February 8, 2014 Port Fourchon, Louisiana

Oil industry ships
Oil industry ships

Supporting the Gulf Oil Industry

From Wikopedia “Port Fourchon is Louisiana’s southernmost port, located on the southern tip of Lafourche Parish, Louisiana, on the Gulf of Mexico. It is a sea port, with significant petroleum industry traffic from offshore Gulf oil platforms and drilling rigs as well as the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port pipeline. Fourchon’s primary service markets are domestic deepwater oil and gas exploration, drilling, and production in the Gulf of Mexico. Port Fourchon currently services over 90% of the Gulf of Mexico’s deepwater oil production. There are over 600 oil platforms within a 40-mile radius of Port Fourchon. This area furnishes 16 to 18 percent of the US oil supply.”

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

7 species of birds in this industrial arena
7 species of birds in this industrial arena
Avocets and cranes ( pardon the pun )
Avocets and cranes ( pardon the pun )

In an incredibly hectic industrial zone with thousands of people, heavy large truck traffic, helicopters shuttling overhead day and night, huge aircraft hanger type assembly buildings working around the clock, the wetlands within this complex still serve as home to thousands of birds, a strange sight to see.

A colorful industrial landscape
A colorful industrial landscape

In addition to being an overwhelmingly immense industrial operation seemingly in the middle of nowhere, it also happens to be a very colorful place. As I drove around the area, I could visualize a lot of colorful watercolors of this place some one of these days.

 

Oil industry ships
Oil industry ship

 

 

Oil industry ships
Oil industry ships

 

Chopper and cranes
Chopper and cranes

 

Helicopter fleet
Work taxis

 

The head
The head

 

Moving work platform
Strange sight!

I am not sure what kind of vessel this is, you see them moored? anchored? along the canals throughout the area, but it is strange to see one underway, sailing in to port as this one is. As it approached, it’s size made it seem as though there should be no way it could motor along at the same speed as the more conventional ships traveling in the same channel.

 

Moving work platform
Moving work platform

 

Moving barge
On the move

 

Cranes
Cranes

 

Oil industry ships
Oil industry ships

 

Two ships
Two ships

 

Cranes
What are these?

 

Point Fourchon oil industry support
Point Fourchon oil industry support

 

 

 

January 29, 2014 Bolivar Peninsula, Texas

Bolivar shrimp fleet
Bolivar shrimp fleet

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.

pair
Long billed dowitcher pair

 

Roseate spoonbill
Roseate spoonbill

One of the ugliest beautiful birds out there!

 

Willet with fish
I don’t think it can be done!

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.

 

Snowy egret catching minnow
That’s how it’s done
Black necked stilt
Black necked stilt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

September 2, 2013 Palisades BLM Campground

A day of rest

View of fisherman through RV windshield
Watching the action in comfort
Fish on!
Fish on!
The end of the fight, guide nets trout
The end of the fight

 

Madison River Trout
Madison River Trout

 

Guide measures trout
Seventeen and three quarters inches says the guide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Never left the campsite today, just sat back and watched fisherman, finally actually watched someone catch something, and read all day, enjoying the cloud cover that kept a lid on temperatures for the first time in days. It stayed very comfortable all day with the breeze blowing and the sun peeking through only occasionally. By late afternoon, the few other campers that have been here were packed up and gone, leaving the entire campground to me. This has been one of the most peaceful spots I have ever stayed, definitely has the “it” factor going for it, no road noise, wide, level sites, spaced far apart for privacy, clean, well kept, with the river 30 feet in front of your site and the imposing bluff on the opposite shore where eagles and ospreys perch.

Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey

 

August 30, 2013 Day trip to Red Rock National Wildlife Refuge

Decided today was the day to take a trip to Red Rock Wildlife Refuge on the border of Montana and Idaho. Initially set up to help the then endangered tundra swans, I had read that the refuge was a great place for all kinds of birds, especially ducks. The refuge is accessed off of route 20 by a 30 plus mile gravel road suitable for regular vehicles, but rough and dusty. What the online info did not specify was that nearly all the waters in the refuge are off limits and you really can’t even think about shooting with a large telephoto because you are so far away and the fields between the road and the ponds and lakes are closed to foot traffic.

 

Juvenile Mountain Bluebird
Juvenile Mountain Bluebird

Juvenile Mountain Bluebird

Juvenile Mountain Bluebird

 

All I got to show for my efforts are some shots of juvenile mountain bluebirds and sandhill cranes along the road, and a very dusty car, both inside and out. It was certainly interesting to see this broad expanse of meadows and lakes at an elevation of 7000 or so but I don’t think I would make the trip again, too much pain for not enough reward.

 

Madison River Ospreys
Madison River Osprey
Madison River Ospreys
Madison River Osprey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The best shots of the day were taken about 6 miles from my campsite on 287 at the osprey nest platform I visited the other day. They obviously have not read the signs about “catch and release “ you find all along the Madison River. It was pretty neat to watch this pair fly down to the river, about 200 yards away, patrol only a short section, maybe 200-300 yards only, make a few dives, and then come back to the nest to devour their trout, some fairly good sized. They gave me a great opportunity to capture them in flight as they landed and took off from the nest.

Disaster Strikes

After my mostly unfruitful, very hot day trip out to the refuge, I was looking forward to getting back home to stretch out in the shade or in front of a fan. But when I arrived back at my campsite, I found my passenger side mid coach window shattered and laying on the ground, in a million pieces. I have single pane safety glass sliders on the motorhome and this has never happened before. maybe a bird hit it or some other kind of freak occurrence? I don’t think it was a breakin because the RV wasn’t missing anything and nothing was disturbed inside, so who knows?

Big trouble, broken window
Big trouble, broken window
Big trouble, broken window
Big trouble, broken window

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I do know is that this was the last thing on earth I wanted to deal with on a 90+ degree afternoon after an eight hour fruitless, frustrating road trip. Then it dawned on me that this was really bad, this being the Friday of a long Labor Day weekend when everything was going to be closed up for three days and me sitting here in a remote BLM campground, in bear country with a 24” x 28” opening in the side of my motorhome. My first thought was to call Tiffen Industries, the manufacture of my coach and see if they could ship out a replacement piece of glass before they closed up today. It was 2:30 here in Montana which meant 4:30 in Red Bay, Alabama where Tiffen is located, and that meant I had to get a call in quick before they closed.

Of course, with no cell coverage here in the campground, I wold have to scurry quickly to higher ground, so I headed back up 287 towards Ennis, searching for a signal all the way. At 2:42, I finally got one and pulled off the road to call Tiffen service, got put on hold by their automated call system ( aren’t they just what you want to hear when you are sweating it out in somewhat of an emergency? ) for the next ten minutes, 2:52 now and I am assuming they close down at 5:00, their time, so I give up and call their parts number and once again am put on hold for what seems like an eternity as the clock ticks towards the magic hour, 5:00, when finally, just exactly at 5 someone picks up.

I explain my situation, bear country, severe afternoon thunderstorms, being out in the middle of nowhere with this gaping hole in my motorhome’s side, and could they ship out a piece of replacement glass before they close up for the weekend. He explained to me that all they could do was manufacture me a full new window frame with components and that would take about two weeks to make. I got the distinct impression that my predicament really wasn’t a big concern to Tiffen, and after my experience at their maintenance facility in Red Bay last December, I kind of assume they really aren’t all that concerned anymore with maintaining their formerly great reputation for treating their customers right. Well, it doesn’t make much sense to me to wait 2 to 3 weeks for a full replacement window at a cost of probably a couple of grand ( I am guessing, I didn’t ask a price ) when I need something NOW and for a whole lot less money. A piece of replacement safety glass, there is no frame on the glass panel, surely can be come by somewhere at a much lower price than $2000 and a lot sooner than 2 or 3 weeks.

So, first things first, I rushed up to Ennis to the lumber yard to get a piece of 1/4” luan plywood cut to my window size that I could take home with me to temporarily close up the gap. They were very helpful there and for $7 I was out the door and headed back home in just a few minutes. Once there I took out my screen, used it as a pattern to trace out the rounded corners on my plywood, cut the corners out with my trusty utility knife, and then was able to bow the 1/4” material enough to get it snuggly back in the track of the now missing glass. Not much to look at, but now I can at least keep the rain out.

I will have to backtrack to Bozeman on Tuesday and try to find a glass shop that can custom make a piece of safety glass for me, I hope! If not, I will then try to get a piece of 1/4” acrylic ( plexi ) cut to use as a semi permanent solution until I can figure out what to do.

Flyfishing the Madison
Flyfishing the Madison
Flyfishing the Madison
Flyfishing the Madison

 

 

 

 

 

For the next three days, I guess I will just stay put here on the banks of the Madison River and enjoy my peace and quiet and watch the fisherman go by.

As always click on any image for a larger version.

Flyfishing the Madison
Flyfishing the Madison
Staging area for Madison River fishing trips
Staging area for Madison River fishing trips
Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey

 

 

 

 

 

Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey

 

 

 

 

 

Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey