Monday, April 27, 2020

Sunrise over Aransas Bay

Each morning I wake up early and after a cup of coffee I grab my pole and head down to the rv park shore front. Sometimes I am joined by a friend Dan, who also casts for the speckled trout, (Dan and Barb are friends here and we spend happy hour with them while keeping a correct social distance).
This morning the sky cleared and even though the wind was strong, we enjoyed the sunrise, while trying to cast our lures into a strong east-southeast wind. It doesn’t really matter if Dan or I catch anything, it’s just being outside and of course keeping a correct social distance.
This morning the fish did hit and after losing three fish, I managed to catch a sixteen inch keeper along with an undersized speckled trout. Another fisherman joined us and he even though he used live shrimp, he never had a bite, (I have gained a lot of confidence in throwing crankbaits).
This time of year, we should be in Louisiana, birding at the Grand Isle Biding Festival along with enjoying the Blessing of the Fleet, and we miss our time with my sister Connie and her husband. I know they are also practicing safety first and are keeping to their house.
A few days ago, Renita and I, along with Barb and Dan, (we traveled in separate cars), traveled to Port Aransas to go birding at three birding areas. Renita had called the day before and they all were open as long as we practiced social distancing and wearing, masks. Crossing the ferry, the first stop was at the Leorna Turnbill Birding Boardwalk.
Dan takes great wildlife images and he and Barb had never been to the birding sites. As we walked out on the boardwalk, we pointed out different species. There were fewer birds than the last time, so I concentrated on trying to take some good shots of some of my favorites.
The black necked stilts were engaging in courtship dancing which consisted of jumping up and down. Three males were trying to attract the attention of a nearby female and she seemed to be enjoying the display.  It was a short drive to Paradise Pond. They were two other vehicles parked there but each only had one other person and wearing masks, all of us practiced social distancing.
The male American avocets were in their breeding plumage and I took a great image of one of them. I also got some shots of a blue winged teal, mottled ducks, and the ever present northern shovelers. Returning to the cars we drove to the next stop.
It was a short drive to Paradise Pond.There were only a few birds there but one bird. A Baltimore Oriole flew back and forth pausing in nearby bush for a nice image,( or at least as good as I could take). Other birds there were mottled ducks, common grackles, and a little grey bird that none of us were able to identify. Next stop was at Charlies Pasture. Deciding it was a good place for lunch we headed up to the pavilion where an online yoga class was being filmed. Renita and I once took a yoga class and while it was fun the instructor had a difficult time keeping from laughing as I fell over in some of the poses. Deciding it was best to just watch we tried to be silent until the instructor was finished and then set up or picnic lunch.

During the meal, several eastern meadowlarks landed near us. Barb spotted a Cara Cara across the bay and a yellow warbler flew back and forth between bushes allowing me to get a fairly good image.
There were also American White Ibis feeding in the nearby bay, which had formed when a breach occurred during Hurricane Harvey.
On the way back to our rv park Renita and I stopped at a new birding area near Paradise Cove. No one else was there, and we spotted huge mullet, working their way in the muddy shallows. A tricolor heron posed, along with a reddish egret, but the best image I took was of a common tern in flight.
It was a good day birding with friends and now we have settled down to keeping safe for the next fourteen days before we head north by northwest to our place in Wyoming. It is time to leave the flat Coastal Bend of Texas and see Mountains, bears moose, and antelope. The snow in the park has melted and is scheduled to be open May 15th. Clear skies

Tuesday, April 21, 2020


I didn’t have a bite on the first cast, but the next two resulted in bumps, which usually means small fish. Another cast and I was hooked up. Fighting the undersized trout in I released it hoping that the thrashing of the fish had not alerted another fisherman.
My hope was to no avail as I saw a triangular shaped fin approaching. Hoping it was a shark, (I like grilled fresh shark) the fish turned out to be a dolphin that made a circle on the school of fish and I knew I might as well quit fishing till it left. He shows up every morning after I catch my first fish.
Now I like dolphins. They are fun to watch as they cavort with one another but when you are fishing, that is another matter. While their presence means that there is bait/fish in the area, when they become aggressive and start to feed you might as well quit or move to another spot.
Sure, enough my fish had scattered, and I didn’t get another hit for thirty minutes.  I changed my crankbaits, but nothing happened until the dolphin had left and I finally hooked another small fish. It was also undersized and so I safely released it.
I never did catch another fish, but several other fishermen showed up and it was time to call it quits. At least I had caught two, that’s two more than if I had stayed in our fifth wheel. Oh, and all three of us did practice social distancing.
Returning home, I told Renita about the mornings fishing and after breakfast I set up in our hummingbird blind, (the back end of our Subaru). The hummers did show up and I got images of a black chinned and a ruby throated hummer. In both I had the shutter set for sports mode and I was able to take images in which the wing feathers showed details of the feathers.
The rest of the day was mundane as, picking up our prescriptions and making a grocery store run. We do wear our masks and now that the restrictions are being slowly eased, we will still limit our contacts. Both of us so want to head back to our home in Wyoming, and there is resentment towards us. You don’t see it at the stores, but you do see it online. Trust me will leave as soon as we can.  Clear skies

Thursday, April 9, 2020

To say the past week has been crazy, as you all know, is an understatement. The excitement for each day is pretty much the same. Every morning we walk down to the bay, (a very short distance), and then we walk along the shore. We also put up a hummingbird feeder, watch Netflix, order blue ray DVDs, occasionally go to the grocery store, and at 4 pm engage in a safe distance happy hour with our friends Barb and Dan.
W got the feeder from our friends Jane and Dave and the hummers moved to it as soon as we put it up. One male has taken over the feeder and attacks any other humming birds that get anywhere near "his", feeder. His female also sits and watches from our tree while he bullies everything else. It has been a bright spot each day. Thanks Dave and Jane!
Lately I have been getting up early and casting plugs along the shore. The speckled trout have moved in and yesterday I had a super day! I caught three slot size trout, lost two more, and it was all in a one-hour time frame. The fresh fish tasted excellent in a caper and lemon cream sauce.
I returned to my spot this morning and lost two nice fish, one close to shore. That means we are going to have cornbread for dinner. Its not a good menu for people on a low carb diet. Still at least we do get exercise while walking and fishing.
One of the mornings our friend Dan fished near me, and using one of my lures, caught his first keeper fish of the year. I put it on a cheap stringer and later watched it swim away as my knot came undone, (never had that problem when I was rock climbing).
Last month we bought a smart tv and so we have been binge watching shows. Schitt’s Creek is a favorite, the Longmire series, and a short series about Tiger Joe Exotics. It amazes us that there are so many people that don’t realize how harmful uncontrolled tiger breeding is destroying the gene pool.
We don’t have HBO and so we are trying to finish Game of Thrones by buying the DVDs. Just got season seven and the goal is to finish all of them by the time we leave for Wyoming. The rest of the tv shows are simply too depressing.
We also have learned to make our own masks, (Renita is the real mask maker). We had a nice talk with our daughter who works in a major hospital. She is also making her own masks as the hospital only has one for each of the members of her trauma team and require them to keep their mask in a paper bag with their name on it.
Blame whoever you want, but it would be nice to have the president stand up and say, as Harry Truman did, that the “Buck stops here”! There is no excuse for not having personal protection equipment for the medical people who try to save our lives, NO EXCUSE!
We still have another month here before our rv park opens in Wyoming. Both of us long to sit on our patio and watch the mountain sides for elk, deer and bear. Keep safe, wear masks, and don’t hoard, (the grocery stores here, especially Heb, are doing an excellent job in keeping the shelves full).
All of our family and friends have so far avoided the covid 19 virus and we pray each day that this will continue. Pleas say a prayer for all who work to keep us safe, heal us, keep the areas clean and sanitized, and make sure we have medicine, food and fuel.
Clear skies

Friday, April 3, 2020

A Last Trip to see the Whoppers with Pam and Roy

Pam and Roy had not yet been to the Aransas Wildlife Refuge, this year, and so we decided to make a day trip. The temperatures have been above average and so we talked about the possibility of seeing a snake. Sure enough, a six-foot long snake was stretched out across the road.
We wondered if it was a boa so I later sent a picture to my brother and he identified it as a snake we had never seen. Called a corn snake. I had thought it was a glossy snake, but I am about as good at the identification of snakes as I am flowers.
Our first stop was at Jones Lake where we were entertained by redheads, alligators, an immature Hudsonian Godwit, and a chorus of huge bullfrogs.
We enjoyed it so much that we stayed for a while before we next drove to the Observation Towers.
After climbing to the top of the tallest tower we failed to see any Whooping Cranes.
The pair had left, and we later saw four cranes forming into formation. Later Renita found a website that showed that the cranes had left and that they some had flew as far north as South Dakota.
Pam and Roy had not been out on the new walkway and while it’s a nice boardwalk there wasn’t a lot to see. So, we returned to the car and drove up the eleven-mile road. We wanted to see if the eagle nest was still occupied and we easily spotted the nest with one of the parents standing on top with outstretched wings.
After lunch, we made a last stop at the Heron Trail. The pair of whoopers that had taken over the area were still there and put on quite a nice display.
I took some images as they took off and they are the best images of flying whoopers we have ever shot.
Returning to the park we were tired but happy with the day. It’s always nice to be with family regardless of what you have planned but it was especially a good day of birds, wildlife moments, and a beautiful snake, Now we sit here with a stay in place order, waiting for our Wyoming place to open up. Clear skies