Monday, March 31, 2008

Bentsen

We’re not in Kansas anymore. We’re not in Port Aransas. We’re not even on the beach. We took a trip. We went south 150 miles. We’re at Bentsen Palms RV Park just outside Bentsen Rio-Grande State Park, Mission Texas. The birds here are even more tropical. White tipped dove. Altamira oriole. Plain chachalaca. Common pauraque. We’re going to try to get the Northern Beardless Tyrannulet.

It didn’t take the blackbirds long to find our feeder.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Paradise pond

A whistling duck on paradise pond…

Friday, March 28, 2008

Our pond

The coots are resident. Other birds come and go. We’ve been getting daily visits from mottled ducks and black bellied whistling ducks. Both rare birds if you happen to live anywhere else in North America.

One day a mixed gang: three northern shovelers, one female ringneck duck, one ruddy duck, and the two coots.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Gulf waters

The turtle still wanders about a bit, but all the potted flowers have found their stations. Those glass globes are solar powered lights.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Paradise pond

New bird. A lifer. Prothonotary warbler. And guess what… it’s yellow too.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Port aransas

Sometimes I think of things other than birds, but this is a major time for birds here in south Texas and we’ve never been here for it. I spend a lot more time at, and thinking about, work than I do watching birds, but so far I’ve been able to resist the urge to send an endless string of stories about, and pictures of, me working.

I haven’t observed the details firsthand, but as I understand, warblers migrate across the Gulf of Mexico; taking ten or twenty hours to make the 600 mile flight. We’re the first landfall, but there is still a long way to go for most. They refuel as fast as they can and head off for the breeding grounds. They migrate mostly at night, so once the migration begins, every day brings new arrivals.

The latest arrival. Hooded warbler.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Paradise pond

Louisiana Waterthrush.

Paradise pond

A really good bird for us; the black throated green warbler.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Paradise pond

Louisiana Waterthrush habitat.

Weekend walk

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…

Friday, March 21, 2008

Suspect batteries

We recharged the suspect batteries. They registered “good” on the meter. We segregated them. After a couple days they all still registered “good”. They went back into confinement. Tested them again after a month. They all registered “bad” and got thrown out. We’ve found our solution to the rechargeable battery mystery. Charged batteries register “good” on the meter. Good discharged batteries read “good” on the meter. Bad batteries register “bad” when they’re discharged. Four bad batteries removed and the rechargeable battery pool is pure again.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Dirty rain

That was odd. We had a rainstorm and it rained mud. The rain didn’t wash everything off and freshen it. The rain made everything dirty.

It’s Mexico’s fault. As the front passed and the wind direction from the east rotated clockwise, it pulled up some wind coming north from Mexico carrying ash from a fire and dust from a dust storm. Well, we cleaned out the air for the rest of the country and washed all the dust and ash down to the ground here before it could get any further north.

You’re welcome.

Next day on the beach

Different story. The wind rotated around so it’s blowing back to the east. The water went out. The beach is back.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Gulf waters

The beach is a mess. It is warm, but windy. We only have a one foot high tide, but after three days of the wind blowing twenty knots out of the east, across the gulf, the tide has been pushed clear up to the dunes.

The driving lanes are gone. The spring breakers are gone. Somebody’s buoy broke loose and ended up on our beach.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Weather report

Last night’s low… 70 degrees.

Life on the beach.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Port aransas

Paradise Pond after work:

Mottled duck

Blue winged teal

Green winged teal

Great blue heron

Black crowned night heron

Yellow crowned night heron

White ibis

Mississippi kite

Eastern phoebe

Northern parula

Yellow rumped warbler

Black and white warbler

Louisiana waterthrush (life bird for us)

Lincoln’s sparrow

Swamp sparrow

Good pond. Dinner at Juan’s.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Port aransas

The coach hasn’t moved in three months. Just because we don’t move the coach doesn’t mean we don’t use diesel fuel though. Diesel fuels our furnace and hot water. So after three months it was time to take the coach out, get a new inspection sticker for the one that expired in January, and get a fresh tank of fuel. It took seventy-five gallons.

When we stop for fuel, we never pay at the pump. If you pay at the pump, the pump will shut off at some predetermined amount established by the gas station; sometimes as low as $50. That can make for a tedious fill-up of a big tank. Judy always goes inside and gives the attendant our credit card which eliminates the gas station’s predetermined limit. After this last fill-up though, we had to call the credit card company and ask them to raise our predetermined gas station limit on the card. We just can’t get a full tank when it cuts off at $300.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Warblers

All winter we see yellow rumped warblers and the occasional orange crowned, black and white, and pine warbler. But today, right in our yard, we got a northern parula and a yellow throated warbler. This is the first time we’ve ever been here for the start of the warbler migration. It has begun.

This morning we saw several crested caracara and a white tailed hawk from our patio. We went over to Paradise Pond in town this evening to see what was there and got another northern parula, plus black crowned and yellow crowned night herons, more yellow rumps, an orange crowned warbler, and a blue-gray gnatcatcher. Tonight in the dark, I got a flyover by an owl, probably a short-eared owl.

The yellow throated warbler loved the camera. The parula refused to pose.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Choke canyon state park/lake corpus christi

Non-birders just hang up now. Hit the delete key. We took a day trip to Choke Canyon State Park and Lake Corpus Christi.

Black bellied whistling duck

Fulvous whistling duck

Greater white fronted goose

Snow goose

Ross’s goose

American wigeon

Mallard

Mottled duck

Blue winged teal

Green winged teal

Canvasback

Redhead

Ring necked duck

Pied billed grebe

American white pelican

Neotropic cormorant

Double crested cormorant

Anhinga

Great blue heron

Great egret

Snowy egret

Cattle egret

Black vulture

Turkey vulture

Osprey

Cooper’s hawk

Crested caracara

American kestrel

Common moorhen

American coot

Killdeer

Black necked stilt

Long billed curlew

Laughing gull

Ring billed gull

White winged dove

Mourning dove

Golden fronted woodpecker

Vermilion flycatcher

Great kiskadee

Couch’s kingbird

Scissor tailed flycatcher

Loggerhead shrike

Green jay

Purple martin

Cave swallow

Barn swallow

Bewik’s wren

Ruby crowned kinglet

Northern mocking bird

European starling

Yellow rumped warbler

Chipping sparrow

Northern cardinal

Pyrrhuloxia

Red winged blackbird

Eastern meadowlark

Great tailed grackle

American goldfinch

Saw some deer, but no javelina. No wild turkeys. No roadrunners or phoebes. Always miss a few things.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Port aransas

The storms have passed. That was awful. It was so cold I had to put on long pants.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Port aransas

Rigs come and go. Some stand out.

This one stands out. It’s sixty feet long (we’re forty). We didn’t know there was such a thing as a sixty foot coach. It’s not a pusher it’s a puller, so it’s got that semi-truck nose on it. Peterbilt front end. Four slides.

He has a matching trailer but he had to leave it home because it won’t fit here. I can’t imagine it would fit anywhere except maybe a NASCAR infield. The coach itself doesn’t even fit here. Not much of a turning radius with that wheelbase. He left tire tracks over the sand and grass at every corner on the way in.

Sixty feet long. Flames all over. $100,000 matching trailer. 30,000 pound towing capacity.

I feel so inadequate.

Port aransas

Big storm today. First a beautiful 75 degrees, then the front hit. Heavy thunderstorms. Immediate twenty degree drop in temperature. High wind up to 50 mph so far. Snow north of us in Dallas. Put up the window awnings, closed the bedroom slide, and hunkered down in the coach till this thing passes.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Gulf waters

Our first oleander flower since December. It’s March. Spring is springing.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Yard art

The flower shuffle continues…

With the help of a turtle.