Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Having no idea what to expect, we entered the museum and saw containers of marbles from the floor to the ceiling. On the upper shelf were fifteen hundred one quart mason jars, all filled with marbles. Custom shelves were filled with labeled examples of the multitude of different size marbles made from just about every glass, rock, and pottery material available. The floor even had display of the cheaper more common marbles for sale.
ps the violent storms missed us but the temperatures have dropped and we may delay our trip north for a few more days
Sunday, April 24, 2016
That night I heard several helicopters that sounded really close, and they were! Right next to the park is a emergency medical center and helicopters land there to fly patients to the nearest hospital. The plan was to stay there for two nights but the Weather Chanel was predicting big storms and high winds so we left the next day and drove to Ardmore, Oklahoma.
Tomorrow the wind is supposed to be somewhat calm and we will try to drive to York, Nebraska. The forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday is getting worse so again once there we will sit for a few nights and watch the weather. Clear skies
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Our plan, which is still kind of intact is to make short drives of about 200 miles, stop at about two pm, and stay for two nights. That plan is an old rver plan called the 222 and is a great way to see the country, taking time to smell the flowers. It's a great plan when you are retired.
Friday, April 15, 2016
It’s not unusual to see a tricolored heron, (which was also called the Louisiana heron), they are often seen wading and feeding as we bird along the Coastal Bend. What is unusual is to see a whole flock and we both spotted the flock gliding in for a landing as evening approached. They alit on an empty flooded tree, next to the Rookery as there simply wasn’t room in the nursery.
Still they didn’t settle and one or two would take off and then land, or try to land. However they were apparently intimidated by the great egrets, double crested cormorants, and perhaps the rosette spoonbills which are all much larger birds.
Meanwhile the raucous noisy of the Rookery continued unabated. It was a constant calliope of different sounds as the busy business of nesting continued. The birds descended/evolved, from dinosaurs and it probably was about what it was like when herds of dinosaurs gathered together to make nests, and raise their young.
Anyone who loves dinosaurs should see and hear what is going on here, after all the dinosaurs are still with us, it’s just that we call them birds. There are other rookeries in other states, the one on Avery Island comes to mind, but none allow you to be as close as the one here.
The Rookery is part of the birding woods called the Smiths Oak Woods, and as we walked the other paths we spotted a flock of Cedar Waxwings, feeding on a Mulberry Tree. Such trees are great places to spot warblers but none were feeding as we watched.
We also walked the paths of the Boy Scout Woods, another great place to spot warblers, but we have never caught it when this area was as good as the warblers and Buntings on Grand Isle, Louisiana. Unfortunately we aren’t going there this spring as we need to reach Wyoming in early May.
So we have refreshed our minds with the images of the Rookery and are ready to leave Texas. Now we are waiting in Livingston for a break in the weather as we head north to Rapid City. Oh and a reminder to everyone keep on looking up for the birds beautiful spring breeding colors! Perhaps you will spot a male painted bunting. Clear skies
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Friday, April 8, 2016
It was time to leave our winter camp at Fulton, so saying goodbye to our friends we drove north to Matagorda, Texas. There we stopped to fish for a few days and maybe enjoy the site of the cattle drive across the Colorado River.
The fishing has usually been great but this time we arrived to muddy waters, muddy not only from the high winds but also from the heavy rains that had brought down the flood waters of the Colorado.
Still we hoped to catch some red and black drum so baiting with dead shrimp and cut mullet we cast out our lines.
Waiting patiently two hours went by before my reel screamed with the run of a big fish.
I picked up the pole and started to reel as the fish continued its run. As I started to wind the circle hook pulled free and the fish was gone. No matter as I cast out another piece of cut mullet. It was my only bite for the next three days.
Occasionally a whiting would hit, or a sheephead. Roy and I both caught keeper gaff top catfish. We did see a couple of black drum caught but that was it. Renita showed up and I rigged her a slip bobber with a piece of live shrimp.
She soon had a fish on and then another. Before the day was over she ended up catching her limit of sheephead. Adding those to the stringer we had enough to have a fish fry. Dave and Jane showed up and Dave cooked the fish in his turkey fryer, (I wish I had room for one in our rig as it also works for fish and crab boils, but we can only carry so much stuff). The last day the water got even muddier and so the only excitement was the cattle drive.
It wasn’t till five pm that the cowboys herded the cattle into the Colorado and guided by two boats they began the swim. Everyone held their breaths as the cows and calf swam the muddy waters. Unfortunately one cow broke its leg but the rest all made it. Having watched too many alligator and shark movies we were pleased to see that none showed up to chomp on fresh beef.
The next day was time to leave and our next stop, on the long drive to our summer camp in Wyoming,was a short one to High Island, Texas. So putting the fish poles away we hooked up and headed north. Hopefully the fish will be biting better next year. Clear skies
Monday, April 4, 2016
We took a break from fishing and headed over to Port Aransas. There we wanted to go to the three birding centers where we would hopefully be able to see a rosette spoonbill. The spoon bills are mostly in the rookeries now and we are not sure where of the locations of their nesting sites.
Crossing the ferry we turned right, just past the convenience store, Park Street, and headed to Charlies Pasture. As we drove along the shore we noticed two men filming dolphins. Now this is not unusual but these dolphins were leaping out of the water, chasing each other, and behaving unlike anything we had seen before.
As we got out, the two locals said that the dolphins were engaged in mating behavior and in dolphin world that means, well basically a group orgy. The dolphins couldn’t care less about us and raced by the seawall so close that we could reach out and touch them!
There were three groups/pods and everywhere we looked it was dolphin love! Amazed we watched for a while, tried to take numerous images, and basically talked about how lucky we were, (what a year tortoise and dolphin sex). Finally we decided we had seen enough and so we returned to the truck in search of spoonbills.
As we drove away a spoonbill rose from the road ditch and everyone saw it. It was dressed in its bright pink breeding plumage, with a darker red band along both wings. It was lucky we did spot it as we never saw another one that day.
We skipped stopping at Charley’s Pasture as the mosquitos were about as bad as they can get when birding in a salt marsh. Arriving at the Leona Turnball Center we walked along the cement sidewalk, enjoying the profusion of flowers and blooms, almost all identified by small signs. I knew Bob was a botanist and so the blooms were a special treat.
On the boardwalk, we were also able to check off alligator, one large, black necked stilts, and the ever present tricolored heron. Many species were gone however, besides the spoonbills, but still it was an enjoyable morning.
After eating lunch, where the fish were not local caught, boo, we drove to Paradise Pond. There we were able to see several birds, including a Louisiana water thrush, a night heron, and my favorite, a Northern Parula. The Parula’s flitted in the underbrush and actually lit several feet away giving me a great close up view.
As it was time to head back we returned to the ferry. No long wait now as spring break is over and we were able to drive right on. We all talked of the highlights of the day and everyone agreed that the three pods of dolphins topped the list! Clear skies