Saturday, September 24, 2016

I'ts really quiet here.



Now that the gator hunt is over they have started to show up again in the Refuge . The recovery of the Gators after their near total wipe out after Hurricane Ike has been really well managed and there were enough to allow 20 permits to catch one in the refuge were issued for  10 day window for the hunt  . The gators won this one as only a few were taken and now it is over .

There are still a few Lotus blooming in the pond but most have passed as the cooler weather is arriving. We haven't hit a 100 degrees now in almost a week. The next cool front may take us down into the low 80's in the day and some 60's at night . we haven't seen those temps since early April.

All the baby ducks are now grown and getting ready to migrate .These Whistling ducks have been flying all around the Pond and are ready for migration south from here very soon.

A Yellow Crown Night Heron out looking for dinner . We had several hundred that had nested here and the to will soon move on .

So many rain storms and so many Rainbows .

A young Spoonbill working a mud flat for lunch.

We were helping with a bird survey on one of the non public parts of the refuge and came across a bunch of new born were standing in the road .

As free range cattle they have no fear of vehicles and they moved along with us as we traveled .Some of them still had their umbilical cords hanging and had some dried birthing fluids on them . Just so cute .


                                                                                 We see a rainbow almost everyday .                                                               It looks like we will be here for at least another month or two as we will see Laurens surgeon on next Wednesday and will find out when she will have her surgery. We are missing the family at the Beach in NC  this week and will miss a wedding next week in PA,. But our needs are coming first and we need for Lauren to feel better again before we move on. If things drag out here for to long we will stay in Texas until next year . Then we go back to our normal travels     G

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Our back yard

The Ranchers' cows have taken to sleeping by our back gate to the RV pads .

Once again the Spoonbills are just loving the Rice fields .

They are so neat to watch as they feed ,

A Cormorant drying it's wings after diving for lunch .

This  is the first full size Gator we have seen in over a month. They really don't like the hot weather either.

This Hawk dropped into watch the Blackbirds work our feeder . It just hung out for a half hour and then just flew away .

Nature at it's best .

So many cows and so many Egrets .

Just a little conversation between friends.

A Big Heron drying it's wings and enjoying the sun.
Still in Texas awaiting the hospital tests for Lauren on Monday and Tuesday. Then we will figure out if we are moving to the Outer Banks for the rest of the year.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

It,s getting a little cooler

The rice fields on the Skillern Tract are ready to be harvested and the Herons have moved in for some easy eating .So many fine bugs to eat and so little time until the harvest .

One of the new rice fields in the main refuge are drawing in the Roseate Spoonbills and the Wood storks . We had several hundred Wood Storks here for almost a month. Now this one seems to have forgotten to move on with the rest.

We are still doing some odd jobs the best we can as the refuge has received over 26 inches of rain in the last two weeks and things are a bit muddy here. I even got the car stuck the other day on a path that we have driven on all summer . Needed to get one of the other government vehicles to pull us out .Yes we are still in Texas . We did finally get the truck all squared away  and then Lauren has had a recurring medical issues that we have to get resolved before we head east again. It appears we will miss our family week in Nags Head this year and once again we will miss another wedding . We hate missing family functions as we miss seeing family in the north East .

Some of our Whistling duck babies are now almost grown and are just so much fun to watch the parents training them .

Just a lazy day on the ranch fields . Egrets and cows just go together .Part of the Refuge is leased to the local Cattle Ranchers and it helps with defraying the cost of keeping the Refuge operating .
It's been raining and he is just so miserable .
Whistling ducks are moving around in large groups now. Getting ready to migrate as the young mature .
Water lilies are now chocking off many of the water ways here and this is just a small batch shot of a 1 mile back up on the refuge Bayou boat ramp. And yes the locals are still using it .Funny that as soon as the temperature drops into the low 70's they will all fade away.
Young Roseate Spoon bills trying their wings .
Their just so beautiful in flight.
After one of the many thunder storms this Rainbow popped up behind the RV. on some days we will se several and we even get to see both ends. Just no pot of gold has been found. We keep hoping.


Young Cattle Egrets trying their wings over the Pond Rookery

Some Herons hanging out on one of the dikes in Shoveler Pond

A few Stilts drying their feet on the pond loop road .On some days we see several thousand bird on the loop .

A heron coming in for a landing
So many different birds in the pond rookery. The government vehicle we drive is a hybrid and when we are taking pictures we go into electric mode and the racket the birds put up in the rookery is just awesome. Thousands of bird conversations all at once . Just neat to hear.
A small group of Spoonbills on one of the new rice fields. If it stops raining for a week or so the field can be completed. It still needs a few finishing touches.
A Heron waiting for us to leave so it can continue it's fishing for lunch .

A huge Clutch of Whistling ducks .
So now as it stands we won't be on the east cost until mid October if all goes well with Lauren's tests. We shall see?

 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Still in Anahuac

We have seen more babies this trip than ever before . We are still in Anahuac as we wait for the new slide motor to arrive and a little delay due to a minor medical issue with new meds.

A real large group of babies and mom looking out for them. With there being so much water on the Refuge this year the predators are spread way out and the ducks are doing very well.

Two moms and their combined group of junior little ones .

Just so many broods .

Just a new group of  little ones .


Looking for a meal and we came along ., so annoyed .

And off we go

Young Ibis resting on the mud flat.

Ibis and Egrets working the low water for some good eats .



A Stilt  creating a wake as it looks for some lunch.

Avocets working the low water .

Avocets doing the lets work together and get all the little critters in our path.

So many birds in one spot , such a noise as they feed . 

More synchronized feeding .

This group was so busy feeding they came really close to us .

I'll pose for one more picture .

So many different shore birds in one picture .

Wood Storks and Rosette Spoonbills .

So beautiful to watch as they move from pond to marsh to feed .


A Night Hawk in a very usual pose .

It's been a little warm here over the last few weeks . Each day in triple digits with areal feel of 115 to 120 . glad both AC units work really well . The main Refuge VC has been closed for over a month as the AC went down and it seems the contractor on contract can't fix it . Go figure , so they have to get another certified one before they can get it fixed .LOL

Another cattle drive through the refuge . They move them to different locations in the Refuge as they graze down the grasses.

This was a small group, only about 150 cows and young .

Yes , they still use men on horses to do the work .

Every now and then I question my love for a nice steak .

Wood Storks doing a dance and the Whistling Ducks and Ibis watch them .

Wood Storks and on lookers .

A Little Blue Heron has caught it self a real find . A large crawfish .

We seem to be having trouble getting it in the right position for the big swallow.

The crawfish really doesn't want to be eaten .

Still not quite in the right position .

Almost got it down.

A perfect ending , it went right down. There were 15 more pic's of the struggle and we just watched in awe as the process between the two took place .




One of my favorite birds .It's always lurking in the same area on most days .

And some times it just poses .

Lots of Juvenile Ibis just hanging out. When they are young they are all black and as they mature they loose all the black and turn pure white . So cool to see when they are in transition as they will be black and white in various mixes of colors.

The Refuges CaraCara pair just resting on the pole where the Vultures usually roost .

A Diamond Back water snake that I had to move off the main road on our way to open the VIS the other day . I picked it up with my pickers and it gave me a little tude as I think it has just eaten and was resting in the middle of the road . That is not an option here as most people here believe the only good snake is a dead one, That's why the mice and rats are so prolific in the fields here .  We hope to have all our little problems worked out soon and be on our way to the Outer Banks in early September .                                     G