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.
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.
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.
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.
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 HarlingenAudubon, 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!!
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.
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.
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.
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.