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♥ Hootin' Anni's Day Trippin' ♥





Updated: 2017-11-18T19:30:01.737-06:00

 



Rainy Days and Thursday....

2017-11-17T04:35:46.119-06:00

I had to get some thread for the sewing machine for an upcoming holiday project. While there at the store, near the check-out stand, I saw these and couldn't resist buying one! An upcoming holiday project? you ask...Here are the pieces parts. Can you guess?And, speaking of pieces parts. During the cold, wet, rainy days of Coastal winter,  the two of us can be found working on a yearly thing...According to the local weather, South Texas is once again in the La Nina frame of weather patterns. Which means, we're gonna have another warm winter. In other words, not many cold days before the summer temps are upon us again. I sure hope they're mistaken!!!!! Anyway, I was out walking along the Sunset Lakes Trail, and on this particular day, El Nino came into play!! Wet, heavy rains. Altho, as I watched the cloud cover boiling above me, and decided to head back to the car before I got drenched, I made it just in time. A micro-burst saturated the area in a heavy downpour. In fact, all the way home as i drove on the freeway...rain! The turtles didn't seem to care about the weather, one way or another... ...my camera was getting wet! Time to lock up and get home where it's dry. [Not so...it was raining heavily at home too!]  Our area of town rec'd about 1 1/2 inches of rain, where the one news station is reported to have rec'd about THREE inches of rain from this front, while the downtown, airport, and islands didn't get ANY rain.[...]



Day Trippin' on a Blustery Windy Morning in November....

2017-11-15T07:47:40.738-06:00

Altho now, it's warmed up and cleared out before the next cold front moves into our area, last week there were a couple of days that were windy, over-cast, chilly and the sea air filled with a threat of rain and South Texas winter-like weather! I walked along Ocean Drive and watched the sea come crashing in against the rock outcroppings along the road. The 'white caps' on the Gulf were minimal, but somewhat turbulent. For a while, while walking, it did sprinkle on me, but soon dissipated... Lots of birds taking shelter from the wind on the opposite side of the open water on the bay side with the likes of both brown and white pelicans, skimmers, herons, egrets, willets, gulls, sandpipers, ibis and more...as I walked back to the car after watching the breakwater, I spotted a Sanderling just ahead of me, at my feet ...[...]



Autumn Colors Along the River Bank

2017-11-14T00:00:05.822-06:00

ps...there is a bird [nashville warbler] behind the leaves! Spanish Moss and leaves turning color...I'm always on the lookout for heart shapes!! More Spanish Moss & autumn leavesA November Sunrise!![...]



More of the Gardens and Gift Shop...

2017-11-12T00:00:17.594-06:00

Throughout the outdoor plant exhibits, you may run across these colored glass stakes. With the sunlight that dapples the walkways in shadow, so it does on the glass globes... Like the published monthly subscription magazine, along the paths, there are birds and blooms... Metal sculptures along the paths and blooming bushes... This time I spent at the gardens, after viewing and having a conversation with to the parrots [yes, I talk to the animals], I ventured into the gift shop to peruse the merchandise...checking out what is new for the holiday decor that they have for purchasing. I bought a pair of red birds sitting on mistletoe. I am going to use it as a sun catcher. It will not just be for the Christmas season tho, as I plan to keep it hanging at the dining room window year 'round. And with the pair of red birds, a card attached explained the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe which I never knew ... [...]



A Garden Full of Butterflies, Blossoms and Birds...

2017-11-10T04:20:03.679-06:00

There's a woodpecker on the palm tree Green Anole  on the tree trunk and covered observation platform for Gator Lake Gator Lake and Least Grebe in the reflection of reed grasses Blooming Trees and ButterflyClose up of blossoms on the trees seen above Windmill [sculpture hidden behind trees] and butterfly  =Cow Hand Sculpture seen HERE Two butterflies Walking along the many trails of the Botanical Gardens this past week, early in the morning, only few birds were seen [coots, grebes, stilts, pelicans, ducks, and woodpeckers], I continued to view the wildlife photo exhibit boards nestled in the trees...the last photo of the praying mantis silhouette on the moon's light happens to be my favorite of all the dozens of photo entries. The winner of all the entries was reported last month, October, but I haven't read which one it was.  I also walked around the caged parrots and iguanas and then ventured into the gift shop...[...]



I Am HOPING This'll Be A FEEL GOOD Post for ALL....

2017-11-07T18:02:37.329-06:00

...We need a bit o' happy here in Texas and elsewhere these days. Don't you think? My heart goes out to those in Sutherland Springs, Texas.Flyin' away on a wing and a prayerWho could it be?Believe it or not, it's just me... [...]



Sunday Morning...

2017-11-06T05:10:27.021-06:00

This is a very large sized collage [1450x1625 pixels]. So, in my software program I saved it with a jpg optimizer which will make the colors a bit distorted, accomplishing a shorter loading time. But, you will still get the gist of the series. One man was out off the sandy shore just a short distance, trapping live bait. Once his net had some bait, he came in and placed the live fish in the tank. Well, his actions brought on two very curious egrets [young Reddish Egrets - one white morph, one dark morph]. They watched the man, then the white one left and flew out into the sea just a way off shore, while the other dark morph egret remained; trying to figure out how to get inside for breakfast! I guess you had to be there; it was comical!

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And farther from this action, a couple was walking along the beach with their dog...seems the dog didn't want to be free...it wanted to be on the leash. Or maybe, since the last image in the series shows the pooch tugging at the leash, it wanted to go back home to its Kibble 'n' Bits!!! lol

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On the water, there were a few surfers! Yes, the morning was warm....again [or should I say still?] Temps soared to near 90 degrees on Sunday!

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Something Old...Something New...Something Drawn, Something Blue---

2017-11-04T16:53:51.704-05:00

---blue and pink [And adorable]Something Drawn...SKETCH - For the past few weeks, off and on, I've picked up my sketch pad and worked on a pencil drawing of our late pretty kitty...Tahoe. In fact I used the black and white photo that is now on my blog's sidebar for reference. I just could not capture her personality in my sketch, and I think I will quit while I'm ahead and it resembles her even tho not quite what I wanted. She continues to be in my thoughts each and every day!Something Old and Something New...BOOKS - I finally finished the newly published book "Caroline" Little House Revisited. I must say, it was not what I expected at all! For me, highly disappointing. Of course, I think I more or less expected it to be near the stories that  were on TV. But, Caroline Ingalls, in the book, was too whiny, too passive, too blazé. Yet, thinking about the time frame and moving from one small town in the east to "Indian Territory" on the prairies of Kansas and the frontier moving west, I should have surmised it would be a bit slow and boring. Still, I wanted to finish the saga, which I did...the two chapters that were highlights were chapters 12 [crossing the flooded river in the covered wagon] and 24 [the surprise gift from Charles that he made for Caroline]. The rest of the book? Eh!! Charles, Laura, Mary and the newborn, Carrie were very close in TV characters. There was even Mr. Edwards...he too came across a bit familiar. Other than this...I can't recommend the book to anyone.  The reviews are mixed, averaging about 3 stars out of 5.  I would give it about  2, if that much.As with most of my recent books read, I also added this review at Hootin' Anni's Book Critiques - - -After that book, I began reading a book that my sister sent me....Lilac Girls. I have been thoroughly enjoying this. It too is a fictionalized historic novel of 1939/Hitler/Ravensbrück era.Then, Bud and I went to the bookstore to peruse the shelves. While he was in the French and history section [Napoleon], I was walking around the new books. One caught my eye. A Gregory Maguire book! A favorite author of mine!!! He is best known for his OZ adult adventures [his best seller, Wicked, is now a Broadway show]. This new book of his is about the Nutcracker. A good book for the upcoming holidays I think. Of course, with his writing style, I'm sure there will be twists and turns of the unexpected kind; written for the adult age group...The bookstore had 20% off of an autographed edition. I grabbed it and brought it home with me. It is with great anticipation that I finish Lilac Girls and begin the saga of Hiddensee...from the website: Having brought his legions of devoted readers to Oz in Wicked and to Wonderland in After Alice, Maguire now takes us to the realms of the Brothers Grimm and E. T. A. Hoffmann-- the enchanted Black Forest of Bavaria and the salons of Munich. Hiddensee imagines the backstory of the Nutcracker, revealing how this entrancing creature came to be carved and how he guided an ailing girl named Klara through a dreamy paradise on a Christmas Eve. At the heart of Hoffmann's mysterious tale hovers Godfather Drosselmeier-- the ominous, canny, one-eyed toy maker made immortal by Petipa and Tchaikovsky's fairy tale ballet-- who presents the once and future Nutcracker to Klara, his goddaughter.Something Blue [and pink]...CUTE - What a talented mother to dress her daughter as a Troll Doll for Halloween.  It's been a sensation after the morning news program showed a video...[this is NOT my photo, I hope I'm not doing harm by showing this,,.it's gone viral over the past few days,,,. No copyright infringement is intended.]courtesy of Yahoo News[...]



Chua Huong Dam

2017-11-03T05:04:37.948-05:00

In Buddhist symbolism the lotus is representation of purity of the body, speech, and mind.  A beautiful, meaningful, quote about life comparing to the lotus flower I found...“As the lotus rises on its stalk unsoiled by the mud and water, so the wise one speaks of peace and is unstained by the opinions of the world.” ~ BuddhaAs I mentioned in my previous post, as I left the ranch lands of the area southwest of the city on a drive about, I stopped short of hitting the freeway to take photos of a hidden gem, a 'gem' being that it is surrounded by plowed farm land; it is like an emerald sparkling in the very center of the fields...I've driven by this verdant oasis many many many times before. And, the fact of an oriental structure with roofing such as those you see associated with the pagoda construction [pagodas are usually tiered, multiple roofs]...this temple, a vihara [Buddhist], in the middle of 'nowhere' certainly can be eye catching. The surrounding, but fenced large parcel of land, is beautiful! Statues, temples, gardens!! I've many times wanted to stop and have a look-see. I understand [by doing research online] that this temple is operated by the Vietnamese nuns, but anyone is welcome to traverse the gardens and enter the meditation rooms. There are several festivals that the public is invited to attend. But the gardens and statues have always piqued my interest... chua hương đậm, loosely translated to English is BOLD INCENSESee more of Chua Huong Dam Buddhist Center on FacebookSTORYHUONG DAM BUDDHIST CENTER1305 FM 43 Corpus Christi TX 78415(361) 851-2680Weekly Meditation class at Huong Dam Buddhist CenterAt Huong Dam Buddhist Center, We dedicate and commit ourselves to serve people by offering services that provide and enhance the quality of life. We respectfully invite you to the meditation class every Friday from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM.Take a moment and slow down, calm the mind with breathing, nourish the body, and let go of worries and uncertainties by being in the present moment. With practice mindfulness, inner peace is realized which leads to happiness and harmony.Benefits of MeditationMeditation helps us on many levels, from simple relaxation to freedom from suffering and full liberation of heart and mind. It allows us to:• defuse stress and experience greater calm• explore the mind-body relationship• connect to our feelings• expand our sense of who we are, beyond our fears and self-judgment• find genuine happiness• discover inner resources that can change our everyday lives• awaken our capacity for insight and wisdom• transform our worldview from one of isolation and confusion to one of connection, clarity and compassion• broaden our perspective and deepen our courage, based on seeing things just as they are[...]



On the Hunt for Owls

2017-11-01T05:35:42.960-05:00

Shorthorn CattleThis year, I purposely didn't attend the Day of the Dead festival downtown over the weekend. I wanted to get out more with nature and quiet solitude instead of the bustle of revelers. As I traveled some of the back roads near Chapman Ranch land to find burrowing owls in the culverts along the county roads; or hawks that are oftentimes seen in this area, I was flabbergasted at the numbers of the wind generators along and in the cotton or sorghum fields. The last time I was here [just a little over a few months back] the construction and erecting them, the generators were only a couple...total. Now, there are hundreds. Everywhere you look!! - - -I didn't find any burrowing owls, but the doves, cattle, cotton bales, horses, grackles, were seen in high count! Two kildeer were seen in the plowed fields Also, atop the power lines along the desolate county roads, many many american ketrels were perched. From years of birding experience, if I would stop the car and get out with my camera...before I could aim and focus they would have been gone. In fact even when I slow down to a snail's pace they fly off. But, as I crept down the road, I stopped the car, finally, at one point, and aimed through the car's windshield, knowing all too well the photos would come out blurred and not true colors since the window glass is tinted. American Kestrel [once known as Sparrow Hawk] and Kildeer...leaving the area, and traveling back toward town, I veered off on another country road in hopes of seeing more early morning birds. In the distance I saw a hawk high on top of another power pole! It was a big one I could tell 'cause I was still quite a distance from it. Once again, I had to rely on the binoculars with the view through the windshield....just to ID it. It was a Red-tailed Hawk! But, even before I could put down my viewing glasses, it flew off into the opposite field and disappeared over the tree canopies. Dang! But...I found it once again. Along the power lines/poles that were running through the fields and trees, it had stopped and...well, so did I! I tried to zoom in on it. I figured it was about 1/4 mile away from me. As I tried to focus, I could see it was watching me!! At that distance, the photos wouldn't be all that good. I still snapped the shutter button and hoped for the best. More pictures are still on the camera's SD card.Red Tailed HawkOnce I made it out of the ranch land and onto a paved, heavily-trafficked road, I drove through a little tiny suburb of "London"!  It consists of not much but a cotton gin, a few subdivisions of showcase homes and a school district! Also, on the opposite side of the highway, just before the freeway interchange, there is a hidden gem. I pulled off the road and got out to take photos. That'll be my next blog post.[...]



"G"....It's a Favorite Day...Halloween!!!!

2017-10-31T05:53:49.403-05:00

GHOSTSWatching an episode of NCIS New Orleans, Dead Man Calling, it was so convincingly true that I had to do some research to see if the 'ghost' was real! [New Orleans has many ghost tours!!]  The synopsis:  In short, this particular show was about the history of an unsolved murder from 1867 all with a well-known New Orleans' family history...the Anderson family secret.  Well, using the public records, grave stones and burial records, and genealogy sites online, there is no listing of a certain Cornelius LaRue [the ghost].  Still, there happens to be a big "BUT" in this search....there are a lot of Anderson's listed in the state of Louisiana/Orleans Parish records!!  The eerie part of this is...there are many, many names listed with the surname Anderson that has the middle name of....yep....LaRue!!  Spooky.ghost image courtesy of Google ImagesA BIT GHOULISHAn Historic CemeteryNuecestown Texas [before Corpus Christi was established]GRIM, GROSS GROWTHThe knotted burl of a tree in a city park [notice orange arrow]...the remnant grows grossly!! GRISLY GHASTLYBud's Headless Horseman [our dining room centerpiece this year]Taken last year - Port AransasA golf cart[that may look like a pipe coming from the skeleton's mouth, but it's actually the car's antenna next to the cart.  And I'm pleased to say the skeleton was in the passenger seat instead of the driver's side!][...]



NFL...."Not For Long"

2017-10-29T05:05:44.909-05:00

This is not my letter...rec'd from a family member [thru email] - I had to share it!!! To the NFL and its players,If I have brain cancer, I don’t ask my dentist what I should do. If my car has a problem, I don’t seek help from a plumber! Why do you think the public cares what a football player thinks about politics? If we want to know about football, then depending on the information we seek, we might consult with you, but even a quarterback doesn’t seek advice on playing his position from a defensive tackle!You seem to have this over-inflated view of yourselves, thinking because you enjoy working on such a large scale stage, that somehow your opinion about everything matters. The NFL realizes the importance of its “image” so it has rules that specify the clothes and insignia you can wear, the language you use, and your “antics” after a touchdown or other “great” play. But somehow you and your employer don’t seem to care that you disgrace the entire nation and its 320 million people in the eyes of the world by publicly disrespecting this country, its flag, and its anthem! The taxpaying citizens of this country subsidize your plush work environments, yet you choose to use those venues to openly offend those very citizens. Do you even understand what the flag of this country means to so many of its citizens before you choose to “take a knee” in protest of this “country" during our national anthem?You may think because you are paid so much that your job is tough, but you are clueless when it comes to tough. Let me show you those whose job is really tough.You are spoiled babies who stand around and have staff squirt Gatorade in your mouths, sit in front of misting cooling fans when it’s warm, and sit on heated benches when it's cold. That’s not “tough” that's pampered. You think that you deserve to be paid excessively high salaries, because you play a “dangerous" game where you can incur career ending injuries. Let me show you career ending injuries!You think you that you deserve immediate medical attention and the best medical facilities and doctors when injured. Let me show you what it’s like for those who really need and deserve medical attention. You think you have the right to disrespect the flag of the United States, the one our veterans fought for, risked limbs and mental stability to defend, in many cases died for. Let me show you what our flag means to them, their families, and their friends. You believe you are our heroes, when in reality you are nothing but overpaid entertainers, who exist solely for our enjoyment! Well, your current antics are neither entertaining nor enjoyable, but rather a disgrace to this country, its citizens, all our veterans and their families, and the sacrifices they have made to ensure this country remains free. You choose to openly disgrace this country in the eyes of the rest of the world, yet with all your money, still choose to live here rather than in any other country. People with even the slightest amount of “Class” will stand and respect our flag. Where does that put you? You want to see heroes… here are this country's heroes!You can protest policies, the current government, or anything else you choose, that is your right. But when you “protest” our flag and anthem, you are insulting the nation we all live in and love, and all those who have served, been injured, or died to keep it free. There is nothing you can do or say that can make your actions anything more than the arrogance of classless people, who care about themselves more than our country or the freedoms for which our veterans and their families have sacrificed so much, to ensure you have the “right” to speak freely. Our country is far from perfect, but if you can point to [...]



Even for Squirrels...

2017-10-27T13:30:43.646-05:00

...baseball is a serious subject. :-)


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Sunrise Over the Gulf...

2017-10-25T00:00:09.848-05:00

I mentioned I stopped along the road and rolled the window down to get photos of the beautiful sunrise on Sunday morning. I was headed to Port A, on Mustang Island. As I watched the clouds driving over JFK Causeway, I put a little bit more weight on the accelerator to get on the highway so I could pull over safely. After taking a couple of photos with the pinks and lavenders reflecting on the water's surface, I drove on to the first beach access road and stopped at the barricades [high tide was keeping vehicles from entering], and climbed over the sandhills to snap more of the red orange glow in the sky. As the minutes passed, the water became silver while the sun; golden...After my disappointing revelations of the two birding areas, I then drove to the beach and jetty. At this hour there were many, many fishermen, both the two legged kind AND the feathered kind. I preferred watching the feathered kind! Along the shore there was a bucket with live bait [small fish] - the curious snowy egret was trying to figure out how to get them from the bucket! It was comical...Snowy Egret [note...laying on the sand is another bird...a sandpiper]Great Blue Heron OspreyDunno if this couple was lucky catching anything [I'm not a fan of fishing - it gets to be boring after a while], but the other couple I spotted was busy with an activity I enjoy more...hunting for shells. And look at their shell baskets!![...]



It Was a Beautiful Sunrise....BUT:

2017-10-23T09:10:41.258-05:00

I started out early...way early, before sunrise. By the time I got to North Padre Island the horizon was pink with the sun behind the clouds. "It's gonna be a beautiful day! The sunrise will be the beginning of a perfect setting." I pulled off the highway and rolled down my window to view the glory in silence of an awakening morning on the island!!My rapture was quickly broken when I reached Port Aransas tho!  Recently I noticed on the website for birders, where they have sightings of birds in my area, that a 'hot spot' in Port Aransas had some birds seen over the weekend!! I thought, "it must be back open to enter"!! I had to see if that was true. Well, partially true. Yes, the fallen trees as you enter had been cleared out...and there were three volunteers working in the flower gardens. I asked if the area was once again accessible and the reply was "As far as you can go....the boardwalk is no longer there!" I continued on the path, and stopped in disbelief when I hit the 'end of the trail'.On this blog, I couldn't find too many good before Harvey photos, but this is what I came up with in my label search. The recent photos are watermarked with my bird blog copyright. My mistake; I forgot to change it when uploading for this post:BEFORE:AFTER:Volunteer Workers The boardwalk remnants, a downed Palm tree, the Observation tower and what is left of the extended boardwalk... What was once a picnic area with tall willow trees and marsh land - the boardwalk view Cormorants on the boardwalk uprights way out...and, the reed grasses; dead and flat!!- - -...then, just down the road is another birding paradise...in fact it's called Paradise Pond.  Once, a beautiful, lush, green and vibrant oasis for migrant birds  ---BEFORE ...now, a wasteland of 'death' all around:AFTEROnce a large Willow tree that housed a woodpecker nest yearly...broken! My emotions had me feeling as if I was walking through a Science Fiction movie set...blue, despaired and completely agonized.As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I watched the sun rise over the Gulf beach...I will share its awesomeness in a later post!! I took several photos and this post is heavily loaded with a lot of loading time already.[...]



Houston!!!

2017-10-22T05:13:53.884-05:00

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Yesterday was a good day even tho when and where I walked, the park was once again closed after I arrived. The gates were locked shut on the one side  [Corpus Christi, Texas], and standing water was blocking the path on the other side [Portland, Texas]. I left almost as soon as I arrived since I couldn't drive into the pier area or walk to the observation deck. Driving to the other side of the park through the entrance road, I found standing water on the lane with a cautionary sign. I know the road, and knew it wasn't that dangerous to drive through and the water wasn't deep...I just slowed down and crept through. Getting out, I began walking the trail only to find there was water on the trail. We have had exceptionally high tides this past month because the moon being closer to earth, and these ponds being tidal ponds, there wasn't a chance for me to walk any further. I left, and went shopping; afterward getting a pizza to take home for our lunch later that day!! lol

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Tho, it was a disappointing morning for birding, it turned out okay. I read mostly. Then, the late starting championship game between the Yankees and the Astros. The series was tied 3 wins each; this last game was winner takes the pennant and will be pitted against the LA Dodgers in the fall classic, the world series! After the nine innings, 3 hours later at Minute Maid Park in Houston, the Astros advanced....American League Champions. The Yankees went home!! I'm excited and hope it will be a win and title "World Champions" for Houston. Something GOOD just has to come to the city after this big loss from H. Harvey and the devastation left behind its wake!!!

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Tuesday evening, I'll be glued to the TV!!!




In the Company of Kings!

2017-10-21T12:02:00.190-05:00

Texas State Historical MarkersOne day, recently, it was a beautiful day. The morning was cool [for South Texas] and the sky was an indigo blue with cotton ball clouds! I hopped in the car and drove to Kingsville, Texas. Kingsville is named for Richard King and the King Ranch. The ranch land stretches from the outskirts of Corpus Christi through several counties south...from the Gulf of Mexico west through other Texas counties....covering nearly 900,000 acres...over 1200 square miles!  I stopped at Bishop, Texas along the way and walked the small town park and back through the creek bottom in search for birds.  I spotted egrets, herons, kingfishers, whistling ducks, and a couple of lark sparrows.At Kingsville my first stop was the ranch's visitor's center.  They have lots of history books, several feeding stations for birds, etc.  I walked the center's grounds and only saw doves...I was hoping to see the Texas's Green Jay, but it wasn't in the books.  Oh, but I saw some long horn cattle!!! Another breed of cattle started by the King Ranch [recognized by USDA in 1940], origins of mixing Brahman and Short horns in 1918,  is the Santa Gertrudis -first photo- and a Longhorn -second photo- A Longhorn and the original King Ranch Chuck WagonA man made brook at the Visitor's CenterA replica [?] of a ranch bunk house The Flying "W" is the King Ranch Brand and looking out on the ranch land for as far as you can see!Kingsville is also home of the United States Naval Training Base...once the pilot trainers graduate from Corpus Christi NAS, they move on to Kingsville NAS to train flying jets...After about an hour there, I drove to Dick Kleberg [Dick Kleberg was a son-in-law of Richard King] Park.  Woodpeckers, shrikes, and gulls were the only species there...I continued to walk raising my step count before returning home... [...]



Let's Go Outside and Enjoy the Sea Breeze...

2017-10-20T00:00:04.374-05:00

Aquarium GiftsStill in the Aquarium, the two of us headed to the gift shop. Since we worked over a month at the beginning of this year, downsizing our clutter, it took every ounce of will-power NOT to purchase these two items: I am a sucker for stuffed animals! And this 3 toed sloth was so cute and so plush and soft!! Remember back in the late 60's/70's the popularity of Lava Lights? This one had two jellyfish floating aimlessly with rainbow colored lights...mesmerizing!...to continue with the surrounding area of the Texas State Aquarium, Bud and I walked back to our parked car to leave, but instead, we decided to walk to get up close and personal to the Port O' Call and the vast area from under the Harbor Bridge to pass the time and hopefully allow the traffic for those that are looking to park to visit the Aquarium...time for the traffic to clear out a bit.. From the channel, the  view will astound the novice on how busy the port cities can be...seven days a week, all year long!There is a small cotillion of sorts right at the banks of the channel, and directly under the bridge!! It was a cool spot and the sea breeze was very nice while the sun was getting warm by then. We watched  a couple of watercraft...the smaller tugboat and then, a large carrier/cargo ship, Julie C, operated by Britain and as I type this up, it's location from Corpus Christi is now far out into the Gulf of Mexico, arriving in Luderitz, Namibia, Africa [eta] November 7th.The TugboatAn Unexpected Visitor......who had its eyes on the bollard to watch for any stirred up meals coming along behind the ships' wakeJulie CHUMORThis is the actual transcript of a radio conversation between a British Navy ship and the Irish Coastguard, off the coast of Kerry:Irish. Please divert your course 15 degrees to the south, to avoid collisionBritish. Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees to the north, to avoid collisionIrish. Negative. You will have to divert your course 15 degrees to the south,  to avoid collision.British. This is the Captain of a British Navy Ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.Irish. Negative. I say again, you will have to divert YOUR courseBritish. THIS IS THE LARGEST SHIP IN THE BRITISH FLEET. WE ARE ACCOMPANIED BY 3 DESTROYERS, 3 CRUISERS, AND NUMEROUS SUPPORT SHIPS. I DEMAND THAT YOU CHANGE YOUR COURSE 15 DEGREES TO THE NORTH, OR COUNTERMEASURES WILL BE UNDERTAKEN TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF THIS FLOTILLA.Irish. THIS IS A LIGHTHOUSE ....... YOUR CALL![...]



Good Fren Betta dan Packet Money.

2017-10-18T05:18:32.543-05:00

Jamaican Mahn!!GOOD FREN BETTA dan PACKET MONEY[translation: A good friend is better than pocket money!]meaning: Friendship is move valuable than wealth.A very popular [nation-wide] destination in Corpus Christi along the bay front is the Texas State Aquarium. Recently, after about 3-4 years construction, a new wing has been added to the facility. The over 70,000 square foot and with a price tag of nearly $60 million, it's been open to the public since May [I believe]. Bud and I wanted to wait until much later in the year to avoid the crowds that vacation here with the beach nearby and the locals visiting in droves. We left early in the morning, and got there just after opening, and no large numbers of people yet. [By the time we left, the entrance line was clear down the street about two city blogs long!! What did I say...it's a popular tourist trap. And expensive = 1 year membership is $139, single entry fee is $34.95 for each adult]Anyway, the new addition is called Caribbean Journey. And, naturally, it's all about the Caribbean Sea and the wildlife/sea life. I hafta admit, it's a spectacular place to go visit. As you enter through the bamboo curtains you're transported to the islands off the Mexican coast! The atmosphere both in tropical temps and free-roaming animals and underwater displays [UNDER the floor you walk on] is just phenomenal.Without further ado, I share the adventure...From above, poison tree frogs, toucans, snakes, scarlet ibis [I want to see one of these in the wild!!!], spoonbills and other large and small birds, fishes, sharks, a two toed sloth that was one of my favorites...she was actually quite active!!, waterfalls, flamingos,  and more, along with a 4-D theater..On the top-most floor there is a dining area/restaurant.  All open glass walls.  And my goodness, what stunning views!  Of the sea, the port, the busy ship channel...the sun was out, the sea sparkled...it was awesome.  I can only imagine what this would look like at night with the city lights and the harbor bridge lighted up too..I have a few more photos to share of this day trippin'...for another post coming soon![...]



I Cast a Spell On You....

2017-10-16T15:08:26.176-05:00

BY THE PICKING OF MY THUMBSSOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMESWilliam ShakespeareMacbeth   On August 1st, every year, Tuesday Morning has their new Halloween witches on the shelves. Of course, I'm there when they open!! I bought two this year. One with red the other with purple... ...then, putting out a few others for the season, I took photos and then used my computer software program to do some editing. The original photo is in the inset!  The last one in the series, I made from scratch many, many years ago. \courtesy of Pinterest[...]



The Path of Destruction...

2017-10-14T09:12:15.192-05:00

It was a cool morning as I drove up interstate 37, across the rising waters of the Nueces River to take the Houston Texas exit and continue along interstate 69/state hwy 77. My destination was Refugio, Texas. Now Refugio was also hit by the storm, hurricane Harvey, back in August. Refugio [rah FEAR ee oh] is a small town [population of maybe 3000] with a big heart and wonderful, heavily wooded park with the Mission River meandering through the parkland. During the local news and online news sites for the Corpus area, I've heard and read stories of the destruction in this little town. I have noticed on my birding sites that I frequent that Refugio's bird listings haven't been reported in months! I figured that the park was no longer accessible because of the storm damage. I wanted to see with my own eyes...First, here is a link to the photos I've taken long ago when I went birding at different times in the past.  I want to share some of the previous beauty in photos.BEFORE Then, the sights I saw on October 10th, 2017AFTERMost of the pathways were either covered by fallen trees, knee high grass, or park debris! The paths were completely hidden at quite a few areas, some sections, with uprooted tree roots, the paved walkways were bubbled and broken. It was like a ghost town...dark, dreary, and way too silent. The bird song that used to be heard all the time...eerie, dead silence!! Once I got out of the wooded areas, climbing over fallen trees and branches, back at the parking lot, I must mention I saw THREE birds the whole time! A Phoebe, an American Kestrel...and yep....not surprisingly...a VULTURE. I got back in the car and headed home. Once back on interstate 37 driving to Corpus Christi, I stopped at Labonte Park along the Nueces River. There, I saw some bird activity and enjoyed this short stop much better than what I saw at Refugio.[...]



Along the River Banks....

2017-10-12T05:10:13.914-05:00

Up a lazy river by the old mill runThe lazy, lazy river in the noon day sunLinger in the shade of a kind old treeThrow away your troublesDream a dream with me~recorded by the Mills BrothersAs I pulled into the paved area to park my car, I spied this [above photo] across the park road. Monday morning I took a short jaunt to Calallen, Texas. along the Nueces River where the nation-wide 'famous' hawk watch takes place from August through November. Recently, throughout the Texas area 1000s of kettles [large groups of hawks] have been taking flight for the winter! Kites, Harriers, Hawks, Anhingas and more. On this day, I wasn't really in a birding mood, tho seeing anything with feathers is always an attraction for me and I will stop to take photos. But this time, I was just there to walk along the river and enjoy the morning in quiet surroundings...By the standing water between the river and the park's bluff, I would guess that the river flooded recently. The prairie grasses with the wild flowers were everywhere giving me a golden glow with each step I took! The picture here doesn't really show it off very well, but maybe you can get the gist of it all. By the way, in the puddles of water, along the road, many water birds were feeding; with the likes of dowitchers, avocets, willets, and white faced ibis [these ibises are actually a maroon red with green iridescence on their wings and only have white on their faces during breeding season].  To the left of this photo is the river itself where there were ducks, kiskadees, mockingbirds, and flycatchers busy looking for and sampling the morsels of the insects hovering over the river.The following image of the woodsy area looks hazy...the camera lens was still foggy from the car's air conditioner and I failed to wipe it off...this is where the white tailed deer [from above photo] walked into heading for the pond that you can see in the far background of same photo. There are several park benches along the river's banks for those that just want peace and quiet or perhaps set their rod in the ground and hope for a fish to take the bait. The domestic ducks didn't care much for my intrusion of their claimed shade... From where I walked in the hollow between the river and the bluff, you can view the tree lined bluff and find the hawk watch platform nestled, and a bit hidden from view unless you know where to look [first photo in this grouping] and some of the boardwalks that jut into the trees along the river.  Here, as you may notice there is standing water beneath the boardwalks - not normal...more flooding....and lastly: The Lazy River [...]



A Quarter of a Million Dollars Raised!!

2017-10-10T06:42:56.376-05:00

Literally, thousands attended!!! - - - I timed myself. The 5K Heart Walk took me 65 minutes to complete...I walked at a leisurely pace because of the temperature and humidity. Not too bad-a-time since the heat of the day was building up before we were given the "start walking" signal!! For those that wanted, a little break was taken to stop and have a picture taken as a "selfie"...but it wasn't a selfie...some of the volunteers along the route was willing to take photos of us if you wanted to be photographed. Along the way, we were handed water, fruits filled with potassium -bananas and oranges- to keep our bodies from losing the electrolytes that are sweated out.  I only accepted the bottled water...no need lugging any extra weight!!  And the humidity was high for the month of October...so, sweat came easily!!If you read between the lines above, it took forever to get the show on the road to the finish line! What with all the ceremonial pre-walk venue, I thought all the talk would NEVER get done! I came to walk. LOLWe had our last lap around the ball field and sat to cool down on the bleachers to listen to the closing remarks by the emcee...the individual and team participants raised over a quarter million dollars!! I was impressed. Makes my $100. pledge seem like a mere pittance. After the registration and sending in my pledged donation to the cause, prior to the walk, I was handed a "Survivor" ball cap that morning. And that cap came in handy along the way [especially the first half of the route since the morning sun was beating down on my head and shoulders!!] Here is a recap of what I saw waiting near the starting gate, and during the walk... ...for the children and young at heart...[the stingray is mascot for the Corpus Christi Ice-Rays -hockey team] The Flag Raising, the National Anthem and a small crowd gathering at the Ball Field Opening Gate.  The Whataburger Field is the farm team for the Houston Astros [The Corpus Christi Hooks], where, on the exterior walls of the ball park......Jose Altuve trained and has become a star athlete for the Astros this season [he is in contention for MLB's most valuable player!] ...then, near the end of the heart walk: My selfie and the ball park lap to end the day. [above the bleachers, the circular walkway, there are participants walking the path to end their walk][...]



That's ONE SMALL STEP....

2017-10-06T07:16:57.142-05:00

Step I Saturday morning, I  will be participating in the 5k Heart Walk - rain or shine. Why Walk? The money raised through the Heart Walk funds research and initiatives that promote prevention, treatment, and better patient care in the areas of cardiovascular disease, the leading killer in the United States. The American Heart Association is the nation's largest voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.  For me personally, I take this time to thank the paramedics that were prompt in arriving to take me by ambulance to the hospital, and the ER staff who diligently saved my life!!  For that, I am truly thankful and will always remember the efficiency and expertise.  Wish me luck! Step III've purchased a couple of books and am reading them both at the same time. The first one piqued my interest once I saw it on the "new released" shelf at Barnes and Nobel [and I bought it at half price books for cheaper]. Our daughter, who when very young, looked like a spittin' image of Half Pint [Laura Ingalls "Melissa Gilbert"] in the TV program Little House on the Prairie, is lucky enough to live nearby where the series of books was written; and she visits the museum and area often! Anyway, we used to sit down and watch the program faithfully with our kids. So, when I read "Little House Revisited", I picked it up, brought it home, and I'm enjoying the narrative very much!! It's all about the locating in Kansas by the Ingalls' family as seen through the eyes of Caroline, the mother. It was hailed as one of the month's [September] best reads! "In this novel authorized by the Little House Heritage Trust, Sarah Miller vividly recreates the beauty, hardship, and joys of the frontier in a dazzling work of historical fiction, a captivating story that illuminates one courageous, resilient, and loving pioneer woman as never before—Caroline Ingalls, "Ma" in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved Little House books."The second book, Ruth's Journey, is another historical fiction.  All about Mammy from the epic novel/movie, Gone With the Wind.  There are quite a lot of mixed reviews of this book so I won't get into much of it until I  have finished reading it in its entirety.  Some critiques enjoyed it while others were disappointed with it.  I usually do my own evaluation and my opinion will be mine only.  Time will tell if it was enjoyable or not for me, personally.Step IIISpeaking of books, my own Wings Over My Texas, the 200+ photos of birds found in South Texas is now in full color!!  Since I have to self-promote this publication I  designed and had some 'business cards' printed and have been leaving them in areas of known birding spots throughout the coastal bend. This is kinda fun. At least for me...dunno about those that find the cards posted on boards and on tables in coffee shops. lol Hope this action I'm taking isn't considered soliciting...maybe it is. Guess I'll find out if I am kicked out somewhere, huh?Step IVWhile Bud and I were mowing and edging the back yard, I had the cellphone with me all the time... Step VThe hummingbirds are in our backyard in hordes!! I have placed three feeding stations from the house's eaves...one a brand new ruby glass feeder. It's red glass [obviously] that has a hummingbird etched in the sugar water 'bowl'. At first the hummers went for the two [...]



Ooooh blah Di....Life Goes On

2017-10-04T04:52:13.169-05:00

I must snap out of it! I miss Tahoe very much. But, life goes on. I haven't felt much like getting online and doing any blogging for a while. I do know all your lovely comments the last couple of days have lightened my sorrow a lot! And I do appreciate it. I just haven't felt up to visiting anyone and commenting. But, I will try to go forth today sometime.The morning sun peeking through the oak treesWest Guth ParkCorpus Christi, TexasIn the meantime, these photos [a LOT of them, so they will be small in loading size. Enlarge them through the Lightbox feature by clicking on them] are from my day trippin' at West Guth Park just off Interstate 37, northwest of the metro area of Corpus Christi.Early one morning last week, I saw this: Two new pine trees [rare in the South Texas Coast] have been planted in the park!  A Cottonwood along the brook and a Live Oak Tree near the Duck Pond Live Oak Acorn, a special treat for this birder...THREE flycatchers together!!  [on top, the one in the backside of the rings is a Scissortailed Flycatcher, the one with the yellow breast on the top ring is a Western Kingbird -of the flycatcher family, and the small red and brown on the bottom left ring is a Vermilon Flycatcher] on a Disc Golf Basket, and the brook with grass.  I have some closer, zoomed in images saved for my birding blog at a later time. Jet Blue Sky, Turks cap blossom/plant growing through the bridge slats, and more grass flowing in the breezes._ _ _There is a high school up on the hill from the park entrance...Tuluso High School.  The Athletic Team was out practicing on the park's field On a treetop, a Loggerhead Shrike and a heavily shaded picnic area [literally dozens in the park all around!] The Northwest Senior Center and look closely to the far left mid section of the twisted tree...there is a bird...a woodpecker Again, the bird on the branch to the middle left...then, zooming in as it flew to a nearby tree, the Golden Fronted Woodpecker! The Duck Pond and a Grackle on the mesquite tree-top A pair of White Winged Doves and an immature StarlingAlong with all this, the trails twist and wind, uphill and downhill. There is a very large area with BBQ pits for large get-togethers, the disc golf course throughout the park, trees, a brook, picnic areas, a nice sized swimming pool that is closed for repairs for now. Yet, as I headed back to the car to hop in and search for any other birds along the park road, I found no long-billed curlews! There are usually dozens of them. On this day, none. I saw one ground squirrel as I headed out through the park gate and back on the interstate to home.[...]