Saturday, February 28, 2009

Saturday

 

Eighty degrees yesterday.  A cooler windy blustery day today.

 

We have this spinner on the roof (an anemometer) that controls the retraction mechanism for our patio awning.  Any wind over a preset amount, about 15 mph, triggers the awning to retract before a bigger wind blows it off.  That’s a common problem with patio awnings; the wind comes up when you’re not there and destroys your awning.  Usually we can tell when the wind velocity gets above 20 mph, because we get a buzzing sound from the spinner on the roof, but not this time.  No buzz.  We had the mobile repair guy check it out while he was fixing some other stuff and he found that the bushings were worn and replaced the spinner.  We’re not perfectly silent in the wind.  We can still hear and feel it, but it’s one level quieter inside the coach now.

 

The annual property owners meeting today.  That was not real fun.  Turns out we have issues.  And attorneys.

 

Hard to ride the Trikke in the wind (upwind), but I’m getting better at it.  Nice to have that for an exercise option even on windy days now.

 

Got a flock of six great egrets flying over the RV Park this afternoon.

 

Got a great view of Venus and the moon together last night.

 

A Wilson’s snipe came to visit our yard.

 

 

Friday, February 27, 2009

Another cool bird at Paradise Pond

 

The brown thrasher.  Saw him earlier this winter.

 

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rare Bird

 

The wood thrush taking a bath at Paradise Pond.  I’m told this is the third U.S. record of a wood thrush in winter.

 

 

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

jetty beach

Backlit black skimmers (and laughing gulls).

 

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday

 

Spent the morning birding Sandia, Orange Grove, and Hazel Bazemore Park northwest of Corpus Christi.  Saw lots of birds, anhinga, white tailed kite, sharp shinned hawk, merlin, sandhill crane, american oystercatcher, black necked stilt, least sandpiper, monk parakeet, greater roadrunner, vermilion flycatcher, green jay, blue gray gnatcatcher, long billed thrasher, and curve billed thrasher included.

 

Cool morning.  Sunny warming day.  Dinner at Snoopy’s.  Nothing but seventies and eighties in the forecast.

 

Here’s a picture of the monk parakeets.

 

 

Saturday, February 21, 2009

February

 

January weather is gone.  Days like today I don’t have to put shoes on at all, unless we go out to dinner.  Today, a celebration.   Jerry’s seventieth birthday.  I’ll put shoes on for that.

 

Got the wood thrush at Paradise Pond yesterday.

 

 

Friday, February 20, 2009

Poor Annie

 

Poor Annie is sick.  She and Judy were up all night.  Today, they had to go to the doctor.  The doctor gave Annie a couple shots to help with the bodily functions she couldn’t control, and some I.V. fluids for the dehydration.  She’ll be okay, but she has a bug that has to run its course.  She should be fine by Monday.

 

 

Thursday, February 19, 2009

February

 

It’s busy season at work.  That makes it busy here too.  The days fly by.  So do the weeks.

 

 

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Life on the Beach

 

 

Valentines Day dinner at Snoopy’s yesterday.  Today, convert those two coupons we got from Dana in town for our birthdays last December, into massages from Christine.  Excellent.

 

Cool and cloudy and almost rainy.  Fog in the mornings.

 

Counted a few more birds.  Port Aransas has 98 species so far for the four-day weekend.

 

http://gbbc.birdsource.org/gbbcApps/report?cmd=showReport&reportName=CitySummary&city=PORT%20ARANSAS&state=US-TX&year=2009

 

 

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Great Backyard Bird Count

One hour at the Birding Center. The best bird for me was the King Rail.
Year-bird.

Habitat(s):
freshwater
Number of Species: 38

Checklist:
Gadwall - 4
American Wigeon - 25
Blue-winged Teal - 100
Cinnamon Teal - 2
Northern Shoveler - 50
Northern Pintail - 15
Green-winged Teal - 75
Canvasback - 1
Redhead - 200
Ruddy Duck - 3
Pied-billed Grebe - 2
Brown Pelican - 2
Neotropic Cormorant - 6
Double-crested Cormorant - 1
Great Blue Heron - 3
Great Egret - 5
Snowy Egret - 15
Tricolored Heron - 3
Black-crowned Night-Heron - 50
White Ibis - 5
Roseate Spoonbill - 80
Turkey Vulture - 1
Northern Harrier - 1
King Rail - 1
Common Moorhen - 25
American Coot - 75
Black-necked Stilt - 6
American Avocet - 30
Long-billed Dowitcher - 200
Laughing Gull - 15
Ring-billed Gull - 2
Caspian Tern - 1
Forster's Tern - 2
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - 1
Northern Mockingbird - 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 6
Palm Warbler - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 25

Purple Sandpiper

 

The elusive purple sandpiper.  Two hundred miles from our house.  It took three trips to get him.  Turns out he’s not very purple and he doesn’t even like sand.  He likes to hang out with ruddy turnstones on rocks.  Here he is on the Jetty at South Padre Island.

 

 

Thursday, February 12, 2009

South Texas

Javelina Glamour Shots.

 

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Numbers

 

Did you ever notice how much more powerful the minus sign is than the plus sign?  You add a plus sign to a number and nothing changes.  It doesn’t matter how many plusses you add, still nothing changes.  But add one minus sign and everything is different; totally opposite.  Add another minus sign and it all changes back.  Every minus sign has an effect.  Now that’s a powerful modifier.

 

Not much to report.  Nice weather.  Lots of work.  The Park is full.

 

The Great Backyard Bird Count Starts Friday.

 

http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/

 

 

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Javelina

 

Here is what he looks like when he’s right-side-up.

 

 

Javelina Hint

 

Honest.  He’s just asleep.

 

 

Monday, February 9, 2009

And now for something completely different

 

Can you find the javelina in this picture?

 

 

Sunday, February 8, 2009

valley bird list

 

Birding adventure

 

A birding day in the valley with Jon.  There are some good birds down there 200 miles south; unusual ones, that can’t be found up here around Corpus Christi.  Rare or accidental birds.  They’re not slam-dunks, but worth looking for.  Judy and I are working on our life-list.  Jon is working on a Texas Year.  We’re only in the first part of February and he’s over 240 birds already.  That’s a pretty darn good start.  You can check out how he’s doing on his website at http://www.mcintyrebirdingtours.com if you want.  Click on 2009 day-by-day.

 

It was a busy day.  A three hour drive from Port Aransas to get us to Sable Palm Grove outside Brownsville to try for the Dusky Capped Flycatcher at dawn.  Next, the South Padre Island jetty for the Purple Sandpiper.  Then to Estero Llano Grande State Park for the Rose Throated Becard and the Blue Bunting.  We got a private guided tour into a restricted area to look for the becard and bunting.  Frontera Audubon Center for the Blue Bunting and the Crimson Collared Grosbeak.  Anzalduas County Park for the Hook Billed Kite and the Northern Beardless Tyrannulet, but the road to the park was closed.  We tried the back road around Pepe’s, but that was closed too, so we moved on to Bentsen State Park for the Blue Bunting and the Northern Beardless Tyrannulet.

 

Our efforts met with mixed success.  We didn’t get the Dusky Capped Flycatcher, Rose Throated Becard, Crimson Collared Grosbeak, Hook Billed Kite, or the Northern Beardless Tyrannulet.  We did get the Purple Sandpiper, lifer number 489, the Blue Bunting, lifer number 490, and a ton of other great birds though.  South Texas specialties like the mottled duck, least grebe, anhinga, black vulture, white tailed hawk, crested caracara, aplomado falcon, common ground dove, white tipped dove, common pauraque, buff bellied hummingbird, great kiskadee, tropical kingbird, couch’s kingbird, green jay, black crested titmouse, clay colored robin, long billed thrasher, tropical parula, olive sparrow, bronzed cowbird, and altamira oriole.

 

We finished up out north on 10th Street in McAllen for the Green Parakeets at dusk just for fun (and Jon’s year-list).  Got them too.  Home before ten.

 

 

Saturday, February 7, 2009

while we were in brazos bend

 

A red shouldered hawk.

 

http://steveandjudystravelblog.blogspot.com/

 

commom pauraque

Here is a blurry picture of him, but maybe he’s easier to make out.  Straight tail to the left.  Eye squinted.  Beak to the right.

 

Friday, February 6, 2009

FW: Hint

Oops, here is the picture that goes with that last report.

 


From: Steve Taylor [mailto:spt@thetaylorcompany.net]
Sent: Friday, February 06, 2009 11:31 PM
To: Bill Taylor (Bill Taylor); David Taylor (David Taylor); Tom Taylor (Tom Taylor)
Subject: Hint

 

 

There is a tree trunk in the background of this picture (It’s in the center of the picture in the original one.)  The Common Pauraque is at the lower right corner of the base of the tree trunk.  He’s the round thing in the middle of this picture.  His head is facing to the right.  His tail straight out to the left.  A vertical black line on his chest.  There is a dark eye spot.  He is in focus, but he gets blurry when you zoom in too close.

 

Pretty good camouflage, huh?

 

 

Hint

 

There is a tree trunk in the background of this picture (It’s in the center of the picture in the original one.)  The Common Pauraque is at the lower right corner of the base of the tree trunk.  He’s the round thing in the middle of this picture.  His head is facing to the right.  His tail straight out to the left.  A vertical black line on his chest.  There is a dark eye spot.  He is in focus, but he gets blurry when you zoom in too close.

 

Pretty good camouflage, huh?

 

 

Hint

 

During the day, the Common Pauraque sleeps in leaves and rubble on the ground.

 

 

Hint

 

The Common Pauraque is a bird.

 

Here is a higher resolution picture in case you’re zooming in.

 

 

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Can you find the.

 

This is a hard one.  Can you find the Common Pauraque in this picture?

 

 

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

FW: Picture

Okay.  Here is a harder one.  Can you find the warbler in this picture?

 


From: Jon McIntyre [mailto:offshorebirding@hotmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, February 01, 2009 10:49 AM
To: Steve Taylor
Subject: Picture

 

Monday, February 2, 2009

Last Week

 

Then we took the ferry north from Galveston Island to the Bolivar Peninsula.  The peninsula was an order of magnitude worse.  One house out of a hundred standing.  Rubble where the town of Crystal Beach once stood.  This is not like the damage a tornado leaves.  Hurricanes don’t hit one house and hop over another.  Every building faces the same force.  Twenty miles of devastation.  And this is the sanitized version.  They’ve been cleaning up for four months.

 

 

Last Week

 

Last week we made the drive from Brazos Bend to Galveston Island.  We knew the island wasn’t going to look like we remembered, and it didn’t.  The Hurricane has been there.  Hurricane Ike, the one that was heading for Port Aransas, then turned right and hit Houston instead.  Boats in the wrong places.  Cars and trucks where boats are supposed to be.  A fishing pier no longer connected to shore.  Galveston Island State Park in ruins, but with a sign at the entrance indicating the State’s intent to rebuild.  It was terrible.  Every house damaged to some extent.  Some beyond repair.  Some knocked down entirely.  Entire neighborhoods still unoccupied.  It was bad.

 

 

Sunday, February 1, 2009