Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!








Birding

 

Nothing like being back in South Texas to fill out a bird list.  Last month, one state, 85 birds.  The month before, 6 states, 107 birds.

 

This month, 3 states (but only 1 day for Colorado and Oklahoma), and 158 birds.

 

The October bird list:

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck

Snow Goose

Canada Goose

Gadwall

Mallard

Mottled Duck

Blue-winged Teal

Northern Shoveler

Northern Pintail

Green-winged Teal

Redhead

Ruddy Duck

Ring-necked Pheasant

Pied-billed Grebe

American White Pelican

Brown Pelican

Neotropic Cormorant

Double-crested Cormorant

Anhinga

Great Blue Heron

Great Egret

Snowy Egret

Little Blue Heron

Tricolored Heron

Reddish Egret

Cattle Egret

Black-crowned Night-Heron

White Ibis

White-faced Ibis

Roseate Spoonbill

Wood Stork

Black Vulture

Turkey Vulture

Osprey

Bald Eagle

Northern Harrier

Cooper's Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk

Swainson's Hawk

White-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Golden Eagle

Crested Caracara

American Kestrel

Merlin

Peregrine Falcon

Clapper Rail

Sora

Common Moorhen

American Coot

Sandhill Crane

Whooping Crane

Black-bellied Plover

Snowy Plover

Semipalmated Plover

Piping Plover

Killdeer

American Oystercatcher

Black-necked Stilt

American Avocet

Greater Yellowlegs

Willet

Lesser Yellowlegs

Long-billed Curlew

Marbled Godwit

Ruddy Turnstone

Red Knot

Sanderling

Least Sandpiper

Dunlin

Stilt Sandpiper

Long-billed Dowitcher

Wilson's Snipe

Laughing Gull

Franklin's Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Herring Gull

Gull-billed Tern

Caspian Tern

Black Tern

Common Tern

Forster's Tern

Royal Tern

Sandwich Tern

Black Skimmer

Rock Pigeon

Eurasian Collared-Dove

White-winged Dove

Mourning Dove

Inca Dove

Common Ground-Dove

Great Horned Owl

Burrowing Owl

Common Nighthawk

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Belted Kingfisher

Golden-fronted Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Northern Flicker

Eastern Wood-Pewee

Eastern Phoebe

Say's Phoebe

Vermilion Flycatcher

Great Kiskadee

Couch's Kingbird

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Loggerhead Shrike

White-eyed Vireo

Blue Jay

American Crow

Common Raven

Horned Lark

Tree Swallow

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Cave Swallow

Barn Swallow

Brown Creeper

Cactus Wren

Carolina Wren

House Wren

Marsh Wren

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Swainson's Thrush

American Robin

Gray Catbird

Northern Mockingbird

European Starling

Sprague's Pipit

Orange-crowned Warbler

Nashville Warbler

Northern Parula

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Yellow-throated Warbler

Pine Warbler

Palm Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler

American Redstart

Common Yellowthroat

Wilson's Warbler

Summer Tanager

Savannah Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

Northern Cardinal

Indigo Bunting

Dickcissel

Red-winged Blackbird

Eastern Meadowlark

Western Meadowlark

Brewer's Blackbird

Common Grackle

Boat-tailed Grackle

Great-tailed Grackle

Bronzed Cowbird

Brown-headed Cowbird

Orchard Oriole

House Sparrow

 

 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Charlie's Pasture

Sometimes the birding tower at the end of the boardwalk at Charlie’s Pasture is crowded.




Friday, October 29, 2010

Right now.

…you’re probably wondering if I’ve seen any Burrowing Owls since we’ve been back in Texas. Well, what a coincidence! I have some Burrowing Owl pictures to share!






The many moods of the Burrowing Owl.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thursday

Nothing sweaty about today. The wind came back up and a cold front spun it around to the north. A north wind is a dry wind here. 81 degrees and a dry breeze from the north.

I love this billboard near our home; a constant reminder that not everything is as permanent here as we might otherwise think.



We live on a barrier island. Our island paradise intercepts and diffuses hurricanes from the gulf before they get to the mainland. There is nothing naturally occurring here that is over ten or fifteen feet above sea level. The weather takes what we build and makes it impermanent. We build here and live here, recognizing that we’re not really in charge; we’re just using the space for a while.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday

 

It’s only 84 degrees, but it’s a wet 84.  The big wind died down and it’s a light breeze from the south.  We have sticky air.  Clean air, but wet and sticky.

 

 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Gulf Waters

Remember the ice plant around the spilling pot fountain? It did really well.


Then something happened this summer. It might have been the exceptionally hot dry weather, or it might have been the following week-long flood. Whatever, the ice plant died. We went with Violas this time.








Saturday, October 23, 2010

And how about.

…the amazing headless one-legged Sanderling?




Thursday, October 21, 2010

Yet another.

 

http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=steveandjudystravels#p/u/33/IxGYCC3z5VQ

 

This one is more different.  Just this one more and I’ll stop.  Really.  I promise.

 

 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Brown Pelican

Feeding quietly in fresh water at the birding center.


Minnows beware…



Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mass grave

Last week most of Charlie’s Pasture was flooded; so many minnows in the pools, the water bubbled with them. They actually made noise flipping against the surface. The sound caught my attention and I made a quick video. You can hear the fish even though there was a small plane droning overhead.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBiKp9N8q_c

Today, I walked past the same spot and it was dry. There has been no rain.


It looks like pebbles or shells remain, but look a little closer.


Thousands of minnows that didn’t make it. Cut-off from deeper water, they perished as the pond evaporated.


So many levels of life. So many cycles. We have the Gulf of Mexico on one side of the island, and the Laguna Madre on the other. The Laguna Madre is vast and shallow for a hundred miles and more. It is the safe haven nursery for all manner of critters in preparation for their life in the deeper water and open-ocean when they’re bigger.

A complex and brutal web of life; each kind of animal depends on other animals not making it. The insects and bacteria breaking down the dead minnows will provide nutrients for the next round.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

From gorgeous to goofy

The Snowy Egret is elegant.


The American Oystercatcher is not!



Friday, October 15, 2010

The Jetty

We’re close enough to the jetty I can take my lunch-time walk there if I want.


Some serious fishing going on…


And a some serious fish!



Today, the seas were calm and the jetty dry, so the footing was good for a walk out to the end and back.



Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ricardo

We have several palm trees, but only one specimen palm; the centerpiece of our landscape.


Enrique, an elegant Foxtail Palm, gave it his best shot, but he succumbed to the extraordinary cold last winter. He struggled through the spring but didn’t make it to the end of summer.

Enrique is gone. Long Live Ricardo!


A Cuban Royal.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Henry's surprise




Living in a world of discovery, he brings us a present from the other room.



Saturday, October 9, 2010

Friday, October 8, 2010

What happened?

When we left Gulf Waters this spring, we had a nice bushy private patio.


We come back five months later and everything is grown up and opened up. The palm trees got huge.


Even with the awning out, it still seems wide-open on the side patio. We need more bushes; more greenery.


Not to worry. Judy Greenthumbs is on the case.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Their time has passed





A melancholy abandoned homestead in Colorado.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

September

 

One state: Colorado.  85 birds.  1 lifer: Little Gull.

 

Other birds of note:  Wild Turkeys, Bald Eagles, Ferruginous Hawks, Prairie Falcons, Great-horned Owls, Blue-headed Vireo, Gray Jays, Steller’s Jays, Clark’s Nutcrackers, Mountain Chickadees, Western Tanagers, Spotted Towhees, Chipping, Brewer’s, Vesper, Lark, and White-crowned Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos, Indigo Buntings, Yellow-headed Blackbirds, and Orchard Orioles.

 

The complete list:

 

Canada Goose

Gadwall

Mallard

Wild Turkey

Pied-billed Grebe

American White Pelican

Double-crested Cormorant

Great Blue Heron

Great Egret

Snowy Egret

Cattle Egret

Black-crowned Night-Heron

White-faced Ibis

Turkey Vulture

Osprey

Bald Eagle

Northern Harrier

Cooper's Hawk

Swainson's Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Ferruginous Hawk

American Kestrel

Merlin

Peregrine Falcon

Prairie Falcon

American Coot

Killdeer

Spotted Sandpiper

Greater Yellowlegs

Little Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Rock Pigeon

Eurasian Collared-Dove

Mourning Dove

Great Horned Owl

Lesser Nighthawk

Common Nighthawk

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Belted Kingfisher

Downy Woodpecker

Northern Flicker

Western Wood-Pewee

Least Flycatcher

Say's Phoebe

Western Kingbird

Blue-headed Vireo

Gray Jay

Steller's Jay

Blue Jay

Clark's Nutcracker

Black-billed Magpie

American Crow

Common Raven

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Barn Swallow

Black-capped Chickadee

Mountain Chickadee

White-breasted Nuthatch

Western Bluebird

American Robin

Gray Catbird

European Starling

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Common Yellowthroat

Wilson's Warbler

Western Tanager

Spotted Towhee

Chipping Sparrow

Brewer's Sparrow

Vesper Sparrow

Lark Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco

Indigo Bunting

Red-winged Blackbird

Western Meadowlark

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Brewer's Blackbird

Common Grackle

Orchard Oriole

House Finch

Lesser Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

House Sparrow

 

 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Life on the Beach

We did what we never do. We drove long days.

Now we’re done. We’re back at Gulf Waters.
Here’s a shot we never see; our site without our motorhome on it.



Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sunday

An easy leaving. Unhook the electric cord and the outside is ready to go. There were five rigs total in the park overnight. We were first out. The owls were still hooting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSWno6ITujA

Pulled over at a rest stop outside of Lubbock to put up the satellite dish and watch the Broncos. Drove on.

A cool day all day. Ran into a little rain to wash the dust off the rig. Saw White-winged Doves for the first time in months. Saw a Northern Mockingbird.

We’re deeper into the heart of Texas. Stopped at the Texas RV Park in Big Spring.


Got a Cactus Wren.

Today’s crock-pot torture: pot roast. Yumm.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

On the road again

We’re leaving the high dry air and heading south. Time to rehydrate our skin. We’re going to the beach.

Leaving Colorado, we drove through the old west. Deer Trail, Wild Horse, Kit Carson. Cheyenne County, Kit Carson. We got the eagle daily double: two Bald Eagles flying together at St Vrain. Two Golden Eagles out on the plains in Southeastern Colorado.

Crossed back into the Central Time Zone at the Oklahoma border. Stopped for fuel at Boise City. Slid farther south into Texas. Drove through Stratford, which represents itself as the pheasant capital of Texas. Yes, we saw pheasants.

Stopped for the night in Dumas, Texas. Judy found a county park; the perfect overnight stop. Easy. Quiet.




Serenaded by Great Horned Owls.

A one-day drive from Colorado to Texas. We’re almost there. Three more days of driving and we’ll be back to the beach.