Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Gulf Waters


No more bird or swamp pictures.  No more playing tag with the alligators.  We drove home.


Fish Crow on the way.


Now we’re settled back in on our spot on the beach.


Wilson’s Phalarope in town.


Knee surgery for Judy tomorrow.



Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Brazos Bend State Park

A brief visit. We got here Sunday. Gone tomorrow morning. Back to Gulf Waters. Here are some parting shots.

Monday, March 29, 2010


We were watching this gator at the edge of the pond.

When suddenly he stood up.

Then he proceeded to walk across the trail, right between Judy and me. That’s Judy in the background with Jeff. She’s the legs with the walking stick.

I broke the video into two pieces, because I didn’t really mean to be that close to him. I decided it was time to take a couple steps back.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Change of scenery

We moved to Brazos Bend State Park for a few days. A hundred fifty miles. Now we’re looking at stuff like this.

Common Moorhen, White Ibis, and American Alligator.

Tonight we saw fireflies and heard Coyotes, Eastern Screech-owls, and Barred Owls

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Thursday, March 25, 2010


We have so many kinds of Hummingbirds here.

We have the Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

The Geek-necked I-need-a-drink Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

And the Speckle-headed I-just-ate-a-white-flower Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Night Herons

The wall of trees on the other side of Paradise Pond is filled with roosting night herons during the day. In the afternoon and evening they work their way out to the fringes in preparation for their big night.

Here are Black-crowned Night Herons.

and the Yellow-crowned Night Heron.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It just gets better

Paradise pond. Twenty minutes. Twenty-one birds.

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Green-winged Teal
Great Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Eurasian Collared-Dove
White-eyed Vireo
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Northern Parula
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Prothonotary Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird

(And I didn’t have to count any gulls and grackles.)

Can you spot the Hooded Warbler in this picture?
(Click on the picture to get a good look.)

Monday, March 22, 2010

It's busy season

Mostly I work; sometimes I bird. I talk about birding a lot and don’t talk about work at all. I suppose I could shut up about birds and just talk about work every day. In the meantime…

During the winter a person can go to Paradise Pond and only get 4 or 5 different kinds of birds. Now that the migration is underway, I can get ten or twelve without having to count gulls and grackles. And it will get better yet.

Yesterday we got:

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Great Blue Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
American Coot
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Prothonotary Warbler
Louisiana Waterthrush

Today we got White-eyed Vireo, Orange-crowned Warbler, Northern Parula, Black-throated Green Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Savannah Sparrow, and Northern Cardinal too. Sixteen birds at Paradise Pond.

Another sure sign of Spring. The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


It has been great Spring Break weather this week, but today was a blustry day. Glad we’re not in a tent on the beach.

Granddaughter Taylor is off to Paris on a High School, Spring Break, French Club trip. They flew all night and arrived at 7am Paris time, (almost) ready for a full day. So far she has discovered that everyone smokes, motorscooterers are insane, you ALWAYS wait for the walk signal or you’re dead meat, crepes are insanely delicious, and French toast is amazing. They’ve ridden the metro, climbed the towers of Notre Dame, photographed the Arc de Triomph, le Sacre Coeur, and the Eiffel Tower. She has been to the Centre Pompidou and watched street musicians, a didgeridoo, and a man folding wire behind his back. At the end of the first day, she reported in, practically sleeptyping.

Second day, more awake, they toured the palace at Versailles, the Arc de Triomph again, and the Champs Elysees, and had quiche for dinner. Tomorrow, the Louvre.
The gardens at Versailles

Meanwhile, back at the migration, the Black-and-white Warbler.

Change of address


We’re simplifying our postal mail.  We’re not going to use the Lafayette, Colorado address or the Gulf Waters address any more.


We’re going to use:

PO Box 1978

Port Aransas, TX  78373-1978


Thanks all.



Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring has sprung

On the way to school in Boulder, stopped at a traffic light, Conner rolled the window down and looked out. Becky asked him what he was doing.

“Searching for signs of spring.” He answered.

Later that day he announced he had found his sign of spring. There was mud in the playground instead of snow.

Here, in Port Aransas, we have the beginning of the warbler migration.
The Yellow-throated Warbler.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I'm so anxious.

I’m so anxious for Mom and Dad to come home. I want to show them how I chase toys and carry them back to my doggie bed.

Sometimes I stop and rip them up right in the middle of the floor.

I even growled!

Monday, March 15, 2010



Exploring our options with the doctor.  Change Judy’s nickname from Flash to Hopalong?  Staple, scope, cut?  Leave everything alone?  Her ankle will get better on its own.  Her shoulder and knee won’t.  Minor tears in both than can be fixed.

The knee will recover faster than the shoulder.  The knee will be pretty good within a couple weeks.  The shoulder will take months.  It would be good to get them both done before we leave here in May, so we’ll do the knee first; April 1st followed by the shoulder April 15th.  Hopefully the shoulder will be rehabilitated enough to travel comfortably by mid-May.



Sunday, March 14, 2010


Now that winter has lost its grip we can share our weather forecast and no-one will hate us. Right? (You might have to click on it to be able to see it.)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The odd couple

For the last couple weeks this Snowy Egret and Neotropic Cormorant have been best buddies. They’re always together. They stand on the bank together. If one naps, they both nap. One goes fishing, they both go fishing.

The cormorant swims underwater right next to the bank, chasing fish. The egret runs alongside, snatching up scattering minnows.

The cormorant is so fast, sometimes he gets ahead, but the egret runs to catch up.

They’re an odd couple, but it works.

Friday, March 12, 2010



Back to Corpus Christi this morning.  CT Scan on Judy’s right shoulder.  Contrast dye.  They showed her the picture after.  Dye all over inside where it’s not supposed to be.  It looked like a blow-out.  Rotator cuff.


We have images of her left knee and her right shoulder.  Her right ankle is still in a wrap.  We have an appointment with the Orthopedist on Monday to see where he wants to start.



Wednesday, March 10, 2010



Before Judy can get any work done on her knee, we need an MRI on it so the doctors know what they’re getting into.  We made arrangements for an “Open” MRI; “Open” being a relative term.  It’s still a tube, but it’s a shorter tube and it’s open at both ends.  Judy could be described as CLAUSTROPHOBIC!, and she’s not all that tall, so going into a tube of *any* length is a big deal.


That was Monday’s project.  With the help of a couple valium, an eye mask, some soft music and a 20 minute head-rub, we got my claustrophobe wife though the MRI without her destroying the machine.





Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Dear Mom and Dad,

I am having lots of fun at Camp Taylor. Annie is my roommate. She has been very nice to me. When other people try to pet me, especially her Mom and Dad, she gets right between me and them and makes sure they don’t hurt me.

I get to sleep on the couch every night. Judy even made sure my blankie is there waiting for me. By the way, I always start out in my bed, and only get on the couch after the lights are turned off.

Every morning Annie and I take a walk around the park. When we get home Uncle Steve gives us treats, and after that we get breakfast. I am beginning to like it here. This morning I even went up to them and wagged my tail a lot. They seemed to like that.

Today, Annie and I went for a balloon ride. Boy that was fun!

Uncle Steve wants to know if Dad has seen any Motmots in Costa Rica yet.

I miss you.



Monday, March 8, 2010

Louisville house update

We sold the house a year and a half ago. I hear it has been a work-in-progress ever since. The new owner must have gutted the inside, as we hear, because it looks like the entire inside is now on the outside.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Got our first migration birds Saturday. American Golden Plovers. A flock of thirty of them on the mudflats at Charlie’s Pasture. Let the migration begin!
Here is a winter resident; the Whooping Crane. Four of the maybe 250 of them left on the planet.

It's big for a bird; about the same height as Judy.

Saturday, March 6, 2010



Judy has a bad knee.  Her left one.  We’re going to get an MRI on it next week, and probably surgery after that.  She’s getting her right shoulder looked at as well.  She had surgery on that shoulder ten years ago to repair a torn rotator cuff.  It may need more attention.


Yesterday we were walking along and Judy suddenly just fell.  Her right foot stayed where it was and everything else went to the ground.  She fell off her ankle.  At the time, I thought she had blown out her left knee all the way, but she blew the ankle instead.


Today, the ankle is sore and swollen.  We went to the Island Clinic to get it X-rayed and diagnosed.  Nothing broken.  Second degree sprain.  We got a double-wrap foot bandage and Advil for it.


Our charming son-in-law wants to know when a person just gets declared “Totaled”.  I told him not to worry, I kept the receipt.  Now he wants to know if I got the extended warranty.


Parts are falling off faster than we can glue them back on.  We need some of those Mister Potatohead parts.  When they fall off, you can just pick them up and stick them back on about where they’re supposed to go.



Friday, March 5, 2010

Energy Crisis


The next phase of the adventure will begin when we try to settle our bill with the Electric Company.  The guy that measured the accuracy of our meter is not affiliated with the Electric Company; he is independent of them.  He writes up his report and sends it on to them.  They should have it by now.  The meter checker concluded that our meter was running at 158% of normal.  It’s good to have agreement that our electric meter was crazy, but we may not agree on the quantity of error.  That 158% does not even begin to explain the 4,500 kilowatt hours of electricity per month we’ve been charged for.  We had to be off by a factor of 5 or 10.  Even if we agreed on the amount of error, how far back do you go to adjust the billing?  We don’t have anything that tells us when the meter went bad, or how bad it was when.


Two years ago, Judy was telling me we should change electric companies because our bill was higher than everyone else’s.  My response was that there are multiple electric companies in competition here.  Is it likely that one company’s charge per kilowatt hour is going to me materially different from another company’s charge?  Electricity is a commodity.  One company couldn’t afford to charge a higher rate than the other companies or everyone would just switch to the other companies.  It never occurred to me that we might have a mismeasurement of our usage.  We’ve probably had a bad meter, getting progressively worse, for at least the last two years; maybe even since they installed it five years ago!


We suppose the Electric Company has a lot more experience figuring out this sort of thing than we do.  Since we now know that electric meters *can* go bad, surely we’re not the only people who have had that happen.  The Electric Company will have experience sorting it out.  We’ll see what they come up with before we protest too much.  Maybe they know how to settle this fairly.



Thursday, March 4, 2010

Fountain Rock

We brought back a rock from the Valley. It’s a really cool rock. So cool, in fact, we paid for it.
It fits right in front of the spilling pot fountain.

Looks like it’s always been there.