Friday, April 30, 2010

Pool plantings

Several pots of plants in the pool area were beginning to look worn.

Jeff and Carol are horticulturally inclined, and they like to hang out at the pool, so they volunteered to redo the plantings.

Much nicer now.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Gulf Waters

It’s a fragrant time to be here.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ten days into the shoulder recovery

The stitches are out. Judy has been released from the sling. She can use her arm as long as she keeps it low. She isn’t supposed to lift anything heavier than a cup of coffee, but the doctor said doing dishes would be great therapy. That’s what I heard him say anyway.

She got to lie down last night. She didn’t have to sleep sitting up in a chair.

She took a three-mile walk on the beach today.

We thought there would be a lot of stitches under the surgical tape over the incision. It turns out it was just one really long one. Two regular stitches and one really long one. Three stitches. Judy thinks there are a bunch of sub-surface stitches that were all tied up to that one long external one. She might be right, but I still think she owes me.

Tonight’s dinner, Redfish, compliments of Jeff and Carol.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Great Blue Heron

So there’s this great blue heron.

He caught this fish. (With the spear attached to his face.)

Now what could a skinny necked heron do with a fish like this?

Hold it this way?

Or maybe this way?

It doesn’t look promising, but… Gulp.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Annie goes to Africa

Annie was having a Play Day at Eddie’s house last Tuesday, while I took Judy to physical therapy. Can you believe physical therapy 5 days after shoulder surgery? Passive range of motion only, but still, that is amazing! Everything moves like it should. Judy is way ahead of schedule.

Anyway, Annie was there at Eddie’s house for the weekly Skype video call from Jeff and Carol’s daughter, Robin, who is in Africa. Once a week, Robin finds her way to an internet cafĂ© with her laptop and fires up a Skype video call. Robin and Annie got to “meet” each other on webcams. Now Annie has a friend in Africa!

I’ve only had to be nice to Judy for a little over a week now, but she is getting better so fast that part of the process might be almost over. Soon it will be time to go back to “Hey. Where’s my dinner?”

Blue Grosbeak

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Friday, April 23, 2010

We didn't really want to drive to Alice on a workday. Again.

But the Jeep was done. Again.

Can’t put if off until Saturday. They’re not open on Saturday. Here we go again.
When we got there, I gave the Jeep a quick fifteen or twenty starts and it sounded perfect. Much better than before. I think they nailed it this time.

Home by lunch. Lesser nighthawks circling when we got here. Taking a walk tonight, we got chipping sparrows

And a yellow-headed blackbird.

And know what else? There is a Jeep in our driveway instead of a rental car!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's a long drive to Alice


But I had good reason to drive to Alice.  That’s where the Jeep is.


The Jeep went dark on that pre-dawn birding trip two weeks ago.  (We were listening for Common Poorwills.)  When we finally got towed for repairs, it was to a Jeep Dealer in Alice.  That’s where the Jeep has been for the last two weeks; at the Jeep Dealer in the South Texas town of Alice, 75 miles from Port Aransas.  The good news in all of this was that our intermittent starting problem had turned into a permanent starting problem which could be diagnosed, and that’s how we ended up in the red rental car.


We made the drive yesterday.  It was good to get back to the Jeep, although things were still a little complicated.  The rental car was going to cost us $90 a day, but the Jeep dealer volunteered to put it on his bill at his rate of $35 a day.  That didn’t seem like much until the dealer had to backorder a part and we ended up in the rental car for two weeks.  Glad we weren’t at $90 a day!  Anyway, when I went back in the rental car to get the Jeep, I couldn’t, because the dealer didn’t know how much to charge me for the rental car until I turned that in first and got a ride back.  When I got back, he still didn’t know how much to charge me because he had submitted the paperwork to the warranty company for the Jeep repair but hadn’t heard back from them yet either.  We decided I could pay the whole thing and when the Warranty Company sent him a check, he could reimburse me.


We didn’t really want to drive to Alice on a work day, but it was good to be driving back home.  The only thing that would have made the drive back home better would have been if we were driving home in the Jeep.  When we went to pick up the Jeep, of course I tested it and it started.  After we transferred everything out of the rental car into the Jeep, returned the rental car, got a ride back to the dealer, paid the dealer, and got back in the Jeep to leave, it wouldn’t start.  We lost ground.  Now we’re back to an intermittent starting problem.


The dealer quickly got us back into the rental car and on our way.  We can look forward to one more trip to Alice in the near future.



Tuesday, April 20, 2010

This is a terrible place

This is a terrible place to try to concentrate on work. We did the Big Patio Day on the weekend. We spent a lot of the day outside and watched birds on purpose. So Monday, it’s back inside to get some work done. Except I think I did a Big Windshield Day while I was at it. Last week we had hummingbirds swirling all around the coach and the feeders. This week, it’s Orioles! Six or eight orioles at a time swirling around the coach and yard.

Baltimore Orioles galore.

and Orchard Orioles.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Yesterday was nothing. 22 birds. Today… from the patio…. 45 species!

1 Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
2 Blue-winged Teal
3 Brown Pelican
4 Double-crested Cormorant
5 Great Egret
6 Snowy Egret
7 Little Blue Heron
8 Cattle Egret
9 Green Heron
10 Roseate Spoonbill
11 Turkey Vulture
12 White-tailed Hawk
13 Crested Caracara
14 Crested Caracara
15 American Coot
16 Killdeer
17 Spotted Sandpiper
18 Greater Yellowlegs
19 Lesser Yellowlegs
20 Laughing Gull
21 Franklin's Gull
22 Least Tern
23 Forster's Tern
24 Royal Tern
25 Rock Pigeon
26 Mourning Dove
27 Chimney Swift
28 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
29 Red-eyed Vireo
30 Purple Martin
31 Tree Swallow
32 Northern Rough-winged Swallow
33 Cliff Swallow
34 Barn Swallow
35 Wood Thrush
36 Yellow-throated Warbler
37 Northern Waterthrush
38 Kentucky Warbler
39 Common Yellowthroat
40 Savannah Sparrow
41 Blue Grosbeak
42 Indigo Bunting
43 Red-winged Blackbird
44 Great-tailed Grackle
45 Orchard Oriole

White-tailed Hawk

Red-eyed Vireo too tired to fly

Wood Thrush

Wood Thrush with his buddy the Kentucky Warbler

Annie, too tired to fly.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Big Day

Judy and I are otherwise occupied, so Jon went on a Big Day without me a couple days ago. Last year our record was 191 birds. This time, he got 192!

In the spirit, Judy and I decided to do a Big Patio Day. The result, 22 birds:

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Egret
Lesser Yellowlegs
Laughing Gull
Least Tern
Forster's Tern
Black Skimmer
Mourning Dove
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Bank Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Barn Swallow
Northern Mockingbird
Northern Waterthrush
Hooded Warbler
Indigo Bunting
Great-tailed Grackle

Here is the Indigo Bunting.

Weekend at Bernie's

Judy got tired of being shuffled from place to place, so she kicked her drug habit at 6:00 this morning. She’s down to Advil and is much more conscious and conversational; conversations she’ll even remember.

Bad news though. It has been 48 hours since the surgery. We took off the bandaging. There are At Least 4 stitches. Maybe even 6! I might have to be nice to her all the way through Tuesday.

Friday, April 16, 2010


This is a good house for rehabilitation. The passenger seat swivels around to face the front room and is a full recliner with raised leg support. Shoulder surgery survivors can’t lie down for quite a while after; it’s just too painful. Judy can sleep in the recliner at whatever angle is the most comfortable.

We sleep with the air conditioner on this time of year, so I wouldn’t be able to hear her from the next room if she needed something, so I sleep on the couch right next to her. If she needs something, all she has to do is reach over and jiggle my foot so I can wake up and do whatever I can. The pain medication is effective but leaves her unsteady enough she shouldn’t walk unescorted.

There isn’t room on the couch for me and Annie both, but Annie sleeps there anyway. She picks a spot between me and the back of the couch, then relaxes and somehow doubles her weight to about a 40 pound immovable object. We’re not going to get away from Annie just by moving to a different room.

The surgery involves an arthroscopic exploration followed by an incision on the outside of the shoulder when they determine that work needs to be done. Judy got the incision.

I promised Judy I’d be nice to her for as many days as she had stitches; but there is a bandage over the incision. We don’t know how many stitches she got. I hope it’s not more than four. Meanwhile, she’s not that hard to take care of during the day. All I have to do is put her in her recliner lawn chair on the patio, surrounded by flowers and birds, and give her drugs.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Shoulder surgery


The rotator cuff surgery happened this morning.  There was a little more damage than expected; a 3 ½ centimeter tear.  The operation took longer, so recovery will be a little slower, but the prognosis is positive.  It was still day-surgery; although it may be a few days before Judy really comes back around.  Drugs will help pass the time.



The rest of SandFest

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Spring Break has come and gone. We didn’t take any pictures. We stayed away from the beach.

SandFest came and went last weekend. We went to the beach on purpose.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bird Photography

Bird photography is so easy. You just go where the birds are. Point, and click.

Scarlet Tanager

Yellow Warbler

Northern Waterthrush

Orchard Oriole

American Redstart

Hooded Warbler

Cerulean Warbler

Worm-eating Warbler. Got it!

Monday, April 12, 2010


It has been a quiet migration. A few birds here and there. Something new every few days. Today it suddenly blew open. Warblers and vireos everywhere! My first look through the binoculars had three species in one field of view: Yellow-throated Warbler, Northern Parula, and Yellow-throated Vireo!

Here is the count:
Blue-winged Teal
Cattle Egret
Green Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Laughing Gull
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Mourning Dove
Eastern Wood-Pewee
White-eyed Vireo
Yellow-throated Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Purple Martin
Barn Swallow
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Nashville Warbler
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Cerulean Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Prothonotary Warbler
Worm-eating Warbler
Louisiana Waterthrush
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler
Summer Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Great-tailed Grackle

A lot of birds in a short amount of time.

Yesterday, the Least Bittern.

Sunday, April 11, 2010



One week after surgery, we had the follow-up visit with the doctor.  The knee is restored to full range of motion and almost pain-free.  Judy is walking normally for the first time in 2 ½ months.  Her shoulder surgery is scheduled for next Thursday.  I’m going to have to be nice to her again.


Meanwhile, there is a red rental car in our driveway.  The Jeep went dark on a pre-dawn birding trip.  There wasn’t enough light to see, so we weren’t watching birds, we were listening to them.  We were listening for night birds (specifically the Common Poorwill) in the middle of nowhere on a small County Road about 20 miles west of Orange Grove.  When it was time to move to another spot and I turned the key; nothing but a click.  Nothing but a click, no matter how many times I turned the key.  The battery was not dead.  The car needed more than a jump.  Eventually, we got a tow truck to come and take us 25 miles to Alice.  That’s where the Jeep remains; at a Jeep Dealer in the South Texas town of Alice, 75 miles from Port Aransas.


We drove on in a rental car.  We got back underway about noon, and still got 130 species by dark.  It was a good day birding.



Saturday, April 10, 2010

Before and after

Not so big a time difference. June 2009.

April 2010. Ten months. Good Ice Plant progress.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Baby Coot

Momma coot was there in the pond next to our property, just outside the reeds, clucking and finding little bits of stuff to bring to her baby.

The baby was hidden in the reeds.

Couldn’t quite see him, but we knew he was there. Then he came out a little for a goodie.

Finally, the cute little guy came out of hiding; right out in the open so we could get a good look, and OHMYGODTHISTHINGISHIDEOUS!