My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Visit to Sheldon Lake State Park in Houston, Texas

I've had company for the last several days and have been too busy to get a post out.  But I managed to edit a batch of pictures from our trip to Sheldon Lake to visit the rookeries and enjoy whatever birds were around.

Two or my Corpus Christi paddling buddies are visiting, and  I invited another old paddling buddy who has returned to God's country from that wasteland known as New York. I invited my new friend, Bill, and Natalie was taking the last of her annual leave before officially retiring so was able to join us.

Bob enjoying the birds
We started out with a paddle on the lake where we found great egrets, black-crowned night herons, and roseate spoonbills building nests. We even saw a very early cattle egret in breeding plumage and a great horned owl sitting on a nest, only about eight feet above the ground. And the anhingas were gathering, in preparation for nesting.  We must of seen at least forty of them. A bald eagle was lingering as were a few gadwell.

A lingering bald eagle

Wynnie's picture of  us enjoying the birds

Can you find the black bellied whistling ducks?

Great horned owl on nest
 The weather was cloudy in the morning but got sunnier as the day progressed. I was in shorts and a short-sleeved shirt. But we were getting lots of wind when we started. We circled around the lake and then decided we needed to head back, since we expected the home stretch to take a lot longer. But, as we started back, the wind died, so we had a shorter paddle back than anticipated.

One of a few smallish alligators we saw
 Bob, from New York, is traveling in an ancient RV and is trying various techniques to get his kayak to the top of it. His first idea was to put it up from the back but he has to lift the entire weight of the kayak.  It was very entertaining to make bets on whether he could actually get his kayak back up - each time hangs in the balance.  Just a little uphill or a little more wind coming over his bow could change a lift into a broken head. But he got his boat back up without any excitement. Now we have to invite him back to paddle so we can see his next invention.
Bob putting his boat on his RV  - and the rest of us take pictures

Made it!
 After loading our boats, we went around the corner to the headquarters of the park and found a picnic table in the shade for lunch.  I made Mississippi Cavier, a black-eyed pea salad,  for all with fruit for desert. Then we spent some time visiting the new tower which is eighty feet high and lets on see most of Sheldon Lake plus great views of the ship channel, industry, and the park.

Winnie was taking this picture while I was talking instead of filling her pita pocket

Enjoying the view from eighty feet up

The whole lake can be seen in one view from the tower
We finished up by hiking the short trails through the old ponds - this used to be a fish hatchery and two ponds are stocked with fish for kids to catch. By the time we arrived home, it was supper time.

Winnie enjoying a walk in the piney woods

View of the new tower from a trail

First water lillies of the season

Willow blooms

Bill's still smiling at the end of the day

News flash!  I've finally gotten a position in northwestern Montana.  It's at the Bison Range National Wildlife Refuge. I haven't figured out exactly when I'll be there but it will be my mid May and will probably go until mid August. And I don't think I'll have to deliver any bison. But I will get to work with the Montana Conservation Corp. Plus, I'm sure, lots of other fun stuff.