Wednesday, April 18, 2012

One More Texas Post

I have a few more pictures I want to save from my Texas trip, and this is where I save them. These are from the Get-together our RV forum groups had at Mustang Island State Park, the first week of March.
The GTG was organized by Bob and Pete of the ORS forum. (Open Roads Singles). There was a great turnout.
 Members of the WomenRV forum were also invited...we have many who are members of both forums. Each forum has their own GTG banner which we all sign.
I was staying with Birdie since I was "homeless" at the time, and we all had a good laugh at the "view" from her front windows.
 I didn't participate in all the GTG activities since much of my attention was focused on getting another RV and dealing with insurance companies, but did want to post about the ones I did. A group of us visited Padre Island National Seashore.
 Colleen and Gloria were on a mission to purchase their Golden Access Passes. There are advantages to reaching that certain age.
 Group picture at the Visitor's center.
 Then we drove down to the beach where camping is allowed.
 Everyone got out to take pictures of the birds and the waves. (All except Carolyn, who got out to take pictures of us)
 There were many varieties of shorebirds.
 I liked the way they each claimed a perch.
 I took a lot of pictures of the Caspian Terns because I thought at the time they were something else.
 Birdie straightened me out.
 There were gulls and terns of different types, and I will not try to remember them now after all this time has passed.
 We passed this pond with shore-to-shore ducks.
 Most of which were Red-headed ducks that winter here.
 Carolyn is always out taking pictures of others, so you have to catch her when you can.
 Lunch was at Docs.
 View and more bird-watching from the restaurant.
 Another group photo op inside the restaurant.
I went birding at several places in Aransas Pass with Birdie, and wanted to remember some of the great birds we saw, so in no particular order:
Great Kiskadee
 Oh, this pollen collector is not a bird.
 Diana and Birdie on the boardwalk....looking
 Northern Shoveler
 Brown Pelican coming in for a landing.
 Blue-winged Teal
 Black-necked Stilts in flight
 Our pelican just caught a fish
 View from the tower
 Black-necked Stilts landing
 I think this is the Blue-winged Teal in flight, but I might be wrong about that.
 Pelican is having trouble swallowing that big fish.
 Northern Shoveler again, showing off his colors.
 Cinnamon Teals
 This is a great place to practice duck IDs as there are so many different ones together.
 Green-winged Teal
 Left to right at the bottom: Blue-winged Teal, Cinnamon teal, Green-winged Teal
 Cinnamon Teal giving a great display of his feathers.
 Green-winged Teal again
 At the beach we watched this kite-surfer.
 And stirred up all the gulls.
One long day of the GTG was spent in Houston shopping for a new RV.
 We were rewarded with a beautiful sunset on the way back, though.
And the last thing to remember is the walk on the moonlit beach at Mustang Island on the last night of the GTG. It's where I chose to leave my dog Roe's ashes, mixed with the sand and the wind, and the waves.

Sante Fe and Silver Rivers, FL

Nan and I tried out her new kayak on the Sante Fe River. Here we are all ready to go (or so we thought)!
 We apparently did not inflate her kayak enough, and she was sagging, so we did a recall and tried again.
 Much better and we are on our way!
 The Sante Fe River is very shallow and calm here.
Nan is looking good!
 We paddle by some Cypress rooty banks. You can see how low the water is.
 There were Yellow-bellied Slider turtles and Great Blue Herons
 Belted Kingfisher....not a good picture.
 We paddled one way until the river got too shallow, then the other way under this bridge.
 And we can say that times are still good in 2012!
 I tried to get Nan to try out this swinging rope, but she didn't fall for that line.
Since I've been in Florida, I've spent a couple of weeks at Silver River State Park. I haven't had time nor energy to take the kayak out, but I've hiked some trails and been to see the river. On the Old Field Loop you learn about some of the trees growing there, like the Long-leaf Pines, that have needles up to 18" and cones up to 10" long.
 Commonly growing over 100' tall, they are an important Florida timber source.
 Live Oak trees are abundant in this area too. These large sturdy trees have withstood hundreds of years of hurricanes.
 This spiny ball-like fruit comes from a Sweet Gum Tree. As the name implies, people used to chew the sap from this tree like chewing gum.
 Just some interesting fungi growing on the side of a tree.
 This old "snag" has been worked over by the woodpeckers.
 This beautiful Red-headed Woodpecker was seen at Nan's house, not at Silver River, but thought I'd throw him in here.
The next picture will show you some Bear Grass, which local Indians had a lot of uses for.

 These two different species of trees appear to have grafted together.
 Can't tell for sure, but they seem to be connected here.
 This morning I walked to the river via the Swamp Trail.
 I stood at the landing awhile to see what might come my way. Would have been a beautiful morning to kayak, but I couldn't seem to wrap my mind around carting the kayak  a half mile to the launch site, inflating, paddling 3 to 4 hours, deflating, carting it back, re-inflating so it could dry, etc. Getting lazy I guess.
 These pretty red flowers were growing across the river.
 Mr. and Mrs. Cormorant came flying in to do a little fishing near me.
 Cormorant swimming under the water below me.
 Common Moorhen
 I'll be proud if I got this right....a new to me Prothonotary Warbler. Had to look him up 'cause I'd never heard of that name before.
 I love the clear waters of the Springs. 
I find that I'm not enjoying my stay here as much as usual....I think because I really want to be on the road north. Soon!