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.
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.
Finally, today there was an actual, honest to goodness sunrise, and a sunset also! It really has been a dreary stretch of weather here on the Texas coast as of late, grey skies and rain showers pretty much nonstop. Still though, much better than shoveling snow and battling ice.
So, with the sun finally out and some blue skies, I took another spin around the “Big Tree” loop in Lamar in hopes of seeing some whooping crane activity, but once again, nothing to photograph except these shots of duck hunters, sitting 15 feet from the road where last March, I had my tripod set photographing whoopers and ducks. It appears that duck season finally ends January 26th, so, although it appears I will have no luck getting any photographs here now, perhaps when I return in March, the birds will have settled back in.
It seems the only birds that the constant airboat racket and shotgun blasts doesn’t seem to scare out of the area are the vultures, who probably associate the sounds with a good chance to scavenge birds the hunters leave behind.
I actually have nothing against hunting myself, though I have never been a hunter. Hunters do serve a purpose in keeping numbers of birds, and animals, in check, and the money they pay in licenses and fees goes a long way to saving critical wildlife habitat, and that helps all of us wildlife photographers in the end. However, I do have some concerns about the sportsmanship of some of these guys right here on Goose Island. I have witnessed hunters firing from the boat launch right in the middle of the campground, certainly not safe, probably illegal. Today, while watching a lone duck swim warily in the direction of a set of decoys, only about 50 yards offshore from my location and a good hundred yards from the decoys and the duck blind, I watched as the hunters blasted this poor thing with six shotgun blasts while it was sitting on the water ( guess that is where the ” like a sitting duck ” must come from ), probably not illegal, but certainly not very sporting. I wonder what there might be to salvage, as far as eating, after a small duck has been filled with 6 rounds of shotgun pellets. I have also witness more than one group of hunters hunting from the side of the road here, back where I come from, definitely illegal.
Drove right past the roosting ponds again this morning and headed out to the alfalfa fields just past the “ Farm Deck “ hoping to get some overhead flight shots of the sandhills heading out to feed.
As I got out of the car to get set up, I spotted some mule deer coming up the bank and looking to cross the road to get to the alfalfa fields. At this early morning hour the sun was just breaking the horizon behind me and and shafts of sunlight between the tree branches just magically lit the deer for just one brief moment.
While there is a noticeable daily increase in the number of cranes and geese arriving, unfortunately there seems to be a corresponding increase in the number of people also. My afternoon session turned out to be a complete waste of time as the dust stirred up by the greatly increased traffic on the dry gravel roads resembled a desert sand storm by 4 PM today. A plume of dust 30 feet high extended out into the fields a good 100 feet or more, making photography absolutely impossible. Hopefully, this is just a weekend thing and the traffic will die down during the week.