Temperatures dipped into the 20’s last night and it was just a bit nippy as I headed into the refuge this morning.
As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.
The chilly temps do not seem to deter the birds as they were out and about as soon as the sun peaked over the hills to the east.
One of the male Northern Harriers had found a perch warmed by the early sun and was performing his daily grooming ritual.
Anyone following this blog can probably tell I have a strong fascination with the ” Gray Ghost “.
The great Short-eared Owl shot still eludes me, though he does seem to take a certain delight in tormenting me with his distant antics.
Male Ruddy Ducks are now sporting their brilliant blue bills to impress the ladies.
And small birds are singing their hearts out everywhere throughout the refuge, again hoping to impress members of the opposite sex.
Late in the afternoon, just around sunset, I ran into this colorful male Ring-necked Pheasant along the southern portion of the refuge road. Lighting conditions were just ideal to capture the breathtaking colors of this bird, the sun was low and the soft light further diffused by clouds as the bird moved in and out of the shade at a fairly close distance from me. These conditions just make all the colors pop!
In this closeup, you can see every color of the rainbow on this bird. The purple around the neck is a color I had never noticed before, revealed when this bird walked into the shade.
Pretty spectacular creature, wouldn’t you agree.
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Moving day Bolivar Peninsula, Texas to Iowa, Louisiana
Headed up Route 87 to High Island then inland on Route 124 to Winnie where I joined up with I-10 East. Got off I-10 east at Orange, Texas exit and filled up at the Pilot truck stop right on the exit. Plenty of room on an actual RV gas island!
Called the Wingard shop down the road to see if they could help me with my satellite dish problem and turns out they can’t because their tech’s car won’t start so he won’t be in today. The owner said he thought it probably was a problem with the DirecTv box, of course, shift the blame.
Stopping and letting the dogs out at the truck stop proved to be a wise move because when I checked the tires while out with the dogs, I noticed the curbside tire on the tow dolly was completely flat. 5 minutes before, while I was filling up, it appeared fine. So, I unloaded the Toyota scissor jack and found that it wouldn’t even begin lifting the car, absolutely useless. Fortunately, I had my old small hydraulic jack in the RV and, even though it had once again leaked fluid all over the storage box, it did lift the dolly up enough so I could work it with the scissor jack to finish the change
… with the help of a young Spanish speaking trucker who was parked nearby and insisted on helping, though he spoke no English. He dove right in, so accepted the help, it was appreciated, and I figured I would give him a twenty for the 10 minutes help, so no big deal, even though I could have finished up by myself. With the job completed, I took my wallet out and grabbed a bill, but he absolutely refused to take anything, simply shook my hand, smiled, and walked away.Once in a while, my tenuous faith in humanity gets shored up a bit by the kindness of strangers.
I arrived at Cypress Bend RV Park in Iowa, LA right at noon, and when I went to check in and they had 2 packages waiting for me, my replacement lens foot from Really Right Stuff for my new camera lens ( that is on backorder from Adorama ) and a replacement LNB unit from the Winegard Satellite people. They said they were shipping out a coax cable that goes from the dish base to the LNB unit, but must have changed their diagnosis of my problem. Hope this is the problem, have to give Winegard some credit though, they responded quickly.
With a little sun popping through around 1 PM, I decided to forego the satellite dish repair and head down to Cameron NWR to take advantage of a day with sunlight. On the way, I stopped at the Lake Charles Toyota dealership to see if they can get my speed sensor ordered and installed while I am in the area. I showed their service people the documentation from Galveston Toyota showing the need for a new speed sensor to resolve my cruise control and warning lights situation. The Galveston dealer had told me it would take at least a week to get the part in ( from California he said ) and so I had to forego getting it fixed in Galveston a couple of weeks ago. Turns out there are four different speed sensors and the documentation from Galveston did not specify which one needed replacement so I had to hang around while the two dealerships got that straightened out. Here’s where I again start to lose faith… the Lake Charles dealership made me an appointment for first thing Monday morning to do the work and said that the part would be in overnight and it would come from Houston, so obviously I was getting a song and dance number in Galveston, don’t know why, unless they have an aversion to doing warranty work for people they haven’t sold to.
As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.
I have visited this wildlife refuge twice in the past and have had mixed results, but it always is worth a look see.
One of my favorite challenges is capturing the iridescent feathers of the Glossy ( or it could be a White-faced ) Ibis, most often appearing as a drab bronze-brown feathered bird. But if you capture the sunlight at just the right angle you have a good chance of some seeing some amazing colors on that drab brown body.
I managed to add a new duck species to my photo catalog! The Gadwall is a not quite so common, nor colorful, duck that can be found here at the refuge most times.
I could hear shotgun blasts in the distance so I assume that might be why these pintails and most of the other birds were very skittish about my approach.
Seemed odd to encounter a single Cinammon Teal drake, not even any other teal nearby.
A feeding black-necked stilt.
There is no shortage of Great Blue Herons at the refuge.
And there are usually more raptors around than just this single Red-tailed Hawk I encountered today.
Lastly, a Common Moorhen doing what all birds today seemed inclined to do, running away!
With Lake Charles temps to be in the low 20’s tonight, I decided to stay here on the Bolivar Peninsula one last night. The campground, Cypress Bend Rv in Iowa, LA seems understanding, we shall see when we get there and find if I get charged for my weather push backs to my reservation.
So, with a little touch of cabin fever setting in, despite solid socked in skies and a cold north wind, I decided to venture out and headed towards Bolivar Flats to seek out some wading birds.
One of the ugliest beautiful birds out there!
I watched this willet struggle with this find for 10 minutes without ever downing the fish, I don’t believe this is an ordinary part of their diet, but I suppose it couldn’t turn it’s back on such a promising meal.
I was pleasantly surprised to actually find a fair number of birds out refueling in the brisk winter weather.
After my satellite dish mysteriously came back to life the other day, I have been enjoying TV again. Until tonight, that is. I had to drop the rear jacks to load the car on the tow dolly and doing so threw the dish out of alignment and when I turned it on to reset, I got my “ no lnb” message again and the dish stowed itself. Will have to figure this out when I get to the campground in Iowa, Louisiana.