Autumn’s Creeping in Slowly in the Lost Pines

Tammy Brown

Autumn’s Creeping In Slowly

Autumn’s creeping in slowly this year in the Lost Pines.  The elms leaves disappeared without any showy display of yellow.  The invasive but lovely Chinese Tallows have yet to flame orange or red.  Bird feeders in Bastrop County are hanging full in quiet yards, and the autumn birds are slow in arriving.  We have had only a few cool mornings as October ends. Although I haven’t published a post in almost a month, I have started and never finished several threads so here are some snippets of what’s been happening at Little Piney.


The birds have been scarce here the past month, so I’ve been chasing butterflies. Here are a few of the visiting Lepidoptera.

Fall Party

The highlight of the season so far was a Fall celebration at Little Piney. When friends asked if there was an occasion for the party, I said no, but maybe there was an occasion. It has been almost two years since since we first drove down the long dirt road lined with towering pines for our first visit to Little Piney. It was love at first sight for me. I saw the huge pines, the green fields, the golden wildflowers, the red and gold leaves reflected in the lake, and I was smitten. A huge double-trunked pine I named “twin sisters” spoke to me. This was just two months after my mother’s death.  It was awhile before I realized what it all represented to me, but I knew that this place was meant to be mine.

So, in fact, the party was a celebration of Little Piney and what it has meant to me for healing, for growth, and creative development, and it was perfect!  Our guests were a mix of family, new friends, and dear old friends with an age span of 6 to 70’s.  I cooked chili all day, and guests brought salad, cornbread and desserts. We had a wonderful band, Distant Lights, who surprised everyone with their amazing talent and sweet, positive energy. A full moon– a “super moon”–rose over the pond to illuminate the party and cast it’s glow like a blessing.


    Fall has been unusually still and quiet at Little Piney–feeders hanging full and hopeful with only a few House Finches partaking, and not a single bather to notice whether the bird baths were wet or dry. My neighbors told the same story but still I double-checked the seed quality and scanned the trees for migrants and winter birds.

    I was thrilled three weeks ago when  the Eastern Phoebes came back!  I love these friendly little birds that follow me around the place posing for portraits.  Since then, I’ve seen two Osprey, an Orange-crowned Warbler, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and two Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers.  The Yellow-rumped Warblers are back though in small numbers, and I got a brief look at a Sparrow!

    These two interesting birds were perched above the lake on different days–a Muscovy Duck and an Osprey with a fish in its talons.


    This critter passed by the back window in broad daylight–big, healthy coyote!


    Alongside the Canoe

    This Muscovy Duck is a domestic species which is reflected in its friendly behavior.

    Muscovy Duck Bastrop TX
    Muscovy Duck


    This Water Moccasin stood its ground and watched our canoe pass before crossing to the opposite creek bank.  Although the Water Moccasin is poisonous, it is seldom bites unless cornered or stepped on.  That’s not too comforting to me because I’m always looking up at the birds!

    Water Moccasin, Bastrop TX
    Water Moccasin



    1. The birds may have been scarce, but my visit to Little Piney on Saturday was a delightful treat nonetheless. Such quiet, serene beauty. And maybe next time there’ll be the added attraction of some feathered critters! 🙂

      1. Paul, It was delightful to spend that time with you! Let’s plan another morning. They will be out with the next chilly morning!

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