Welcome to my photo journal.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A New Year and New Decade

Lets fill this new year and new decade with
Joy, Happiness and Gratitude.
Here's to the bright New Year and a fond
farewell to the old ,
here's to the things that are yet to come,
and to the memories that we hold.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Movie days

The last four days have been cloudy, cool and rainy, good days to go the movies.
We've seen Up in the Air, It's Complicated and today Nine, we like to see the first movie of the day to beat the crowds.
Nine was my favorite, I usually like the musicals.
It was interesting to see dramatic actors singing, Judy Dench has always been a favorite of mine and Ken likes Daniel-Day Lewis. I always watch for the birds on our drive in and back from town, yesterday we saw this huge stream (kettles) of what we believe were Turkey Vultures as the last few days we've seen smaller streams of them in the same spot but yesterday the sky was full of them I did spot a couple of hawks near the group. I wish now we would have pulled over to really look at them. They were heading to warmer Mexico.
You are all probably bored with our bird watches but I find it interesting and fun to see the various birds, occasionally we'll see something really different for us like a lone Roseate flying over the road the other day or a Caracara sitting in the field all seen just driving into town.
Sometime I'm going to make a count of the birds we see here around the park, I can usually see different birds flying up and down the Arroyo behind us while sitting next to our RV this morning I saw 12 Sandhill Cranes pass over it's been a couple of weeks since we've heard them.
Til next time, have a good day.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Our Christmas

We hope everyone had a nice Christmas and a safe one.
It looked like a white one for many of you.
Christmas eve we were invited to a hot dog cook out and we all brought some finger food.
We took chips and makings for smores.It was a very windy day and the evening a bit chilly so we ended up in our hosts screened in porch.
The hosts have a regular night visitor, a Black-crown Night Heron that can they feed by hand it has been visiting for two years. They have named it Clyde.

Christmas dinner and gift exchange was at two, here's some of the crowd, I believe there were 65 of us. We had turkey and ham and everyone brought a side dish or dessert so there was plenty to eat. Someone even made my favorite pie, rhubarb strawberry.

Enjoy the Season!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

To all a Merry Christmas

A Merry Christmas to all my readers.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Solistice

It was a pretty morning so we walked down to the dock and Ken feed the birds.We had a Great Egret and Great Blue Heron watching the proceedings.
We did a little birding at Ramsey Park, saw several little birds the Black tufted Titmouse, Orange Crowned warbler, Bewick Wren and White-eyed Vireo.
Went to Subway for lunch then to the Harlingen Library where we see the Vermilion Flycatcher and Ruby-crowned Kinglet as well as Cormorants, Coots and Whistling ducks. We were surprised when we looked over to where the Cormorants were sitting a hawk was sitting with them, not sure what kind til Ken looks at the photo he took it was a bit far off to really tell.
Known as Solstice Night, or the longest night of the year, much celebration was to be had as the ancestors awaited the rebirth of the Oak King, the Sun King, the Giver of Life that warmed the frozen earth and made her to bear forth from seeds protected through fall and winter in her womb. Bonfires were lit in the fields, and crops and trees were "wassailed" with toasts of spiced cider.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The journey to Bethlehem

We slept in this morning, especially Ken he was tired and he slept for 14 hrs.
After my morning walk, I was sitting out enjoying the nice morning and noticed these birds flying over, it was a kettle of White Pelicans there were about 50 of them.We drove to Harlingen for bunch at IHOP and to pick up a paper.
It was such a nice day, the sun was trying to break through the clouds so we decided to check out our favorite Ramsey Park and walk off the breakfast.
We found part of our favorite path had water and mud on it yet, the Arroyo Colorado was still out of its banks too. We heard some kids on the next path over and found that they were dressed up as Shepards, then I remembered that the St. Pauls Lutheran Church was having the Journey to Bethlehem in the park 3 to 6.
It was so cute, kids were at various points representing the journey.
At the two major stops there was a guitar player and the kids sang a carol.
What a great idea, this is the 2nd year that the church has done this.

We decided to check out Lantana Lake on the way home, it is next to a busy road, but it is always good place to see birds as you see here in this pic I took. The Spoonbill is sitting among Blackbellied Whistling ducks. There were Egrets, Cormorants and other ducks as well as a Nutria (we think).
It's been fun running into Christmas events on our outings.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Bird Count

We were up early this morning to head out to Port Isabel to join the Christmas Bird Count. Port Isabel is where the causeway to South Padre Island is located. It is port to many shrimp boats and has some interesting maritime history we need to check out sometime.
We were put in a group to count the birds in Port Isabel, other groups headed out to other areas around Port Isabel. Our group had the Pres. of the Harlingen Audubon, and two other very good birders of that group. We started out around 7 am and drove thru neighborhoods, around schools and the boat docks. It was foggy to start and it stayed chilly all day. We stopped for lunch at a little Mexican restaurant then did some more birding. We must have visited almost very street in the small town, we saw 64 different species of birds but I don't have the total count the ladies will do that when they get back to Harlingen. We learned alot from the ladies about birds and Port Isabel as one of them had lived there for several years even kept a sailboat there. I can add about 4 birds to our list, Bufflehead duck, Godwit, Willet, Herring Gull and Western Sandpiper.

We were followed by Port Isabel's fire department in a couple of the neighborhoods, Santa was throwing candy to the kids. I had never heard of that before! Yes, they used the sirens the whole time. How fun!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Rain over for now

Santa's in South Padre Island resting up for his big night although he hasn't had much sun to enjoy lately.
We finally got out after staying in for two days, just went out to get groceries and lunch at Whataburger.
We had around 4 inches of rain and it looks like more with all the water sitting in the fields and peoples yards.
We even lost power for four hours yesterday, doesn't really hurt us with our generator and batteries but the gates wouldn't open to the park so some were locked out or were locked in depending where you happened to be.
The sun is supposed to come out tomorrow and no rain til next Wed.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

3 hour wait for 12 secs....

Our Sunday started at 4:15am, and an hour drive to South Padre Island and half of it in dense fog.
Ken wanted to be sure we would have a good spot to get photos.The Ocean Tower was being imploded at 9 am.
(That's the tower behind him.)
The 31 story tower was leaning before it ever was finished, it was built in 2006.
The tower is the largest concrete building ever to be imploded in the world and the newest so it is one for the record books.
Here are my pics of it.

Down in 12 secs.

All that is left, the rubble and it will be recycled.
We didn't go on the boat trip, Sat. am was cloudy and cool so Ken thought we wouldn't see anything so we went to Padre Island in the afternoon.
Ken wanted to check out the what and where of the demolition, and while there check out the birds at the boardwalk. The Spoonbills were there preening so we got some good photos of them and the egrets and saw our first American Widgeon.
I also saw my first dolphin in this area as we crossed the bridge home Sat. afternoon.
Sat. evening we went to San Benito's Christmas Parade, why they have parades at 6 pm is beyond me, it was chilly and hard to get photos. It was a nice parade tho, it lasted 2 hours and had lots of kids in it, bands, dance classes, and church groups so it was fun to watch.
I added some of the bird photos that I took this weekend to my Flickr site so please visit it if you want to see more of my photos.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A rainy day

It's a rainy day a good day to catch up on e-mails.
Last night we went to our first Audubon meeting. The program was given by a couple who had taken a birding trip to CO to see the chickens, prairie chickens last April, it was very good program.
There was a silent auction on various items to raise some money for plants for our favorite birding park, Ramsey so I bought an old book a big book on the Worlds Raptors it was a bargain for $7.
Hopefully this weather clears up by tomorrow so we can go on the boat tour of the Rio Grande river with the Audubon group.
Earlier this morning I listened to our family of Kiskadees, a joyful noise.
I heard a bird sing in this dark of December
a magical thing
and sweet to remember
'We are nearer to Spring than we were in September'
I heard a bird sing
in the dark of December.
Oliver Herford

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tree display

Our weather forecast for the next week including today is gloomy, cloudy, windy and maybe some sprinkles, but I realize it is still much nicer than the weather back home.
To get in the Christmas Spirit we went to the Harlingen Christmas Tree display at their museum. You'll be seeing more of the photos I took there in the next few blog posts. I even learned about a new Christmas legend.
After lunch, we finished up our shopping for the grand kids at Wal Mart in San Benito.
These Roseate Spoonbills were at the side exit in the canal, I tried to walk up to get their photo but I scared up the closer ducks and so the spoonbills took off too, but I liked their pink reflection in the water anyway.

Ken's busy wrapping up the gifts so we can get them into the mail in the next couple of days.
I'm feeling a little guilty today, I didn't do my exercises guess I'll have to double up tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Some sun....

Here's a little sunny photo for you all who are having some cold weather.We been out doing alittle Christmas shopping.
The sun came out this afternoon and the
temp got to the 80's so on comes the air after having the heat on for 3 days.
We have been joining in on some of the games
in the evenings, Monday is Mexican Train a domino game,
Tues is Bingo, Weds. is Pegs and Jokers we may stop there, altho
Thurs is Pokino and Friday is happy hour with games after.
So far not many of the residents here join in on the games (I so want to write
reindeer in there) so we thought we be some bodies for awhile.
It is nice to meet some new people, but the same people show up for the games.
I've been the big loser at these games, but then I'm just learning to play them.
Stay safe and warm those of you up north.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Freeze Warnings

It seems winter has hit the Rio Grande Valley at least for a day or two.It's a nice day to stay inside, I'm not baking but working on Christmas cards.
We've been here a month, it doesn't seem that long.
I've kept track of the numbers, we've seen 101 different birds and over 50 types of butterflies Ken keeps finding a new butterfly when he goes out taking photos.
Ken made chili last night so we are enjoying it today too.
Harlingen's Christmas parade is this evening, and it's to be cold so we won't go.
Yesterday, we went to the movies and saw the Blind Side, it was very good.
Be thou as chaste as ice, and pure as snow.
thou shalt not excape calumny.
Shakespeare 'Hamlet'
I've been reading my quote book.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Rain and cold

We've had rain the last two days and it's a chilly rain, but the sun should come out tomorrow.
I've done a couple of watercolors, did a small load of laundry in our little washer in the RV, the second load we've done in it. It takes a long time to do such a small load but I may use the washer/dryer more often, the park has only 4 washers and dryers and as more people come in the busier they will get. Maybe I'll get in the habit of putting in a load every other evening.
We've been watching the news on Tiger Woods, the 4 policemen killed in WA and the White House party crashers, crazy, crazy. The local news is usually about the drugs found in cars crossing at the border bridges.
I went up and exercised on the treadmill this afternoon and the clubhouse was all decorated up for Christmas, looks really nice. We most likely will not put up any decorations, I'm trying to talk Ken to going to the Harlingen Christmas parade and concert this weekend. I've never seen a Christmas parade.
Well, that's the news from the 4cats.

Friday, November 27, 2009

White-tailed Hawk

Here's Ken's photo of the White-tailed Hawk, he combined two photos into one.

4 and Twenty Blackbirds

On our way home this afternoon, we parked on the side of the road and watch a couple of farmers plow up a grassy field.
He had what looked like thousands of birds enjoying whatever feast he was plowing up.
There were cattle egrets, great-tailed grackles and 5 hawks.
When Ken looked at his photos this afternoon we discovered that at least one hawk was a white-tailed hawk so we can add a new bird to our birding check list.
There were so many grackles it almost blacken the sky at times.
Here a few of the grackles are taking a break.
This is what makes it fun to be a bird watcher.
It made my day since I was feeling a little under the weather with allergies.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

This photo was taken last Jan. of the Arroyo City turkeys,
we haven't seen them yet this year.

Todays weather

We got up to the chorus of coyotes this morning and to fog. We went in to town so Ken could have his breakfast burrito, then we walked around Ramsey it was very humid but the butterflies were out.
We didn't last too long there and then stopped at Walmart for a few Thanksgiving supplies.
Ken is going to heat up a Stouffer's mac'n cheese and take a box of wine to the Thanksgiving dinner.
I took this pic on the drive home, the storm clouds were coming in and by 1 pm we had wind and rain. The temp is to drop also from 74 to mid 60's and it is to be nice the next couple of days.
We've been going to our wetland birding area a couple of times but it always turns cloudy on us so pictures aren't that good. I was excited to see my first snipe there. It is a nice place to watch the birds, the common yellow-throats, marsh wrens and at least 10 Harris hawks as well as all the water birds.
I would like to wish Dennis a Happy Birthday!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Birthday party

Here's the birthday boy and part of our entertainment Friday evening, she put on several fun costumes in the same vain her counterpart played the guitar and sang.
Bob was very surprised so the secret was well kept by over 40 people. It was a perfect day today and we went out birding, saw our first American Avocet and found a new spot to go birding.
Hope you all are having a nice weekend.
Ken is going to grill pork chops this evening.
We are still having Internet problems, seems it goes out every few days Ken has been going up and helping with the problem.
Our phone doesn't work at all out here this year so we have to go to town to make our calls so if you want to hear from us send an e-mail and we will return with a call as soon as we can.
We picked up our first box of forwarded mail today, thanks to all who mailed fabric squares.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Some neighbors

These Sandhill Cranes have been visiting the field across from our RV park, they get a bit noisy but I enjoy hearing them,
As well as our morning owl call and sometimes earlier coyote chorus.This Great Blue Heron was behind us one morning just looking things over.

We've been out checking various nature centers seeing if we could find a different butterfly but so far they have been the usual ones we already have bunches of photos of.
We did join Frontera Audubon Center figured a membership was a better deal than paying every time, it's a really nice spot to bird in Wesleco.
Today, we went out driving and ended up at South Padre Island. We checked out the finished birding board walk, it's nice. We saw several shore birds there, it's always a good place to go birding. It was a cloudy day and fact started to rain on us coming home so the photos we took aren't the best. We'll visit again and again and will get better photos, the Roseate Spoonbill hopefully will be there then.
We had our first pot luck dinner last night, Troy and Sandy supplied the hamburgers and everyone else brought sides. Then we played Pegs and Jokers with two other couples for an hour or so, the guys skunked us gals we'll get them back next time.
Friday evening we have a birthday party to go to, Bob is celebrating his 80th, Bob and Norma are from Moberly, MO. They are the ones who invited and taught us how to play pegs and jokers so I made him a card with that theme.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Photos from Bird Festival

Here's a photo from Walmart's parking lot, three new wally world shoppers? At the Bird Festival Bazaar there was a booth with live raptors, they had been injured and are now being used for educational purposes. You could also have your photo taken with them, we didn't just took photos.
This is an Aplomado Falcon, I had posted earlier that we saw one in the wild last week when we were at Laguna Atascosa NWR so now you can see what one looks like.

It was an easy way to get a nice photo of a Bald Eagle too!
A cold front is passing thru today which is to bring some much needed rain.
So far no rain but the temp has cooled to the 60's.
Ken is cooking up some ribs and beans today so we will be eating well for a while.
The park's Internet system has been fixed, hope it stays fixed.
Yesterday, we went to Santa Ana NWR and walked around, did see a Common Mestra butterfly and several of the others. I was watching at one of their feeding stations and saw a raven, at the time didn't think much of it but later when reading thru our bird list discovered it a Chihuahua Raven as the common Raven is not here. Should have taken a pic but didn't.
I got caught up with the laundry yesterday afternoon and this morning cleaned the RV some, then joined the exercise class at the clubhouse. It's not often we're around for me to join the ladies with their classes. There were 7 of us today.
The ribs are ready so time for some lunch.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bird Festival

We have enjoyed the Harlingen Bird Festival, we went Thurs and walked around the venders booths, bought a couple of t-shirts, and 3 old birding books.
We then visited with the guy who gives bird walks at Ramsey Park and he gave us all kinds of places to go birding and eat.
We went to a seminar on how to ID birds but it really wasn't that helpful.
Friday we went butterfly hunting at a couple of parks and saw our first Red-bordered Pixie and Gauva Skipper and several I haven't taken time to ID.
Photos will be posted on Flickr when I can get them there. Today, we got up early and went on a birding tour of the salt lakes and Edinburg wetlands, at the lakes we saw 5 Nilgai, the big elk like animal from India that now roams south Texas.
We saw 65 bird varieties today and several were new to us.
Our park is having internet problems so I haven't been able to get on line and may have problems in the future so I'm making this short hoping I don't get cut off.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I finished reading My Life in Paris today.
I really enjoyed it, I loved Paris when Cheryl and I visited and this made Paris more personal.
The food sounds so delicious and Julia's work on research for their book was unbelievable who knew it took so much work to write a cookbook.
I just found Julia's story fascinating.Here's a busy Turk's Cap flower, Hummingbirds like it too.
I need to start studying up on birds again, we went out today and saw a couple of little birds we couldn't ID.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Laguna Atascosa

Originally uploaded by 4catsandus

Sunday we drove over to Laguna and saw our first Aplomado Falcon but didn't get a photo as it was too far away. We also saw a large family of wild pigs, several of these Caracaras and White-tail Kites.
It was a nice day and we were able to be out and didn't get a mosquito bite or chigger bite there. We both have gotten several bites already from walking at Ramsey.

I've joined Flickr a photo viewing site. I've been downloading some of my better photos there so far I have 90 photos there. If you would like to see them go to www.flickr.com/photos/jap4cats/ or just click on the Flickr side bar. I will be posting most of my photos there now.

It was a misty day today so we didn't get out to look for butterflies but it made for a good day to go through the photos we've already taken.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Oh My the Butterflies!

Our Friday was exactly like I said it would be, I know Ken.
Friday early am I heard a pair of owls, then later i heard some Sandhill Cranes passing over.
On the way in to breakfast we saw two Ospreys, several Harris Hawks, a White-tailed Kite and a Kingfisher.
Today on the way in we counted 8 Scissortail Flycatchers.At Ramsey Park the butterflies were thick almost like being at a butterfly house.
This is a Queen, beautiful isn't she.
This is a Silver Banded Hairstreak, one of the Texas speciality butterflies.
The American Snouts were thick as well as many we haven't identified.
We saw many of the Texas speciality birds, the Green Jay, Kisskadee, Golden-fronted Woodpeckers, Buff Bellied Hummingbirds, Curved-billed Thrashers, Long-billed Thrashers and Mockingbirds.
In our park we have spotted the Couch Flycatcher.
Today we took in Harlingen's Market days, fun booths to look at and two bands playing and of course food booths. We tried our first fruit cup today, a cup filled with fresh coconut, melon, watermelon, pineapple, cucumber and orange. The locals squeeze lime on it with a sprinkle of chili powder so we did the same, it was refreshing although I didn't eat the coconut.

I bought a few things from the antique tables, these old photos and three books all were a dollar each.

Tonight we cleaned off the bikes and rode around the park a couple of times, it has been a couple of years since I rode a bike but you know the old saying.
Ken bought out the grill and he put on a couple of chicken breasts, we are going to try to eat a little healthier this winter.
Have a good weekend!

Thursday, November 5, 2009


We arrived at Hummingbird Cove this afternoon around 4 and are pretty much settled in. We have even meet 2 new people and visited with our old friends Sandy and Troy. The cats have been sick on this trip except for Squeakie she must have an iron stomach.
Our first night was in Guthrie, OK and second night in Lexington, TX.
On our drive today we must of hit more butterflies than we saw all summer back home.
The snout nose butterflies were out in force around Victoria, TX and at one point it was almost raining butterflies.
We noticed our first boattailed grackle at Sinton, TX and we then felt we were almost at our winter home.

Our first sunset here at Hummingbird Cove.
We learned that South Padre is plagued with the red tide causing the fish to die. It is nasty stuff in that it affects the air quality too.
On the news we saw a tropical storm that may come into the gulf, maybe it will clear up the red tide.
They now have a yoga class here, I may try and catch it when we aren't out birding and looking for butterflies.
It was so nice to be out in the evening in short sleeves, the daytime temp has been in the 80's.
We'll probably go to San Benito tomorrow to have breakfast at McDonald's, Ken will need his breakfast burrito fix, then check out Ramsey Park and see if there are any butterflies there.
Then Friday evening is Happy Hour up at the club house, we'll go up and see who's here and get reacquainted. It's early so there aren't many here yet.
Til later, have a great day.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Rio Grande

Heading down to the Rio Grande Valley for the
birding festival.This is '08 poster.

Friday, October 30, 2009

This is It

All's well with Ken, good news. Went to see Michael Jackson's This is It today, I enjoyed it.
His concert was going to be quite a big production.
Everyone have a safe and fun Halloween.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Still waiting

We are still waiting to find out how Ken's biopsy turned out.
It was a beautiful fall day,
we opened the windows
and boo enjoyed the sun and fresh air.
More yard decorations.