Saturday, April 29, 2017

Goose Island State Park, Rockport, TX

Im surprised I've been able to find Wifi in the campgrounds so as I wait out the long nights I  can blog...
Sunday I drove to Goose Island State Park 230 miles south of where I was.  I passed by Houston, It was easy Sunday morning, traffic was pretty good.  This is I-10 west...then I got I-69/59 South to Victoria then Hwy 77 S  to 239 E, then to Hwy 35 S. 


I had to U turn to snap this photo of 2 Crested Caracara, Life Bird!





 I started out on the bay side and moved to the woods side the next day.  As I found out the bay side is for fishermen and they make a lot of noise and they fish all dang night...this is Aransas Bay, and the fish are in here...


found some waders and shorebirds hanging around the pier...

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a mighty fine Willet in breeding plumage. 

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yes he had 2 legs...Fooled me. 

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...and some interesting birds in the water, the common loon above, and the brown pelican in silhouette. 

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and some not so popular but always handsome birds, like this black vulture...

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The next day before I left the park I asked to be moved to the woods side...That's where all the birder's were!  So I picked a site then headed off to Aransas Natl Wildlife Refuge. The best time to come here is in winter they get Whopping Cranes in winter. 


It was pretty dead on the day I visited..but I had a look around...

they have a very interesting butterfly garden...


Left my butterfly book at home....so what is it?

and a Baltimore Oriole, thanks Jen for helping with the ID, these Oriole's all look so similar. 

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Aransas Marsh and Bay beyond, they have some amazing tall observation towers...


And I'm hoping this is a Brown Crested Flycatcher!


Another new bird for me...

I just barely saw the eye on this White Eyed Vireo..


not new these guys nest in my woods back home...but I sure do enjoy seeing one!

there's deer...


White Tailed Deer, both of these does look pregnant.

and they have wild hogs...

 
he had his head buried in that grass and I made all sorts of sounds hoping he would look up he didn't....

and there was this cool looking dude, 


appropriately named the blue bellied lizard! 
and a sleeping tree frog of some sort...


and these reptiles...


American Alligator

Back at Goose Island here is my site  on the Woods Lantana Loop site 143 


amazing big Live Oak Trees...

I found an Inca Dove on the ground, new bird for me ca'ching!


I took a late afternoon hike, and the trees came to life with the light...


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In the morning I headed out...and stopped to put my trash in the big bin, and in the parking lot was a Killdeer nest...I stopped in the office to tell them to put something around it I hope they did!!



the mother to be...

and before I left I picked up another lifer, the Black Crested Titmouse!


Maybe I can get a better shot of one somewhere down the road...


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Tuesday Morning I headed for San Padre National Seashore...stay tuned!!



PEACE
Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

McFaddin and Sabine Woods

My last day at Sea Rim was Saturday and I had 2 places to visit all lined up.  Just down the road was McFaddin WLR.   I took a drive down to see what I might find.  Its a nice drive around a lake and some channels, then you gotta turn around...Once again due to the road that was not replaced when Hurricane Ike destroyed it.  

Lots of nice grassland too, its wet though I'm sure it dries later in the summer.  There were many Sea Side Sparrows out there hiding and singing in that grass...I got a few horrible photos but I'll share one anyways..


and just as crazy is the marsh wren they never sit still...


here's a little video of the wren so you can hear the call


the marsh wren


Saw a few great blue herons, some great egrets, snowy egrets, and green herons...


...below is a Savannah Sparrow as best I can tell...I'm always confusing them with Song Sparrows...


At the end of the drive where you have to run around there was a tug pushing a barge up the canal.



On the way to Sabine Woods from here you have to pass road 69, it is the area of Sea Rim Park where you can rent boats and there is a good sized parking lot there...I stopped to eat a lunch and found this guy sitting right in the middle of an empty parking lot! 


There was this guy from MN camped close to me on the beach a couple nights and he had ABA stickers all over his Hyundai Fit and little bird statues glued to his dashboard.  A little bit eccentric but it's all good.  SO he and I viewed a similar bird in the grass at Sea Rim he told me they are lesser nighthawk, I wanted it to be the common paruaque but he said no, so I trust his knowledge.  Lesser was a lifer for me anyway!! 

And here is the one we viewed together...


I stood too close to his mate and he zoomed me... what a sound he made...very loud earth shattering almost. I guess different lighting is the reason for the difference in color this one was in later evening light.

In that same parking lot is this NOAA weather monitoring station, pretty cool to see. 


and a red winged blackbird perched on the tower...

After lunch I drove about 10 miles down the road to the Sabine Woods, I stopped by here on Friday but the bugs were so bad I left...so I wanted to return. 

 

Great big trees in the woodlot, and at the back an open field, they charge $5 for non members..its a self pay station..


There is one pond on the property and it attracts birds and mosquitoes. 


There's lots of plants, insects, trees, nice trails, and some benches here and there to rest, they put out some trickle water features to entice birds to land for you to get a photo...I didn't have much luck, I should have come here first...




lots of flowers to attract pollinators too...



Here is a skipper on a blanket flower as I call this plant....all these plants are native to this area.  and above the Cherokee Rose. 

All the birders gathered at the water to wait for the warblers....



What we saw was this yellow crowned night heron try to swallow a turtle! He finally gave up but he whacked that turtle pretty hard...I had to leave I didn't want to see the turtle get hurt.



A grey catbird wanted a drink but he stayed hid in the thicket...


This Eastern Kingbird came right out in the open getting down to business gathering some nesting material.



I walked out of the woods to the field and back towards the entrance is a big mulberry tree, I saw a few orchard orioles fly in and out both males and females, and then one guy said there is a cape may warbler in the tree...took me forever to find him but finally I did...


Not a new bird for me, as warblers are plentiful in the Carolina's but it was sweet to get this photo.

I was hot and sweaty and tired so I went back to Sea Rim to get my van settled in for the last time there...




Sunday was a day of driving to get relocated...and I'll pick up there on the next blog. 





PEACE
Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.