Welcome to my photo journal.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Busy Week

We enjoyed our trip to the Aloe King farm on Tues. it started out with a chicken lunch and some musical entertainment then the trip around the farm. The farm was purchased by the Sigrist family in 1975 when Audrey became interested in the aloe properties of healing her dry skin, the Sigrest's moved to Texas in the 70's from MO. They have 100 acres, with about 4,000 plants to the acre after the aloe is 4 years old they can begin harvesting the outer leaves for four years then the plants leaves begin to get smaller. They also harvest the babies to sell to plant nurseries. They make a gels and a aloe drink at the farm as well as selling the leaves and babies.We were invited by some friends to visit Progreso, Mexico. It is considered a safe place to visit. We walked across the bridge and joined the crowd of winter visitors for the two blocks of shops, beyond the two blocks were more shops and then the dentists and they were much quieter. We had a nice lunch, enjoyed a margarita which are sold in every corner of the stores. I never thought Ken would go, he doesn't like shopping or the trouble in Mexico but he went and enjoyed himself.
Thursday evening the Harlingen Audubon had a special program given by Seth Patterson the photographer of this big table book of the valley. It was very interesting to hear his stories of how he got the photos and to learn more about the valley.

Yes, we did have time to go birding and we got a new bird for my life list a Black throated Green Warbler found at Frontera Sanctuary in Wesleco. Sorry, I didn't get a photo but Ken did.
Here are some photos of birds I did get this week.

On Thursday we had some bad news, one of our friends in the park had a stroke and passed away. Jesse Mantony from Lee Summit, MO he was 85, luckily his son lives down here to help his sweet wife take care of everything. They will hold a memorial here Tues for him.

Last night we had some entertainment, Ruthie was back she entertained us last year. She is so fun, and she sings well.
So that was our week, hope you all had a good week.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A note from RGV

We had a nice week, the weather was pretty nice so we did a little birding.
Our visit to SPI was productive with these two Oyster Catchers, they were sitting with the Skimmers and gulls and we spotted the purple gallinule again. My photo isn't very good as they were pretty far away, I'm beginning to feel the need to upgrade from my point and shoot camera. We went birding at the reopened Sabal Palms Sanctuary, it is located on the south side of the border fence down by Brownsville. It had been closed for 18 months, and now reopened by the STU.
We didn't see anything new, we watched flocks of Snow Geese pass over the Rio Grande and spotted the usual forest birds. We did enjoy our walk through sanctuary.

We both got haircuts this week, can you believe it cost only $13 for the both of us.
Another deal we found was a bag of 8 TX oranges for 98 cents, at that price we can feed the birds oranges but there is no deal in gas prices at $2.95 this week.
I tried my first dish made with mole sauce, it was over chicken pieces and I found it very tasty hard to describe but very good.
The roads had dried up some so we decided to look for the Mountain Plovers which can be found in the same fields every winter. They are very hard to spot as they feed in the farrows of the fields but we found them as well as Horned Larks and Pipits.

This is the county road where the Plovers are found, we weren't the only birders looking for them Sat. This group came to the valley for a week from W. Virginia just to bird the area.
And yes that is a TX county road, not a farmers driveway!
Dicho Mexicano de la Semana
A lo que no importa, lengua corta
Translation: To what is not your business, keep a short tongue.
Our RV park has a trip to an Aloe farm this week, that should be interesting.
Til next time... have a good week.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Chilly and wet week

This week was a bit chilly and now the weekend is wet, the wet is needed. We had a Audubon field trip today, didn't see many birds but did see a new area to visit on our own some day and a new restaurant the Boot Co Grill, in Raymondville, it used to be a boot factory and made boots for some famous people including Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan. Thursday evening was the Audubon meeting and the program was given by John Bas a nature and bird filmmaker whose films have been shown around the world. We bought a couple of his DVD's, haven't watched them yet.
To keep busy on the chilly and wet days I do a little knitting.


and reading.
Dicho Mexicano de la Semana
"Cada quien cuide su rancho"
translation: Everybody take care of your own business.
The RV park is almost full, we got neighbors all the way down our little road.
We've seen the Yellow throated Warbler at our feeder a couple of times this week, it's been too quick for me to get a photo. We have a nice assortment of birds to watch out our window on these dreary days. We are lucky enough to have a corner spot which gives us a nice open area to look out on and draw the birds in to our feeders.
More next week.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Birding Trifecta

We've had a good first week of 2011, the RV park is filling up. I used to look down this road from us and see only one or two RVs.We had a couple of foggy mornings, but in most part we've had some nice weather this week and very little wind so it makes for good birding.
Today we headed out early to find the Vented Oriole, this is the 5th recorded visit of these orioles in Texas. It was an easy find although it was in a gated RV park, it was nice of them to let the birders in to see this bird.
After a a bite for lunch we decided to see if we could find the Greater PeeWee in the cemetery in McAllen, this is our 3rd try to find this bird and we got lucky today.
Since we were having so much luck in finding the birds we decided to try for the White throated Thrush again and again we got lucky. We were walking out of the park where it has been seen to head home and some birders motion to us that they have it spotted.
As I have mentioned before birders are usually very helpful and friendly.
So here are my photos of our trifecta , Ken of course has much better pics.
So we have 3 new birds to add to our life list and they are seldom seen birds in Texas.

White-throated Thrush

Vented Oriole on Coral Bean flower.

Greater PeeWee

Here is a collage of some of the other birds we watched this week.
click to enlarge.

We had a birthday dinner the beginning of the week, one of our friends invited us to join them at Texas Roadhouse for her celebration.
This next coming week we may have a little taste of winter, it's not to last long though. Tonight we may get some rain which is badly needed here.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A brighter New Year?

How's this for the first sunset of 2011!
We don't see too many sunsets like this here, as there are usually no clouds to add color. We were able to add two birds to our life list this week, this Ross Goose found off boardwalk at SPI. We didn't know it was a goose at the time, since it is smaller than most we know, we thought it a lost domestic duck. Then as luck would have it one of my facebook friends had posted her photos of the Geese she had taken at SCWR.
The other bird is the Bronzed Cowbird that was pointed out to us on yesterday's Christmas Bird Count we helped with. I mentioned to the leaders we hadn't learned to pick out the bronzed from the brown headed, which is hard to do from a distance, they pointed out a few of the cowbirds for us so we could learn to spot them.

We spotted this Aplomado Falcon on the roadside on our way to SPI this week, a cool find.

This guy is one of the resident gators you can see from the boardwalk in SPI.
We are looking forward to another year of good birding and RVing.
"If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else"
Yogi Berra
One of my favorite quotes.