Monday, June 9, 2014

Backyard MO Birds and a trip to Hannibal and Louisiana MO

June 9 – 2014
Well it has been a while since my last post and so much has happened.
I found a house in MO near most of my family and hopefully will close on June 19. This has involved tons of time and energy not to mention paper work. I just hope I can take care of health insurance changes without too much hassle and cost. Then there is the vehicle registration and license to deal with. It’s all just a bit overwhelming at times.
I attended my first outing with the mid-America chapter of RVW. It was held in Hannibal MO. That was only a couple of hours for me to drive.
While I was there I took a ride down to the little town of Louisiana MO. 
Have you ever wondered what buttons were made out of before plastic was invented? Almost all buttons were made out of wood, metal, or the much superior pearl. In 1902 a company was started in Louisiana Missouri that made buttons out of pearl (mother of pearl). “Shell-diggers” would go out onto the Mississippi River and collect mussel shells from the bottom of the river. After cleaning the mussels, the shells were bagged and taken to the Nord-Buffum Button Factory. At peak production, Nord-Buffum had about 100 employees and produced about 72,000,000 pearl buttons annually. This was in the 1930’s

I have not been able to do much bird photographing as my lens shade has been in for repair. I did manage one day at my sisters feeders before I took the duct tape off and sent it in for a more permanent repair.

Black-capped Chickadee

Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Tufted Titmouse
Hannibal MO and Mississippi River from the Lover's Leap lookout
Lover's Leap - Hannibal MO
Stern-wheeler on the Mississippi River - Lover's Leap Hannibal MO
Tug with barges on the Mississippi River - Riverview Park Hannibal MO
View of the street fair in Hannibal MO - taken from the lighthouse road
View of the Mississippi River from a pullout on MO highway 79
Mural in Louisiana MO
Mural of churches in Louisiana MO
Mural on the Elks Club building - Louisiana MO
Tug with barges - Louisiana MO

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Arrival in MO

April 10 – 2014
The drive from Texas to Missouri was a feast for the eyes. The trees in the wooded areas are just beginning to grow their leaves so I could see colorful splashes of white dogwood blossoms and redbud throughout the forest. Flowers are poking their heads out to greet the warm weather and the rivers and creeks are swollen with the runoff of melting snow and rain.
Spring has come to Mid-America and so have I.

Rockport TX Area March - April 2014

March 25 – April 9 2014
I arrived in Rockport TX to brilliant streaks of lightning, loud claps of thunder, and pouring rain. I stepped into the RV office to check in and said to the woman behind the counter “I just thought I would announce my arrival”. Everyone in the office got a kick out of that. More bad weather to delay my trips to the birding areas of South Texas.
One bright spot of my stay in Rockport was a visit from my cousin Joe Leonard. He lives and works in Austin, but will be retiring at the end of the school year. He teaches music to grade school children. You couldn’t pay me enough to teach anything to grade school children. Bless his heart.
I took advantage of the few dry and partially sunny days to find a few birdies to pose for me.

Unfortunately some of them were posing on beaches full of oil that had washed down the coast from a tanker that collided with another ship in Galveston Bay a few days earlier.

Brown Pelican - Goose Island SP TX
Black and White Warbler - Goose Island SP TX
Black-throated Green Warbler - Goose Island SP TX
Hooded Warbler - Goose Island SP TX
Brown Pelican swallowing a fish - Goose Island SP TX
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - Goose Island SP TX
Whooping Cranes in a cow pasture near Goose Island SP TX
Brown Pelicans - Mustang Island SP TX
Laughing Gull - Mustang Island SP TX
Ruddy Turnstone - Mustang Island SP TX
Sanderling - Mustang Island SP TX
Willet - Mustang Island SP TX
Blue-winged Teal - Leonabelle Turnbull  Birding Center - Port Aransas TX
Green Heron - Leonabelle Turnbull  Birding Center - Port Aransas TX
Northern Shoveler - Leonabelle Turnbull  Birding Center - Port Aransas TX
Ruddy Duck Male - Leonabelle Turnbull  Birding Center - Port Aransas TX
Oil Cleanup Crews at Mustang Island SP TX
Oiled Shorebird - Mustang Island SP TX
American Alligator - Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center - Port Aransas TX
Nutria - Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center - Port Aransas TX

Friday, March 28, 2014

Rio Grande Valley TX

March 17 – 24 2014
Of the two weeks I spent in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in TX I think I only had four days without Wind, Rain, Clouds, Storms or all of the above. They have had a strange winter and it looks like it may be a strange spring. I checked out a couple of the same places I visited two years ago. I am about two to three weeks earlier this trip. When I was here before almost every day was sunny and very warm.
Here are some of the critters I managed to find in my limited time outdoors.

Common Pauraque - Estero LLano State Park TX
Can you find me?
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron - Estero LLano State Park TX
Green Kingfisher - Estero LLano State Park TX
Common Gallinule - Estero LLano State Park TX
Golden-fronted Woodpecker - Estero LLano State Park TX
Great Kiskadee - Estero LLano State Park TX
Inca Dove - Estero LLano State Park TX
Brown Thrasher - Laguna Atascosa NWR TX
Couch's Kingbird - Laguna Atascosa NWR TX
Eastern Screech-Owl - Laguna Atascosa NWR TX
Making a home in a ventilation tube at the visitor center
Great-tailed Grackle - Laguna Atascosa NWR TX
Green Jay - Laguna Atascosa NWR TX
Plain Chachalaca - Laguna Atascosa NWR TX
Wild Turkey Male - Laguna Atascosa NWR TX
Northern Cardinal - Laguna Atascosa NWR TX
Northern Cardinal - Laguna Atascosa NWR TX
Reddish Egret - South Padre Island TX
Least Sandpiper - South Padre Island TX
Willet - South Padre Island TX