January 31, 2018 Port Aransas, Texas

Port Aransas Beach Camping
Port Aransas Beach Camping

A Short Stay in Port Aransas, Texas

Above is a photo of my camping spot on the beach in Port Aransas, a place I have visited three times in the past. I had planned on staying here a while but left after only three nights and continued on to Louisiana.

The beach itself apparently did not sustain much damage from the hurricane and looks pretty much the same as it did on my previous visits here. To camp on the beach you simply obtain a $12 beach parking permit at one of several different locations, I bought mine at one of the Stripes convenience stores. During the busy summer beach season, you are limited to just a few days of camping but during the winter season, you can stay an extended length of time. The beach road is graded regularly and is very firm, making travel safe for any kind of rig with many miles of beachfront camping to choose from. There were very few people camped here this year as compared to my other times here.

Deep Sea Oil Rig Transport
Deep Sea Oil Rig Transport

As I was having coffee my first morning on the beach, I saw this enormous deep sea drilling platform being escorted out of the Port Aransas shipping channel. Headed for a deep sea location somewhere south of New Orleans, it was being towed and pushed by nine huge tugboats. Each tug was probably about three stories high from water to the top of their masts, so that might give you an idea of the size of this oil rig, just absolutely gigantic. The jetty rocks that can barely be made out in this image are probably about 10 feet above the waterline.

There still were piles of demolition debris along the streets of Port Aransas awaiting pickup and there were plenty of blue tarps on the roofs of hotels and private homes. Several empty lots were visible where structures have been demolished and await rebuilding efforts. Probably half the businesses were now open and most of the rest had signs saying they were opening soon. All of the RV Parks appeared open and most were all but full, so the winter Texans have shown up in Port Aransas.

I drove down to the Padre Island National Seashore and checked out the birding areas there … and came away with nothing. I mean there was no kind of bird life anywhere there. One little roadside pond where I have photographed hundreds of ducks before was completely devoid of life. No shorebirds, no ducks, no raptors anywhere, really strange.

Sadly, the best birding attraction in Port Aransas, the Leona Turnbull Birding Area, was heavily damaged by the hurricane, the boardwalk and observation decks being completely destroyed and are awaiting reconstruction, of which there are no signs of immediate efforts to do so.

Oil Rigs From the Ferry
Oil Rigs From the Ferry

So, the next day I hopped on the ferry and headed about 25 miles north to check out one of my favorite all-time places to stay, Rockport. There were three oil drilling platforms being refurbished alongside the north ferry terminal. These rigs would have been dwarfed by the rig seen going out the shipping channel the day before … and these are pretty impressively large structures themselves.

Hurricane Trash Heaps
Hurricane Trash Heaps
Hurricane Trash Heaps
Hurricane Trash Heaps

The remnants of the demolition debris piles from the hurricane were spread over a half mile of the bypass highway median as you approached it’s northern terminus. A few months ago these piles were about ten times this size according to what some of the locals told me. There was a lot of obvious damage all through the town and my favorite spot to stay here, Goose Island State Park, has yet to reopen for camping.

The entire area is pretty gray looking and forlorn. Tremendous numbers of oaks have been blown down or uprooted and all the foliage in the area has been blown off or browned, it really is a pretty depressing looking area right now. The cow pastures along the coast, just outside the State Park, the usual haunts for the endangered Whooping Cranes, are no exception to the bleak looks of this part of the Texas coast. Finding this all a little depressing, I packed up after just three nights and continued on towards Louisiana and Grand Isle.

Thank you for shopping Amazon from my site!

When you click ( on the image below) through to shop Amazon from here, I get a tiny commission, one that does not in any way impact what you pay, and all those tiny commissions eventually add up and that helps me keep this blog going !


 

 

October 24, Mule Deer then Travel Day

Antelope Island Sunrise
Antelope Island Sunrise

Antelope Island

Anxious to get out early and find the mule deer bucks I ran into yesterday morning, I had a little trouble setting my internal alarm and woke up way too early. So I headed back up to Buffalo Point and waited for the sun to come up.

City Lights from Antelope Island
City Lights from Antelope Island

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Morning Hunt for Mule deer Bucks

The Challenge
The Challenge

These images were taken long before the sun came up so the quality is not the best since there was so little light, but I liked some of the action they captured and they will make great painting reference photos.

Mulie Duel
Mulie Duel
Mulie Duel
Mulie Duel

While still dark I had hiked down to the edge of the sagebrush and set up my tripod with my 600mm lens attached. These photos were taken from quite a distance since I did not want to scare these guys off.

Always Alert
Always Alert

Of necessity, these guys are eternally vigilant, and they were aware of my presence, but as long as I didn’t move when their heads were up and looking my way, and I didn’t get too close, they would tolerate my efforts to get some shots.

The Boys Club
The Boys Club
The Boys Club
The Boys Club

I followed as they moved across the meadow and the sun slowly began to illuminate the scene.

The Boys Club
The Boys Club
The Boys Club
The Boys Club
On Alert
On Alert

If you don’t crowd them, they settle in and go about their daily routine, browsing, grooming,

Mulies Sparring
Mulies Sparring
Mulies Sparring
Mulies Sparring

and sparring, just testing each others strength, not really full out fighting.

Mule Deer
Mule Deer

Finally, they were bathed in full morning sunlight, and now I can get some decent shots ……

The End of a Good Thing, Here Comes Joe Point and Shoot
The End of a Good Thing, Here Comes Joe Point and Shoot

but, no such luck. They have been spotted by ” Joe Point and Shoot ” and here he comes crashing down through the sagebrush to get in ” real close ” so he can get the shot of a lifetime, shooting straight into the rising sun, of course. Well, he doesn’t get his shot because he scares them off, and needless to say, neither do I, after 2 hours of carefully stalking these beautiful, but cautious animals, they are out of here !

Sorry to cry and gripe and moan about this, but it happens all too often. You put in the time and effort to get some nice shots and some inconsiderate moron, or perhaps they are just oblivious to what others are trying to accomplish, comes along and chases off your subjects.

Bridger Bay Campsite Visitors

Morning Visitor
Morning Visitor

I get a great kick out of watching the jack rabbits come in early each morning, as I have my cup of coffee. Sometimes it is just one or two individuals, sometimes a dozen.

Coyote Pair
Coyote Pair
Coyote Pair
Coyote Pair

I’m not quite so pleased to see Ma and Pa coyote show up this close however. I imagine they are just doing their morning thing hunting for mice and voles, I doubt they could catch too many of the jack rabbits, but they always seem to show up around the time I am taking the dogs out for their morning constitutional. Sam sees them and wants to go check them out, but I have tried to explain to her that the game they would want to play with her is one she would not enjoy.

Unwelcome Campsite Visitor
Unwelcome Campsite Visitor
Unwelcome Campsite Visitor
Unwelcome Campsite Visitor

These portraits give you an idea of how close in they come, and, yes, the coyote is staring at one of the dogs, probably trying to size up the situation, thinking … one small, probably delicious little four legged morsel, and one very large two legged thing with some black three legged thing in front of him … hmmmm, wonder if it’s worth making a run at it. Any time they come around, I do get the dogs back in the motorhome, just in case.

Antelope Island to Baker, Nevada

After my morning photo shoot, I was back to camp and got everything stowed away and left Bridger Bay Campground around 10:30. Made a quick stop at WalMart on the way back out to I-15, I figured I better stock up on basics since I don’t think there is going to be a lot of opportunities to do so where I am heading.

Drove south on I-15 to I-215 south, battling the always heavy traffic on the interstates throughout the Salt lake City megalopolis. I exited I-215 and got on I-80 west and finally the traffic thinned to tolerable levels. I departed the interstate and headed south on Route 36, through several miles of traffic lights before finally hitting the open road, and no traffic, of the high desert country. Eventually, Route 36 ends and I got on another 2 lane, Route 6 west. More desert, nothing to see, but no traffic to battle, all the way to the Nevada border.

The Border Inn is right on Route 6 and I paid for two nights ( $24.42/ night including tax ) of camping in their flat, unpaved, peastone parking lot. Actually they have a decent, though not terribly attractive, campground directly adjacent to the store/restaurant/bar/casino/convenience store/gas station. Though right on the highway, the lack of night time traffic made for an uninterrupted night’s sleep here. There are full hookups with 50 Amp electric, and the sites are all side by side, close, with no privacy, but there are not a lot of campers here at this time. Verizon signal is a usable 4 bars of 3G and with no trees, satellite reception is fine. All in all, to explore the Great Basin National Park area, I would definitely stay here again.

Thank you for shopping Amazon from my site!

When you click through to shop Amazon from here, I get a tiny commission, one that does not in any way impact what you pay, and all those tiny commissions eventually add up and that helps me keep this blog going !

 



March 13, 2014 Goose Island, Texas

Ibis flock at sunrise
Ibis flock at sunrise

With bright stars and clear skies when I woke up this morning, I headed out to get some sunrise shots. Although clear skies never yield as dramatic sunrise shots as when there are some clouds to add contrast to the scene, this morning’s presunrise colors were fairly intense and produced some decent shots.

Lamar sunrise
Lamar sunrise

 

Lamar sunrise
Lamar sunrise

 

After the sun broke the horizon, the dogs and I headed down to the point in Lamar to await the whooping cranes flying in.

Sam looking for whoopers
Sam looking for whoopers
Jenny on the trail of whoopers
Jenny on the trail of whoopers

 

 

 

 

 

Jenny and Sam did their part in searching out whoopers. Actually, in the dim first light of the day, they do serve an actual purpose, I can shoot them, since they are white, to get a good exposure for the cranes when they come in, sort of a white grey card, if you will.

Whooping cranes in tight flight formation
Whooping cranes in tight flight formation

 

Whooping crane family in flight
Whooping crane family in flight

 

Whooping crane family in flight
Whooping crane family in flight

 

Three Royal Terns
Three Royal Terns

 

Sanderling
Sanderling

Along the shore when returning home, I ran into some royal terns and a little sanderling.

Lamar sunrise
Lamar sunrise
Lamar sunrise
Lamar sunrise

 

January 3, 2014, Goose Island, Texas

Smoke over Goose Island State Park
Smoke over Goose Island State Park

I looked up from my computer last night to see what looked like my campground burning down, a weird pink smoke filling the eastern sky. Turns out it was a controlled burn out on Matagorda Island, a barrier island east of Goose Island. And the pink smoke was the result of a rather nice, though not spectacular sunset.

Goose Island sunset
Goose Island sunset

That is my neighbor’s fishing gear on the right, I haven’t seen him land anything yet though.

I spent the last 2 sort of dreary days ( I have to be careful not to complain too much about my local weather knowing what the folks up north are going through right now ) working on establishing a Facebook page and reorganizing all my images, all 972 of them, and all my posts, all 95 of them, categorizing everything and applying tags so that the entire blog is now searchable, by tag or category. To search by category, just hit the drop down menu under CATEGORIES on the right side column of the blog. Click on a tag, also located in the right hand column, to search by TAGS. A very time consuming project, as it should have been done as I created each post, but being a novice, I didn’t know that when I started, but will now be able to categorize everything new that I add when I add it.