My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Best Christmas Gifts: Paddleless Christmas Bird Count

I had to go back to Houston for a few social events, a haircut, and a visit to my surgeon.  Christmas bird counts were still going on and I ALMOST got around to looking the dates up, when I got an email from my friend and leader of several parts of several counts, Bruce. He invited me to the San Jacinto Wilderness Christmas Count, and said my friend, Bob had volunteered to paddle me.  I called Bob, and he said yes, that was all true, and he had already sent me an email. Further, he would need to borrow Natalie's canoe.  Natalie was still visiting her mother for Christmas, so I got permission to borrow the canoe and Bob picked it up. Then Bob and I met at a New's Party and I followed him home and slept on his couch so we could be leave at 5:30A.M.

We got to Lake Houston Wilderness Park a little before dawn and, by the time it was getting light, there several people committed enough to spend New Year's Day out on the streams, counting birds. I hauled our lifejackets and paddles the long way down to the put-in.  After that I mostly just took pictures and helped find the very few birds we saw.  We ended up doing an up and back paddle, so we counted seven and a half  miles for the bird count but fifteen miles of total paddling. I was the most rested at the end of the trip because I only dipped my paddled into the water to help steer through a couple of tight corners - we explored several little side waterways.

My first view of Peach Creek

Bob arriving with our canoe

Traffic is getting heavier

Taking this pre paddling picture was the first hard job of the day as three of us set up 4 cameras
 and ran to our places.  My personal favorite picture my camera
took was of Bruce - on the front, from the rear. Then he got faster. 

Getting on the creek

Waiting for the rest

Bruce leading us out 
A little visiting went on

My hard working paddler

Our lunch stop

Harmon jumping a log from a little area most of us stayed out of

There I was doing the hard work while Bob merely moved us through the water

Birds were in such short supply that finding this snowy egret was exciting

And he had this little buddy, a killdeer

This tree, heavily draped in Spanish moss, caught my eye