Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year

Lauren and her Dad along with Brother Jay having a good time at Xmas.

Laurens Nephew Anthony just watching all the of us and smiling.

Not just a Xmas tree but the first time Lauren had ever spent a Xmas with her Father in all her years.

And as always way too much food .

As the year end is so near we wish you all had a very Merry Xmas a hope you all have a great and prosperous New year. For us the New Year will bring a new adventure for we will be going to a Refuge we have not been to before, St Catherine Creek in Mississippi for 3 months. A new area to explore and new friends to meet.

Alligator River & Pea Island

We have been asked to help rebuild the mobile Bear Blind and so we went and picked it up way out in the Alligator River Refuge and dragged it over to the AR  RV pads to work on it. It' hard to believe that some of the largest bears in NC are living here and their numbers are said to be between 500 to 800 bears in the Refuge. Lauren giving me the what are you taking my picture for.

After we did some major and minor repairs to the structure of the unit the ladies did some pretty cool art work on the exterior as to try to give it a little bit of a camo look. I don't think it will fool the Bears but it looks great and I know the bears have a knowledge of this unit as one of the repairs I made was to a section of trim wood just above where the claw marks were in the plywood and the section of wood was ripped away.

Giving a lesson in how to properly roll up an extension cord. Nothing frustrates me more than a badly rolled up cord.

Tundra Swans on one of the flooded farm field impoundments in the AR Refuge. At this time there are about 1000 Swans scattered through the one hundred fifty thousand acres

Always a treat to see a mom and a little one moving across one of the flooded impoundments.

As she moved to the tall grass she made a switch.

We watched them for some time and realized that when they passed through the tall grass and entered the water that they had changed positions and mom was now behind the cub as they swam across the drainage ditch. Just making sure her little one was doing OK.

It was awesome to see just how fast they can swim .

Out of the water and back up on the berm with a few good shakes to remove the excess water from their coats. The only sad note on the whole thing is she had another cub earlier this summer but it didn't make it.

Like most of the large water fowl the Swans pair up for life and when migrating they manage to remain as family groups with the young still traveling together.

Driving past one of the many ditches we disturbed a great blue heron.

Their wing span always impresses me.

Swans , Geese , and all manner of ducks out on the salt marsh at the Pea Island refuge.

Some Ibises perched on a dead tree at the back of the Pea Island pond.  Several small groups have arrived in the last few days.

We gave these poor ducks a bit of a freight when I stopped to take their picture.

This one was flying backwards .

One of the Bald eagles that arrived with the flocks of Snow Geese . The Eagles follow the migration of geese south.

We were out at the back side of the fresh water pond on Pea Island and this shot shows just how close the fresh water pond is to the blue Atlantic. just a hundred yards separates them. The only thing you can't see is NC highway 12 which is by the power pole.

A pair of Tundra Swans just cruising along, just so peaceful .

Not moving fast enough, a little love bite on the butt will speed thing up.

Much better.
A Falcon looking for some lunch out by our RV pad .

Back to Alligator River with swans moving from one field to another.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

December and it's so different here.

As the Snow Geese and the Tundra Swans arrive on the Refuge the Bald Eagles follow their source of an easy meal. This one has decided to use the old Osprey nesting pole for the dinner table. Just so convenient an eating spot and just so good for viewing his habit .

Tundra Swans and White Pelicans arrive on the fresh water pond behind the Pea Island VC.

Just one of those shots that  make you to think  just how little  time we really take to wonder how beautiful the world really is.

There are so many birds on the ponds at Pea Island. I know our friends in the North East will say Canada Geese. But these geese are really migrating, yes they still know how to fly.

The moon surrounded by ice crystals . I know , we did have a few knights that were cool here before summer came back.

So we got involved in building a Xmas parade float for the FWS to enter in the Xmas parade in Manteo. Of course we had said that we had some knowledge of float building. So here at the beginning we have baby turtles coming out of the nest and moving towards the ocean. It's a good start.

Some heavy design thought going on here. We worked with a great group of people .

We had waves on the back of the trailer as the theme was by the sea and the FWS had decided to go with the Turtle watch theme . It's just amazing how much you can fit on a 22 foot trailer.

So as things progressed we now had the moon and a dolphin coming into the beach.

A random shot of some Pelicans flying over the RV as we were leaving to go work on the float.

As we progressed  the whole theme of ocean and beach came together and started looking pretty good. We even found little fish to put into the waves.

And as always, you just have to stop and do some badly needed clean up so as to be able to walk around the float .

A clean sweep. It's just amazing what you can do with some chicken wire, some cardboard and burlap .

Parade day and we are all a little groggy. Why do you need to line up at 8am for an 11 o'clock parade . Oh well. plenty of time to be social.

This is the tow vehicle that we jazzed up with a Xmas theme and some really great props .

We are looking good.

A great a picture of the other side .

The Xmas tree is made out of  some old crab traps and we decorated the tree with stuffed birds from the gift shop.

   The bear hanging out of the back window was a real hit with the little ones .

The final touch finally arrived and the signs were put in place .

Beside the float we also had some people walking alongside the float and handing out candy to the kids long the roadside .

We had the alligator and a turtle .

And a Red Wolf.

The group together.

Lauren helping .

The walkers all together.

The Parade route was almost three miles long and the crowd along the whole route was just awesome.

My critter was the Alligator rand  really needed to be guided as the sight in the costume is very limited and they need to be escorted .

Even my Grinch self had a good time . The public was awesome . Oh buy the way the float we built took 3rd place in a parade of 54 floats, not to shabby.