Welcome to my photo journal.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

SPI Kite Fest

A new visitor at feeder

Are you all getting tired of hearing about our birds?? To bad!! We had a new visitor to our feeder yesterday an Altamira Oriole, what a beautiful bird. This morning there seems to be no birds, not even a black bird. The sun was out yesterday so we went for a drive along Hwy 4 to Boca Chica beach which is south of Padre Island out of Brownsville. We then drove to S. P. I. and had a late lunch at Dirty Al's Seafood and Bait that everyone raves about, I didn't think it that great, I had a better seafood basket at S.P.I Brewery.

We made it back for Happy Hour at the park, which is fun to sit and visit with the people and find out what they have been doing. We learned out Rag shops last night, shops where you buy clothes by the pound.
The birds have arrived, must have slept in this morning. It's coffee and doughnuts up at the clubhouse this morning. MMMM

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Not much going on

It's been an uneventiful week, the wind has been pretty stiff so it's no fun to be out but it's better than the weather back home. Today, we did go to S.P.I. to Market Days, not much of interest there for us so no purchases were made. We did walk out on the birding boardwalk and the skimmers were there today. Cool birds!! The other day we stopped at Hugh Ramsey Park and I got this photo of a Buff-bellied Hummingbird.

Hopefully this weekend will be nice and we'll go out and discover something new. Stay tuned!
Ken still doen't have his own computer and we are sharing.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Visit to Mexico

Sunday 16 of us from our park joined a tour to Mexico. We crossed the border at Roma to go to Miguel Alemdo, Mexico. We had a good time, here are some of my photos, note no birds were harmed in the cockfight demonstation.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sea Turtle Rescue Station

We went over to S.P.I. for lunch today and stopped in to see the sea turtles at the rescue station. What an interesting place, it is ran on donation, souvenir sales and grants. This lady Lla Loetscher (1904-2000) founded Sea Turtle, Inc. in 1977, with the mission to rehabilitate injured sea turtles and educate the public about their marine environment. This is a young Hawksbill Sea turtle. Yes, they do come a shore to nest from Galveston down the coast of Mexico. Around June the females come a shore, volunteers collect the eggs and take them to a safe nursery then in about 45 days the little turtles hatch and they take them to shore where they crawl into the sea.
The turtles at the station have been hurt by sharks and most can be released. They have several large turtles that are 30 years old and will never be able to live in the sea, like Merry Christmas here a Green Sea turtle.

We picked up a few little souvenirs, but they would like people to purchase the items made by the people who used to hunt turtles and their eggs to encourage them to make a living in making these items. If you are interested in learning more visit www.seaturtleinc.com.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Valley Nature Center

We saw the Vermilion Flycatcher today, it was out catching bugs with the Couch's Kingbird and Yellow-rump warbler right where we were told it would be. After hitting Best Buy, we visited Valley Nature Center in Wesleco, it has a nice visitor's center.
I saw my first wild poinsettia, plus many other native plants to the area. We saw more Chachalacas, Kiskadees and Orange-cap warblers.
We also spotted several cresents, this is a Vesta Cresent I believe. We also saw a Julia and Zebra Heliconian butterflies.

It was just a beautiful day to be out, no wind perfect temp of 72, it has been a bit cool in the early mornings that we have been running our electric heater. It is dry here and there has been several grass fires, I hadn't even thought of that being a problem here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bit of this and that

Sunday afternoon we attended a BBQ Birthday Party, the birthday celebrantes have been putting this bash on for 12 years. There were about 100 people there, they furnished the BBQ and everyone brought a side dish. There were 3 bands, each played for about an hour, one of the birthday persons was a band member the singer here in this pic. We were entertained with country and Mexican music. It was a fun afternoon! Monday, Ken volunteered to do some work in the Hugh Ramsey Nature Park, he did some bush removal. I cleaned the RV.
Today, Ken checked and made some calls to get stuff to fix his computer, so he'll be watching the mail now. We did stop at a couple of new places today, one was the Iwo Jima Memorial, this is the original working model from which the bronze was cast from, it is in Washington, DC. We also visited the museum and saw a 30min film on the Battle of Iwo Jima.
We visited Harlingen Lake which is on the birding list, I took this photo of a Yellow throat warbler. We meet another birding couple who told us about the parakeets in Harlingen and a spot where they are supposed to be, but not today. They are staying on S. P. I. and told us where we could see the Purple Sandpipers over there.

It is to be sunny all week and in the mid 70's so it should be a great week to bird. We may even get up early tomorrow to join a birding group at Hugh Ramsey Park.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Out birding

Ken's foot is just fine and the weather turned out to be nice so we've been out several places birding. We've gone back to our favorite place Hugh Ramsey Park and we saw our first Green Kingfisher and Ringed Kingfisher so we'll be going back to try and get photos.
We did another nite tour at Laguna Atascosa NWR, we saw Night Herons, White-tailed Kite which we can add to our life list. We also saw two bob cats, coyote, deer, Spoonbills, Pauraque and several feral pigs which they do not like for all the damage they cause. Our driver found a muddy spot and got stuck so we all got out and the guys pushed the van out.
Today we went to Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley S.P. In the entrance they had several feeders and there were about 30 Chachalaca feeding, they were fun to watch. We saw our first White-winged Dove. We find that in the state parks you have to ride their trolley, walk or bicyle or combination.
Ken's laptop crashed so he has to call a Dell technetion and Monday being a holiday he have to wait, but at least he can use mine til his is fixed.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Birding on SPI

Tuesday was windy but we went to S. Padre Island to try some birding but we didn't stay long. Wed. was a beautiful day so we went back and spent the entire day birding.
Last night Ken was making his favorite rice dish in the microwave and he spilt some hot water on his foot now this morning it is blistered. He hasn't tried to put shoes on yet, so we probably won't be doing much til it is better. We are to have rain showers the next couple of days too. Stay safe and warm.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Around Hummingbird Cove

It's turned cool 70s daytime and 40s at night, cold for the locals. Yesterday, it was only 60 and it felt cold to us so we went to a movie, we saw Clint Eastwoods Grand Treno, Ken really liked it for me it was depressing.
This morning some of us from the park toured the Border Patrol Hdqs in Harlingen, it was interesting, they even had a few detained. They are kept there only 48 hours then sent to a bigger center til they are deported home. The agents go through 19 weeks of training, learn Spanish and then they all spend two years working the southern border than they can move on to other places. They are only building fences in areas like towns and cities that are on the border, in open areas they have cameras and sensors. We got to see the monitors, nothing was going on.
Thought you might enjoy a few of the photos I've taken around Hummingbird Cove. Sat. evening we had a one man band entertain us, this Sunday there is a barbeque.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Laguna Atascosa NWR

Friday we visited laguna Atascosa again, not much there this time, lots of visiters though. Part of the refuge was closed for bow hunting, but we drove the 14 mile loop.
We stopped at the visiters center after our drive and one of the volunteers was telling us about the Friday nite tours, so we decided to join it. We hadn't had lunch just snacks but that's the way our travels go. We didn't see much on the tour either but did learn that there is supposed to be Nilgai on the refuge, an antelope type animal from India, brought to the Kings Range as a game animal and of course they escaped and wondered to a safe place. We did see a wild pig, several deer and several Pauraques a night bird that likes to sit on the road and catch bugs. Since it is a night bird no photos so I borrowed this painting from Wikiepedia.
This morning we are watching the birds at our feeder, we had 3 Green Jays and a couple of Titmice with our usual Cardinals, Long-tailed Grackles, Red-wing black birds and Sparrows.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Just down the road

It was another beautiful day here in the Rio Grande Valley, we had a few more visiters to our feeder this morning (they are the first two photos of my slide show). Ken decided we needed to add a ground feeder so we went shopping for another feeder this morning.
We now have neighbors on each side of us, we haven't meet them yet.
We decided to visit the County Park just down the road from us in Arroyo City. It turned out to be a good birding park, there's camping there too right next to the river but their monthly rates are much higher than what we are paying here. We even saw a Spoonbill but to far to get a photo. The Redheaded ducks are to be somewhere in that area and in the biggest concentration in US but we didn't see them there was something with red heads in the far far distance. The shore birds I'm not good in identifing. I believe the river runs into the Laguna Madre the bay on this side of S. Padre Island and is a salt water river.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Sabal Palm Audubon Sanctuary

We checked off another birding site today, this one was south of Brownsville on the Rio Grande River. It was an interesting place but very few birds and butterflies but as we were ending our visit I heard a noise and saw several Chachalaca in the underbrush. So we were able to add another bird to our life list.
The first photo is a flower from a tree in front of the Brownsville Visitor Center, just gorgeous. The lady behind the counter was from Richman, MO practically a neighbor!
I guess a couple of my names for the duck and a butterfly were wrong yesterday, Ken's photos are more detailed and he decided the duck was a Blue-wing teal and the butterfly a Laviana White-Skipper, sorry.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Edinburg Scenic Wetlands

The sun came out around 11 am today so we decided to get in a little birding. The Rio Grande Valley has this map of birding and butterfly sites, I posted a photo of it a couple days ago, we are visiting the more important sites. There are 97 sites listed, we have visited 14 sites so far.
Monday we went to a movie, we saw the Curious Case of Benjaman Button, it very good. The theatre was very nice, decorated in Art Deco style and Mondays are $5 Senior day.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Nice Birding day

Ken put out a bird feeder next to the dining area window, here's our first bird this morning. After going to McDonald's for breakfast, we went to Hugh Ramsey Nature Park and Ken set up his camera to try and capture a few photos. He was very succussful and we can add at least 4 more birds to our life list.
These are taken with my point and shoot, it's about as good as I get. This is the Kiskadee.

Here is a Golden-Fronted Woodpecker, there were two new doves for us, Buff-bullied Hummingbird and a Long billed Thrasher, sorry my photos weren't very good maybe next time.

It was a warm day today about 85 but another cool front is coming thru and it is to be only 53 tomorrow and maybe a shower.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Market day

It's been windy again, but temps in low 80's . Friday we checked out the new state park, Resaca de la Palma. We drove in and had high hopes when we saw all these people in their birding garb, but it turned out not productive at all. Ken saw his first Kiskadee, it's the yellow bird I photographed and posted earlier in a slide show and that was about it.

Today we had breakfast at the clubhouse, they fix breakfast once a month for $4. Then went to Harlingen to their Sat. Market. Ken bought a Lantana plant for $4, and I bought some Mexican sweet bread to try. It's not as sweet as I thought it would be. We saw this vender selling corn, so Ken stopped and bought a few ears and a small watermelon. Well, the corn was tough and like field corn so we tossed it. We haven't tried the watermelon yet.

It was time to do laundary again, so I did that this afternoon.