I went to SheepsHead street, where I saw an Orchard Oriole last year and a bunch of other migrating birds, but nothing this year, so much wind. I thought about just taking my nest (slide-in camper on a pick up truck) and going to get breakfast. I decided to give the area near the convention center a shot. I’ve seen lots of birds there, plus they’ve built a National Bird Center next door, here in South Padre Island, Texas. I parked and walked to the birding area. The wind was blowing strong, then some butterflies feeding on the pollen of a flowering tree presented a photo challenge as they pitched back and forth (use a high shutter speed and you may have to go from a ASA of 100 to 400 to stop the action and get a sharp in focus photo). The pink color of the blossoms was contrastingly vibrant with the orange of the butterflies –Great Pics! I was about to leave when I saw an elderly gentleman standing on the sidewalk. I commented, too much wind to see much. He nodded in agreement and then said, but there’s a Great Kiskadee Flycatcher and pointed. I looked, but didn’t see what he saw. He moved closer and did a better job at pointing. OMG, there was a big yellow and green bird back in the thicket. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’d have missed it if he hadn’t shown it to me. I fired several photos with my point and shoot camera and said I need to go get a better camera and headed for my truck. I got my Canon EOS T4i Rebel camera with a reliable 400mm lens. When I returned, of course, the Great Kiskadee Flycatcher was gone from view and so was the elderly man.
There’s a boardwalk where I’ve seen soras and other unusual sightings nearby, so I decided to give it a shot. I took a couple steps and saw a little long tailed lizard and thought, that’s not a gecko. Then I looked about 10 yards ahead of where I was going and saw a shimmering between the spaces of the boards. I said that’s skink, so I got close enough for a photo, then I looked back towards where the long tailed lizard was. Another larger one had taken its place, so back I went and took photos of it. Wow, I hadn’t walked 20 yards and already I had three keeper photos! I walked slowly knowing birds and any wildlife detect motion well before I see them, usually looking for rails, soras, or bitterns, but didn’t see any. Then as I got near the Laguna Madre I saw motion in the water. There were eating-sized fish, so I pointed my 400 mm lens at them. I was too close so the point & shoot camera was employed. Later I saw something on the other side of the inlet, maybe a fish, but it stayed at the surface, so long a big cormorant took a swipe at it, but it fought back and the bird retreated. I got the picture! I sill don’t know what it was, though.
As I got to the end, I found that there was almost a parallel boardwalk from the Birding Center, but they did not connect. I wander what’s the deal!?!? I guess the two organizations are separate “countries!” I saw some activity in the water again. OMG, it’s a huge blue crab, where’s my net, then I saw another. What a tease!!! I’d love to eat those guys!!! I left Louisiana without my blue crabs and oysters. It was raining way too hard to expect the place where I buy at to be open, plus I needed to get out of the storm. I did get a pint of oysters here at Joe’s Oyster Bar Restaurant. They have a delicious grilled flounder, shrimp & oyster combo, too. I’ll make tacos out of some of those oysters - outstanding!
As I walked away from the crabs I heard a loud call I thought was a coot, but a common gallinule appeared. After all that I was satisfied and decided it was time for breakfast. Then I saw some commotion. The ducks all flew, and a big hawk or falcon swooped down, didn’t get any breakfast. Wow, then there was something flying overhead and I looked and double OMG there were six spoonbills!!! Later I went back to where the Great Kiskadee had been and persisted. As I waited, a long lizard dropped from a branch right in front of me like it was in flight and there were more butterflies. Then there was a flutter and I looked and the Great Kiskadee came back into view from the thicket. I got the photo! And a couple years ago I decided to scrap coming here! No way, there’s even a bar that has $2 Tecates at HH, my favorite ACB! Plus, Mother Nature just put on an unexpected show!!!
I want to walk to the docks here in Port Isabel. There’re two crane complexes used to load and unload container ships a couple blocks from the megamart where I’m parked and there’s a public boat ramp where I can get a good photo of the bridge to South Padre Island and then there’s those $2 tecates.
You got to know when enough is enough and pull the plug! Tomorrow I’m off to Big Bend National Park (www.nps.gov/bibe/
) to kayak in St. Elena, a lifetime experience listening to the echo of the canyon wrens and looking at the towering rock walls that I’m paddling between. Plus, the stars will be brighter than almost anywhere in the USA and there’re so many more than you can see on the east coast; the sun rises right where the Rio Grande disappears in the distance, and there’s a mountain range and havelinas, bobcats, rattle snakes scorpions, road runners and more in the park! Wow!
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