Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Birds 2010 and 2011

Okay this is way out of sync - my blog I can do it. Some are from my trip to Mass in 2010, some are while in AZ 2010 and others are 2011 in Texas.


Plain Chachalaca

Tri-Colored heron

Black Bellied Plover - reflected

 Silly Roseate Spoonbills walking the high wire!

He did make the pass as you can see above.

A sleeping Common Paraque

Look hard and you will see the Common Snipe

Sunset at Amesbury and this is 2010 just off Plum Island, MA

Rookery at High Island

Cerulean Warbler

Snout Butterfly

King Rail

The Common Paraque in camo position.

Rail thinking the hood has gone to Bud.

White Eared Humming bird - 2010 Arizona

Flower High Island

Least Bittern with lunch.

Crested Caracara on a cactus

Green Heron looking mad.

Audubon Oriole - 2010

Common Yellowthroat

Chestnut Sided Warbler - 2010, Plum Island, MA

Lizard, I think Anole, not sure

OKC is cool

Last night the temps were in low 60's. Was that nice or what? BUT...will get up to the mid 90's today. This heat simply will not be denied it's turn to torch us.

Will run out today and have lunch with some friends with whom I used to work. That will be fun. We did this back in June and had a really good time. Then on Saturday another GTG with a couple of friends. Aaahh the friends are what this life is all about....retirement! I love it. Each day is just a little bit better.

Trying to get the webcam to work on this computer of my friend and it just isn't not that easy. The system doesn' recognize that it has a webcam. So to get it turned off, did she just uninstall it? She doesn't know. So I'll continue working on it for a bit, then I'll in the big dogs. (I'll go to their web site!) So it goes......

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Here I come....Will hit the road Monday to Oklahoma. Will go by and visit with my sister for over night and then on to OKC to visit with friends and get my hairs curled. Will only be gone for a week. Should be fun.....Hhuummmm since the tornado tore up the RV Park where I stayed earlier this year for my Mom's funeral, wonder where I'll go this time. May have to dry camp at the farm. Weather should be great.

Friday, September 23, 2011

IHOP in Schertz

I met up with Colleen and Vicky at the IHOP for breakfast and visiting. Had a really great time. Hopefully I'll get caught up with the whole of the blog and then you'll see what I mean.

Maybe it is this away! Ya think?

Or maybe this away!

 But they both respond to "Hey ya'll"!

Vickie says read my shirt!
"I may not be as normal
as I first appear"

After the visiting we picked up books at Colleens and took them to Vicky and picked up a monitor at Vicky's for my friend Pam. Then I had to make a stop at my brothers for mail, a trip to the CU and then to Wal-Mart and back to my brothers to await my SIL.

Dinner at Chesters...very good hamburgers and fries. Then had to run takes about an hour to drive back to my place.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Potters Creek-COE camground

Decided to make a trip to Potters Creek campground. I like it most of the time. On the weekends it can get loud and roudy, but mostly it is nice a quiet. Made it in good time and all conditions were pretty much a go. Got parked and sitting in a nice spot. It is one of my favorites.

I have noticed only 3 of the Egyptian Geese. Last year there were about 12 or so. There are lots more deer. Looking pretty skinny and several young fawns are still sporting spots. They really need to thin them out. Before they will start being sick and then not making it thru the tough times.

Hopefully it will cool off here before long and then rain they keep promising will come to sit on our roofs.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Goliad State Park

Left Goose Island and spent two nice days at Goliad State Park. The first days I decided to mail my binocs off to the manufacturer to have them serviced. I have had them ten (10) years and never had them serviced. While I was at the Hummer Festival a couple of the Swarovski reps suggested that I send them and have them serviced especially before I head out to Alaska. They indicated the wait time could be a couple of months but to not send them in around hunting time as they are always sooooo busy. So I called Monday and talked with the Customer Service folks and sure enough they had a 3-4 week turn around. Now in my little mind that is nothing. After I got set up at the park I took off for the local discount store, Dollar General. Picked up a role of bubble wrap and then went to the local pharmacy to get something for my fire ant bites and then around the corner to the Post Office. Got a box, tape and label got everything ready and find out that there is a 'communication failure' here in Goliad. Now I new there was something wrong because I could not pay my camping fee at the State Park as the system was down. But alas, I had Cash. So I could pay my fees. Some folks had to go home and get their check books because they only had debit or credit cards. Anyway I got mine shipped. Can't wait to get them back.

Will do some maintenance things tomorrow. Then I'll get ready to head back toward the home base.
Communications problem is making my cell phone and data card very slow. Good strong signal, but over loaded. Won't get things posted while I am here.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Last Day of Festival

Currently in Rockport for the Hummingbird Festival. It ran Fri, Sat and Sun with some early home shows on Thursday. Lots of hummingbirds down here. The most I have ever seen. I come down as frequently as I can for the festivals. When I lived in Texas I came a lot, then it wasn't so easy. Last year I was tied up and this year was make up time. The Ruby throated HB's had a great year by the looks of the birds we are seeing. They are plump too. Was worried that with our drought and the one in Oklahoma that they would doing poorly. They are quite voracious little buggers too. I have been filling my llittle feeders about one liter every two hours. Of course, if I had those huge feeders I'd just be filling them 3 or 4 times a day. Have had some really nice Buff bellied HB show up. A very few Rufous/Allen's type show up, too. They are really out of range, while the Buffy's are now year round here.

Will be leaving here on Tuesday and headed north. Has been a really nice stay here at Goose Island State park. It is always a nice stay, unless the mosquitos are bad, so far they aren't but it will only take a few days and a new batch will hatch as a result of the rains the last two days.

Ron and T left and got home about 3:30. They had a blow out on the Jeep about George West on I-37. They had the Hi-Lo which is 22' travel trailer. Glad that wasn't me. I need to be sure to check my air tomorrow so I can air up before I take off.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Day 2 of the Festival

Okay, here it is Saturday and we are going to go around to some of the houses here in Lamar, Fulton and Rockport to see the humming birds. We made a trip around the Lamar bay area and saw a nice flock of Wood Storks. Quite a surprise. Had we not come up the back side we would have missed them. Good for us!!

Our first stops will be around Lamar. The houses on Tomahawk always have great landscaping and are so friendly, you just love going there. This trip was no different. The first house has made a lot of changes in their landscape, but not for the better. He has 'cleared' out a lot of trees and shrubs that was beautiful. Now he has a 'bay view'. Needless to say, he has the house on the market. The second house, next door, is much the same as she has always had it. It is just great for HB's and other birds. We had orioles, dickcissels, and sparrows that moved to quick for ID. She also had 3 types of HB's. Really a great stop. It took us most of the morning - well okay it was only 10:45, but we had planned lunch a Charlotte Plummer's and decided to head on over that way. They open at 11:00 and if you don't get there, you get seconds...well not really, but you don't get chicken in the soup. So we went to lunch and then took the left overs back to the rigs for refrigeration.

Afternoon our first stop was in the 'ritzy' section of town that currently have two families that have their place open. The first couple are friends of my brother and sister-in-law. They had a nice sort visit with them and we got to see some gorgeous Buffy's eating at the Fairy Duster. A great shot. We left there and went to a house that had at least 40 feeders out both front and back. They too had a Buffy. We left there and went to another house that was a little way out of town. They had a huge lake in their back yard. Probably nice until the bugs get after you. They had a lot of hummers, but probably less than the other folks. They had a star bird though - an adult male Rufous HB. The others that we saw looked like they were hatch year birds. This guy was a beauty. Lovely landscaped yard.

Okay it was time to gas up and stop for dinner - didn't want to drive out to the campground and then come back in. So we gassed at Wal-Mart and then stopped at K-Bob's for steak. It was really good - at least mine and T's was. Ron got the ribeye and it looked pretty sorry. Both T and I had a too go box and we shared a dessert.

Tomorrow Ron and T will head for home about 10 a.m. Should get them home by 2 p.m. I'll make a last run thru the Vendor area to see if they have any good things on sale, then head back to the rig. Probably have HB' sitting on empty feeders shouting at me because the juice will be gone.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Day 1 - Hummer Fest

Today is the start of the Hummingbird Festival. My brother and sister-in-law came down yesterday and today we went over to Port Aranasas to Paradise pond, Birding Center, the jetties and Charlie's Pasture to check out the birding. It was damp over there as they had just gotten some rain that morning. About 4:30 they got a real down pour and it was still evident as some of the places that were dry when I was over there two days before were now wet with pools of water. YAY!

On the way back to Rockport we stopped for lunch at the Big Fisherman's restaurant. They have fairly good seafood/fish. Used to be fried only, but now they grill and char-grill the food. We then went by the school to pick up the various things we would need to making the rounds of the houses to see the birds. It was really packed. This Festival brings in a lot of people and they do a really good job sitting it up. After we finished this we decided that we needed to make a stop at HEB and get some items that were forgotten or used up. Decided that leftovers were going to be dinner. Will get ready for another day of going from house to house watching and shooting the HB's tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Padre Island National Seashore

I really like the National Seashore. It is so cool...well normally it is cool. I decided to make a quick trip down and check to see if I would want to stay here for any period of time. It would be dry camping. The sites look quite level and though they do have some weeds growing up in them, I am sure it wouldn't cause any problem. Today, the temperature at 11:30 a.m. was about 99*. I decided that I really couldn't dry camp with that high a temperature. The closer you get to the ocean waters, the cooler it gets, but even at the camp ground you are about 20 to 30 yards from the shore. But you do have the dunes to help protect you. Breeze blowing in the evening would be cool. However, I won't be make that a camp ground this time around. Certainly glad that I went down there because I forgot how great the sand is between your toes and how many shore birds and water birds you have down there. That goes in my bucket list for a cooler time with less chance of storms being able to brew up on you.

Stopped at Port Aransas on my way back just to check on some old friendly places. Pretty quiet all around over there.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Day Trip to Presidio La Bahia at Goliad, TX

A nice drive west of Victoria is the town of Goliad. I have known for quite some time that the Goliad State Park is one of the jewels in Texas. It is a very old town and the State Park is part and parcel of the whole of Goliad. The town center is a beautiful square with the Courthouse and the various offices and huge huge oak trees around the building.

Today I toured the Presidio, a fort. It was important as a holding point east and south of San Antonio. It was used to defend against Santa Anna and his troops. However, it fell shortly after the Alamo. The troops led by Fannin left too late to return to Houston and his troops over at the Brazos. They were caught about Coleto Creek, about 12 miles east of Goliad. They were brought back to the Presidio and shortly there after 'massacred' by their captors. Surprising to me was the fact that there were 350 men here. Much less than the Alamo.

Now another interesting fact is Coleto Creek Reservoir and Dam. It has a nice RV park there, too. It is open year round and you can stay there for extended times. They take reservations and are usually full by November. Looks to be a nice bird spot. They don't have sewer hooks up but do have a dump and in the winter they have a honey truck!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Rockport Day Trip

I left Victoria about 8:15 headed to Rockport. It is about 60 miles SW and the roads are quite good. I made good time getting there. Stopped to look at birds a couple of times. One time the birds were largeish black birds but they weren't large enough for crows or TV's so I thought they might be a family Ani. A little out of place, but birds do travel, too. Ended up they were "molting" Great Tailed Grackles or better put Great NonTailed Grackles. They molt the end of August and first part of September. It makes them 'ground' more frequently and their flight is a bit off.

First stop was Goose Island State park. It was very dry, of course, and as I drove thru the campsite area I noted only about 3 campers and two hosts in the slots on the tree side. Of course, the bay side had about 6 folks up there already on the left side toward the fishing walkway. The right side is closed as they are making some repairs.Bayside I saw some peeps, turnstones, willets, gulls and a couple of brown pelicans. Tree side I saw a Black and White Warbler, White eyed and Yellow Throated Vireos, Cardinals, Titmice, White winged, Mourning and Inca Doves, Ruby Throated Hummingbirds (only 2). Not too much for the 45 minutes I was there.

My second stop was Ancient Oaks RV Park. It is a Passport America park located on the far west side of town. They have some very old 'side by side' sites and a few new concrete pads. It would be nice if there were some shade at the concrete pad sites. The older sites have some shade from the very old oak trees, but they look pretty unlevel. Would do if you weren't staying more than a couple of days.

My third stop was a drive thru of the Sand Dollar Motel and RV Park. It looks like they are really taking care of it. My first ever trip to Rockport was a birding trip on a chartered bus and we spent the night at the Sand Dollar. This would be my first choice for a short stay.

My fourth stop was the Rockport something or other RV Park and they were just way too proud for me to be able to stay with them. $40 per night......So then I proceed to the next stop.

My fifth stop was Charlotte Plummer's on the bay near the fishing boats. The tortilla soup here is really very tasty, just a bit 'spicy hot' but it goes down so well. We be really great with hot tortillas and butter to go with it. Nice salad bar and today I had the soft shell crab. It was very good. Nothing left on my plate, well not true, the vegetables of the day was squash both yellow and green, carrots, (old) brocolli, onions and they were pretty much left as I did dig out some carrots and brocolli and then stopped.

After than I drove thru town and decided I needed to get a couple gallons of gas 'just in case', the gauge said less than 1/2 and even though I get great gas mileage, there is only 1 gas station between Rockport and Victoria, better safe with an extra 3 gallons of gas than sorry if there is something that causes you to be stopped and run the a/c and worrying about the gas. My Story and I am sticking to it.

Still want to visit Seadrift and La Grange before I take off for Rockport and the Hummer festival in two weeks. Also need to tour the old houses here in Victoria and get some pics. Need to upload pics for my other blogs too. Ah well, Ms Scarlett said it so well, there is always tomorrow.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Victoria old houses

The Victoria Historical Houses Tour is really great. Here are just a few and for this part of the world they are quite old.

This is the Victoria County Courthouse made of limestone and completed in 1892. It replaced an earlier 1849 courthouse. This is one of the ten favorite courthouses in Texas. It underwent restoration in 2001 at a whopping cost of $5.6 billion - yep that is not a typo B and in billion dollars. 101 North Bridge Street

C. L. Hewitt House - Old Casino Hall, 408 West Forrest. Once part of old Casino Hall, built in the 1850's. The hall was the center of social and cultural activities of that era. The building was moved in 1875, and in 1910 was divided into three renthouses by chales L. Hewitt, a local grocer. This residenceis the only one of the three which remains.

#24. The John Donaldson. Okay, this is going to blow you away. It is a stone house. It is set on a huge block. The backyard takes up half a block square and has a huge oak tree.  It is one block long and about 3/4 of a block wide.

#26. Joseph Vandenberge House 301 North Vine. This is Neoclassical Revival built in 1908. Vandenberge was an attorney and one of the founders of Victoria Bank and Trust. It sits on a corner so one front of the house has an elliptical entrance and the other an oblong entrance.

#22. Guy Mitchell House, 402 West Goodwin. It says it is Georgian Revival and built in 1914 and of special interest is a Palladian window centered above the entry.

 James a McFaddin house, 207 West Commercial. The grounds of this is very large. This is the house proper. The grounds and garages take up another block.

 William H. Smith House, 408 West Goodwin. He was a tutor for the John Welder children. Neoclassical Revival built in 1911. The front of the wrap around and look at that big oak tree limb.

Lander Hopkins House built in 1910 is Neoclassical Revival architecture. 202 West Power Street.
 This is such a grand building. The far end is St. Mary's Catholic church. This close end is the Old Nazareth Academy, 105 West Church Street. Built to house the convent school of the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament, a French order. Sisters from the Lyons (France) order came to Texas in 1852 and to Victoria in 1866. What brave women they were! Today across the street is the Police Station of Victoria. (just think about all the 'happenings' behind all of those windows)

 A different view of the convent school of the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament.

Lorenzo Dow Heaton house, 307 South Bridge Street. This dates from 1877. Mr. Heaton, one of three brothers who operated "drug stores" (their quotes) in Indianola, Victoria and Cuero. The orginal house was remodedl circa 1945 at which time the second floor porch was removed. (What a pity!)
J. Ferdinand and Emily McFaddin McCan House, 401 N. Glass. Constructed in 1908 it is a Neoclassical Revival. The McCan clan still occupy the house. Look close because it looks a lot like the next one.

Thomas Marion O'Connor house, 303 S. Bridge Street, this was completed in 1889. T. M. died in 1920 and his wife Mary Ellen, in 1931. Their son Lawrence Wyer O'Connor remodeled to Neoclassical Revival and this home is still owned by the O'Connor clan. Looks similar to the one above.

Joseph D. Mitchell house, 301 S. Bridge Street. Completed in 1893 (Queen Anne dwelling) he was a rancher, naturalist (an entemologist and conchologist {The scientific or amateur study of mollusc shells. Conchology pre-dated malacology as a field of study. It includes the study of land and freshwater mollusc shells as well as seashells.}) He also served in the legislature and was civic leader. Oh, yeah he served for years as a mortician. Great house, uuhh office building now.

#8. St. Mary's Catholic Church, 101 West Church Street, is a Gothic Revival building completed in 1904.

 These are the Six Flags that have flown over this part of Texas. Know what they are? Nice breeze that day with over 100* temps.

On the Road in Victoria, TX

Currently I am sitting in Victoria, TX. This is a very old, by Texas standards, town. Here is some town history to get you going. This is taken from a Welcome to Victoria booklet. My comments are in brackets [ ] as some of their comments are in parens ( ).

In 1494 the Spanish Crown claimed lands in the New World, from Florida to California, but for over two centuries the Texas Gulf Coast remained unsettled and essentially unknown - except by pirates.

[Can you imagine this great place was totally unknown....well you know about it now. I am going to give you some history too. After those two centuries - yep that is 200 years - things got to moving a bit. For those of you that have done the Port Lavaca boondocking some of this will fold right into what you have already learned.]

In 1865 the location of present-day Victoria County [currently referred to as the Golden Crescent - my input] was the site of a significant challenge to Spain's sovereignty over Texas, when the explorer Robert Cavalier de La Salle set up a French Colony at Fort St. Louis. La Salle's expedition left France in 1684, had a trying journey through the Caribbean Islands, missed the Mississippi River, then landed at what is now Matagorda Bay in February of 1685. Once establishing Fort St. Louis on Garcitas Creek in southern Victoria County, the settlers endured loss and hardship - La Salle was murdered by his own men during a trip inland, and the settlement was destroyed in 1689 when the remaining adults were massacred by hostile natives, the Karankawa. [Remember reading about those fierce warriors down at Indianola - white folks ended up wiping them out by our diseases but it took a little bit of time and they took out a bunch of us in battles before we subdued them with illnesses.]

Because of this French intrusion, the Spanish deemed occupation of the Texas territory necessary to prevent future foreign incursions, and the need for establishing missions in East Texas became urgent. In 1721 Presidio La Bahia was built on top of the ruins of La Salle's Fort St. Louis, and the Spanish flag flew of Victoria County.

[For those of you who have stayed at Goliad State park if you remember the Presidio was just down the highway from the park.

Did you notice how urgent this task was for those politicians in the late 1600's? Took them about 30 years to getting around to making this "new Spanish" settlement. Sound about right time wise for us today?

Now let us jump forward from 1721 to 1824 - just a measly 103 years in the life of Victoria here.]

In 1824 Martin De Leon [not related to the earlier other De Leon] was granted permission to found a colony on the Guadalupe River, at a site then known as Las Sabinals (Cypress Grove). The town he founded was named Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe de Jesus Victoria, after the first president of Mexico. Together, he and his ten friends began colonizing Victoria. Main Street at that time was called Calle de Diez los Amigos (The street of Ten Friends) because all the friends lived together on this street, directing defense, commerce and beginning the early development of Victoria. From the start of this community, Victoria has been a friendly comfortable city.

This is the real six flags over Texas, Spain, France, Mexico the Republic of Texas, The United States and the Confederate States.

So now I have to go do a house tour and take pics for you ladies.