February 14, 2014 Grand Isle, Louisiana

Osprey on post
Osprey

Finally, beautiful weather has returned, sunny and warm with a gentle breeze and blue skies! So up on the roof I go to replace the turret on my Winegard satellite dish. My hoped for ladder never materialized, so had to do a little improvising to get the unit up on the roof and get the old one down without breaking anything, including myself. Probably spent a couple of hours on the project and didn’t have any major problems except for one adjustment plate that had to be reused but did not match up perfectly with the corresponding part of the replacement turret.

Climb back down the ladder, go in and power the system up, the unit raises up, circles, and circles, and circles, then spits out a new error message “ AZ motor stalled”. Turn the power off and it starts to stow itself but now can’t and we are stuck with the new error message and a dish in the upright position that now won’t stow. Too late to call Winegard so this saga will continue tomorrow.

 

Osprey
Osprey
Osprey on post
Osprey

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drove up to Fourchon with a little success, finding an osprey with it’s specked trout lunch.

Flotilla of white pelicans
Flotilla of white pelicans
Shorebirds
Feast!

 

This flotilla of white pelicans was only 100 feet from the gathering of white ibis, snowy egrets, great egrets and roseate spoonbills that were really working this area hard. Obviously, there either were a mess of shrimp in this area or a large amount of baitfish. On this trip, with the road work preventing me from pulling over, I have missed an awful lot of opportunities to shoot mass gatherings of birds such as this.

Black crowned night heron
Black crowned night heron
Black crowned night heron
Black crowned night heron
Black crowned night heron
Black crowned night heron

 

 

 

January 30, 2014 Moving Day

Roseate spoonbills feeding
Roseate spoonbills

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.

Cameron NWR

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.

Glossy ibis
Glossy ibis

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.

Glossy ibis
Glossy ibis
Glossy ibis
Glossy ibis
Glossy ibis
Glossy ibis

 

Glossy ibis
Glossy ibis

 

Gadwall pair
Gadwall pair
Gadwall drake
Gadwall drake

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Pintail pair
Pintail pair

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.

Cinnamon teal
Cinnamon teal

Seemed odd to encounter a single Cinammon Teal drake, not even any other teal nearby.

Black necked stilt
Black necked stilt

A feeding black-necked stilt.

Great blue heron
Great blue heron
Great blue heron
Great blue heron

 

 

 

 

 

There is no shortage of Great Blue Herons at the refuge.

Redtail hawk in flight
Redtail hawk in flight

 

Redtail hawk in flight
Redtail hawk in flight

And there are usually more raptors around than just this single Red-tailed Hawk I encountered today.

Moorhen on the run
Moorhen on the run

Lastly, a Common Moorhen doing what all birds today seemed inclined to do, running away!

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.

January 13, 2014 Goose Island, Texas

A Quick Trip Back to Port Aransas

Green winged teal
Green winged teal

Nothing doing in the pastures so once again I headed down along the coast to Fulton Harbor.

White pelicans preening
White pelicans preening

Found the same white pelicans doing their preening thing on the rocks north of the harbor.

As always, just click on any image to see a larger, sharper version.

Roseate spoonbill in flight
Roseate spoonbill in flight

Since it was a beautiful day , I decided to go back down to Port Aransas to check and see if there might be any ducks at the water treatment plant. Turns out there were, along with some spoonbills flying by. Though the ducks were not as numerous as in past years there were a whole lot more out on the water than there were here three weeks ago. Maybe by March the place will fill up again.