Thursday, February 28, 2019

Flat light


A lot of times, looking up into the sun, the light is terrible, and raptors are just silhouettes without much definition.


Here is what the silhouette of a Harris’s Hawk looks like.




Wednesday, February 27, 2019

I remember


Dad had Auburn cars parked on the street, in the driveway, and at least one in the garage taken apart.  There were always parts; parts on the workbench; parts stacked on the floor.


Today I hold this part in my hand, and it takes me right back.


If anything ever looked like a part for an antique or classic automobile, this is it!

It could be from a Model T!  (It’s also busted.)


Believe it or not, this is a resistor that helps control the dash air in our modern motorhome.  When motorhomes are designed, it’s all about the main concepts.  They design the rig to fit on a standard chassis; sometimes they build their own, but most just pick an existing proven design.  The motorhome will run a Caterpillar engine, or a Cummins.  As far as I know, every big motorhome uses an Allison transmission.  All the big stuff, that’s standard.


For all the little parts that make the whole thing work, the motorhome designers don’t build all their own parts, and they aren’t tied to any particular brand.  The pieces don’t even have to be located in a normal place.  They grab whatever works and fits in the space allowed, wherever that space happens to be.  In the case of the resistor for our dash air switch, it was not behind the dashboard anywhere near the dash air controls.  It was found from the outside front, behind and beside the generator cabinet.  It is not an antique, or a classic.  It’s not from a 1938 Studebaker.  It’s from a 1980s series Ford F-100 pickup truck.  Who knew?


The replacement part should be here tomorrow, and our dash air fan should work again.


Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Appropriated from FaceBook


And in line with my previous posts:





Sunday, February 24, 2019

The morning view


At Choke Canyon.


With a blooming huisache tree in the background.


The evening view at Quiet Texas RV Park in Hondo.


We got our favorite spot; same spot as last time.

(On our second stay here.)


February 2019 trip


Saturday, February 23, 2019


Blogspot is being bad. I write trip reports every day, but starting last fall, the Blog only accepts some of them and rejects the others. I can't figure out how to get it to work properly. Googling the problem reveals that I'm not the only one.

These blog posts all start out as direct emails, and one of those goes to the blog. If you would like to get posts directly, let me know and I'll add you to the list.

We’re on the road a little


160 miles north.  Choke Canyon State Park,-98.372636,27888m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x865d632f5fe66773:0x7e29f1a6fd1c17ee!8m2!3d28.4725962!4d-98.338962


You can zoom in and out on the map to see where we are.


Our view.


And later.


It's hard to get a good photo of a marsh wren.



And a pine warbler in fading light.


Thursday, February 21, 2019

What the



That’s a white tailed buck in the background on the left.



But that horse looking thing on the right?



Oh wait, here’s an even bigger one.  The first is just a juvenile.


It dwarfs the deer.


Big body.  Small head.  A Nilgai.  A very large antelope, imported and set free on the King Ranch in South Texas in the 1930s, it has since established a robust population in the back-country of all of South Texas.


It’s a native of India.


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Stanly and Dona


Steak, grilled shrimp, Judy’s rice with chopped green onion and tomato, tomato and avocado salad with a drizzle, and berries for desert.  The steak was the main course; everything else was so we could still feel good about ourselves after.



And Stanley and Dona.


A fine exchange of stories.  They know so much, especially about Alaska and Louisiana, that we need to know, and we have such limited time with them.  They used to live here at Sandpipers.  Henry loves them and always had to stop at their house every evening and we got to enjoy their hospitality.  But they moved away to Hammond, Louisiana, and are just back here for a visit.


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The coatimundi we saw in Arizona last year



…was resourceful.  He wanted the suet that was in the feeder for the birds.


He had to figure out how to get it.


Grab the chain.  Haul it up hand over hand.



No problem.




Monday, February 18, 2019

A fast four days


And they’re off.


We waved them “bye” at the little airport in Harlingen this morning.


What a great time we had.


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

What is making us crazy


The border fence.


There is a lot of border fence here along the Rio Grande, we’ve sent pictures, but mostly they’ve left the wildlife refuges alone.  They fence up to a refuge, then leave a wildlife and people gap in the fence, and leave that last little bit of native land almost undisturbed.


But the federal government has authorized more fence.  It’s not the wall; it is fencing that was approved long ago and they’re just now getting to it.  The problem is, the new sections of fence are going right through all the wildlife refuges.  We’ve seen activity in Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, the National Butterfly Center, and Bentsen Rio-Grande State Park; all of them within 20 miles of our house.  We see the construction activity and ask the wildlife centers about it when we call or visit, but no-one can answer our question:  “Will we still be allowed access to these refuges after the fence is built?”  None of the refuges can answer the question.  The fence is not a state or local project.  Local people have no part in it.  Any effort to get information out of the federal government Department of Homeland Security is met with silence.  They just won’t answer, so we don’t know, and even the entities that are directly affected don’t know and can’t find out.


Help.  We don’t want to lose our refuges.  We don’t know if we will or not, but the prospect is saddening.  If the feds are not going to fence us out, they could just tell us now.  We’d still be upset about more and more fencing in our neighborhood, but we could have the consolation of knowing we could still visit our public places in the future.



Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Last year this was a corn field


Now it’s a newly planted citrus orchard.


I admire the symmetry.  Every row, every direction, lines up perfectly.  I wonder if they used GPS to get everything so straight in every direction.  If whoever did this gets tired of working outside and wants to move indoors, I see a promising career as a compulsive accountant!


Saturday, February 9, 2019

The Great Backyard Bird Count is almost here!


Anyone can do it, and it’s easy.  Just log-in to ebird,, set-up an account, then tally the numbers and kinds of birds you see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, February 15-18, 2019.


You’re only supposed to put in the birds you recognize.  If you see a bird you can’t figure out, just skip it.  If this is your first time, keep it simple.  You can count from any location, anywhere in the world - including your backyard.  You too can make a difference in advancing the understanding of bird location and behavior, and be a part of this global citizen-science project!



Sunday, February 3, 2019

4,219, 500, 56, 138 update


Now it’s February and we’re at 4,219, 323, 50, 138.  Miles, birds, hours, counties.


Miles remaining to get to Fairbanks.  Number of bird species remaining to get to 500 for the year, number of hours of continuing education remaining to get to the 80 hour requirement, and number of counties in Texas we haven’t recorded at least one bird in.  The first and last numbers won’t change until we head north in May.  We’re making progress on the two in the middle.