Friday, January 22, 2010

Part 5 Winter Trip - Whooping Cranes

Some years we go on a whooping crane boat tour.  This year however we decided to go looking for the whoopers on our own.

On some property next to Goose Island State Park we found a pair of whoopers that had taken up residence in a front yard by a deer corn feeder.  Lazy birds!!!

While watching this pair, we saw them chase off other whoopers who thought they'd come eat some corn.  Then some sandhill cranes flew into the area.  Using stealth, they snuck up on the whoopers.

However, the whoopers were totally unconcerned about the sandhill cranes and shared the corn with them.

Here is a bit of information about the gorgeous whooping cranes that winter in this area of the Texas Gulf coast.  The whooper is the tallest American bird, standing at 5 feet with a 7 1/2 foot wingspan.

The Last Wild Flock
The Aransas-Wood Buffalo Whooping Crane flock winters along the Texas coast, northeast of Corpus Christi, and breeds in Canada’s Wood Buffalo National Park in the summer. It is the only natural wild flock remaining in the world. After decades of government protection in this country and in Canada, the flock has increased from 16 birds in the early 1940s to 270 in the spring of 2008.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Part 4 Winter Trip - On The Beach RV Park - Our Home for the Next Month

On January 9th we moved down the island to On the Beach RV Park.  This is a small campground that is situated on the back side of the sand dunes.  This means it's a quick walk to the beach. 

This is the view out of our front window.  Not bad, huh!

And the beach goes on... and on... and on.  Oh, how lovely!  This is the reason we stay on the island.

Bill went and got another haircut.  This time he went to a beauty salon and asked them to TRIM his hair.  Once again, no hair!!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Part 3 Winter Trip - Ship Watching

A favorite pastime is a visit to the ship channel by the beach to see if any ships were coming or leaving the channel.  All ships going into the Corpus Christi port enter the channel here.

Two ships were about to enter the channel as we arrived and a third one was in the distance.

One of the joys of ship watching is being able to watch dolphins jumping in the waves in front of the ships.  These dolphins stay in the channel, never venturing out to sea.  Their job seems to be leading ships up and down the channel.  Catching one in a picture is hard to do but if you look on the far right side of the picture, you'll see a dolphin swimming.

After watching these two ships go by, we quickly got back in the car and headed to the pier in downtown Port A to watch the third ship go by.  Couldn't resist some pics of our favorite birds while waiting for the ship.

By now dusk was approaching and it was time to go find dinner.

This was a typical afternoon on the island - bird watching and ship watching!!!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Part 2 Winter Trip - Bird Watching

The next day Don and Juanette (who are already at On the Beach RV Park) came and got us after lunch to go exploring.  We have been coming down here for 9 years so each year we are excited to see if any changes have been made.

We headed out to the Leona Belle Turnbull Birding Center to check out the birds.  We were lucky to see a couple of pink Roseate Spoonbills, the Port A city bird.  I love how they stand out and shine!  We didn't spot either of the resident American alligators, Boots or Bags.  I think the cool weather kept them sleeping in the marsh area.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Part 1 Winter Trip - Going to Mustang Island and Port A

Now that we knew we could happily live in the motorhome we are ready to set off on our winter adventure.  

We left on December 31 and over a 2 1/2 month period stayed in seven different campgrounds.  Needless to say we had a grand time.
The first day out we drove to Lake Waco and stayed at the Airport Park Campground.  We stayed in site #22, a pull through site overlooking the water.

Our original plan was to take our time getting to Port Aransas as we didn't check in to On the Beach RV Park until January 9th.  However we were barely ahead of a major cold front that was going all the way down into central Texas.  So rather than dawdle, we got up and headed south.  I discovered that there was a Corps Park at Canyon Lake (Potters Creek Park), which is located just northeast of San Antonio so we headed there for two nights.

We had a lovely surprise waiting for us there in terms of lots of deer that surrounded the motorhome.  We were in their turf and they paid no attention to us.
I called the Neuces County Park - I.B. Magee Beach Park and got reservations for 4 nights.  This park is located on Mustang Island right next to the ship channel.  I called the  I.B. Magee Beach Park and got reservations for 4 nights.  This park is located on Mustang Island right next to the ship channel.

Crossing the ferry onto Mustang Island:

Home for the next four days - I.B. Magee Beach Park.  We discovered that we could see ships  going by in the ship channel from our front window.  What fun!!!

While we didn't have the temps in the teens as they had in San Antonio (so much for going to their botanical garden) temperatures did drop into the high 20's for a couple of nights. No wading in the water anytime soon!