White ibis

White ibis
Ibis

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Let The Adventures Begin


First Adventure, 2015

Saturday, January 16, I woke to the multiple roars of airboats departing to go duck hunting from Goose Island State Park.  Nature was calling, so I quickly dressed and stepped out of my tent to find the dark sky awash in dark pink clouds. I quickly grabbed my camera and set off on a route to the island that would take me past a restroom.

I hurried down past the Entrance to the day use area and walked back to the junction of land and water to enjoy the pink sky and the birds. Then I continued across the bridge to the island and walked along the beach and the marshy backside of the island.


The fishing pier at dawn

Earth, water, air and fire

Spotted sandpiper I think - sun is making it look browner but it bobbed about like one


That afternoon,  my friend, Pat arrived to camp next to my site.  He had never been to Goose Island State Park and wanted to tour it instead of going on the afternoon paddle.  So we hiked most of the trails and went down to the beach on the actual Goose island and walked the fishing pier.


Three pintail guys were hanging out and feeding


A willet multitasking

The only pair of dowitchers - think they are short-billed

View walking back from the end of the fishing pier

Sheepshead were running and people were catching a lot of them

We chatted with this man and his wife while they filleted their catch

The laughing gulls waited to get the rest of the carcass


Pelicans waiting for fishermen in the boat trailer parking lot


No visit to Lamar, the town by Goose Island, is complete without a visit to  Big Tree.  It is over 1000 years old and is the champion Texas Coastal Live Oak. I find it a spiritual experience to sit quietly with it and contemplate the things it has seen in its life.


Big Tree

In the field just before big tree, the landowner is putting out corn which attracts sandhills and whooping cranes. This is not a natural food for the whooping cranes, but some of them started eating it a few years ago when this area was in a bad drought.  There is also a problem with getting enough water assigned from the Colorado River Authority to keep the bay at the salt levels needed for little blue crabs to grow.  It got too salty during the drought, and also the wolfberries didn't produce fruit that year.  The birds had to live on corn or die, which some did. So these birds are very vulnerable.  So far, Fish and Wildlife, has not released the current numbers.  I even checked at the Aransas Visitor Center but could get no current data.


Sandhill and whooper from about 200 yards away

We caught these redheads close to shore on the way to Big Tree

We also had to make several visits to the feeding station, the reason a trip to the bathroom takes an average of one hour.  This trip, we only found cardinals, titmice, a few species of sparrows, and one hermit thrush, but it will soon be alive with migrating birds using the water feature and coming to oranges, as well as the seed feeders. The last time I was here, I also couldn't paddle and got to watch a female sharp shinned hawk take a long bath.

One of several cardinals visiting the feeders

Immature white-crowned sparrow

Catching Up:

I spent a quiet December in mostly cloudy or rainy weather. My friend, Natalie, dropped me off in Pittsburgh, Pa on her way to Lancaster, Pa to spend Christmas with her family.  My only job while traveling was cat herding.  I was still in my sling from having my left rotator cuff repaired.  We had warm cloudy weather the whole time and I mostly stayed inside. My camera was also sick and has been replaced twice, the last time with the wrong model.  I ended up having to buy another camera.

January started off with our southern edition of winter - a little cold, a lot cloudy, and quite rainy.  I mostly hung around the house and played or worked on the computer. I got to start physical therapy for my rotator cuff rehabilitation and am currently healing very fast.  I can already move through the paddling stroke with a broom handle, but need to gain a lot of strength and get my arm to rotate.