The elk was now cautious and very smart for what they planned. They went up the hill because they know the bear will lose energy as it goes up the higher elevation. We saw a glimpse of the bear, but it was too dark to see. The bear was very determined to get a baby elk. The last day of my trip can be one of the glorious moments to view wildlife in their natural habitats.

MOOSE

Day 8 of my adventure to Yellowstone NP and grand Teton NP

GO TO THIS LINK TO SEE ALL THE PICTURES AND VIDEOS OF MY TRIP! 👉Yellowstone and Grand Teton Trip 2020 👈

It was a cloudy day, and we wanted to go canoeing. After it rained for some time, we rushed to the canoe rental shop and rented a canoe. They gave us a map, lifejackets, a boat, and three oars. When we went, the water was pretty calm, but when we came back, that’s a whole other story. There were a lot of bald eagles 🦅 around because there is a sanctuary there for bald eagles. It was full of suspense and scenery. When we wanted to come back ashore, there were swells and waves just coming and coming and never stopping. At one point, the canoe almost tipped over. Thankfully, we made it back to the dock safely. After that, we went to the Willow Flats Overlook to spot some bears. There was a herd of elk, and they were always running away from the bushes. Therefore, precisely 9:45 PM, the grizzly came out the bushes and ran to hunt the elk calves, but the grizzly didn’t catch one. My mom got so excited that she left her slippers there! I got too excited that I ditched my phone on the car’s sunroof. Thankfully, it didn’t fall off and I was able to retrieve it. I couldn’t stop dreaming about the adventures I had today.

No words to say…

Day 7 of my adventure to Yellowstone NP and grand Teton NP

GO TO THIS LINK TO SEE ALL THE PICTURES AND VIDEOS OF MY TRIP! 👉Yellowstone and Grand Teton Trip 2020 👈

Today we departed from Yellowstone and went to Grand Teton National Park to stay in Colter Bay Village for a couple of days. We drove around to glimpse at some wildlife, but nothing was there. Since I couldn’t find any wildlife on this day, I felt bored throughout the day. On the other hand, there was beautiful scenery around Grand Teton.

Before Grand Teton NP

Day 6 of my adventure to Yellowstone NP and grand Teton NP

GO TO THIS LINK TO SEE ALL THE PICTURES AND VIDEOS OF MY TRIP! 👉Yellowstone and Grand Teton Trip 2020 👈

Today my parents and I chose to go to Fairy Falls and also see the grand prismatic overlook. I saw the first elk calf ever with at least 20 elks near my old cabin. We got prepared to go hike, so we drove to Fairy Falls. Along the way, not far from the other elk herd, three bull elk were chilling together. Two of them had ten-point, and the other one had twelve-point. During the 6-mile hike round trip, we saw chipmunks and ground squirrels. And of course, the Grand Prismatic Spring. I became exhausted, and I was striving to walk. But the falls were worth it!

Fairy Falls