January 7, 2015 Imperial Dam LTVA, California

Vermillion flycatcher
Vermillion flycatcher

A Few Birds and a Lot of Lettuce

I took an afternoon drive out to explore the Mittry Lake boondocking area to see if I might want to move down there rather than do another 14 day, $40 stay here at the LTVA. On the way to the Mittry Lake Road I decided to go check out the Laguna Dam Road that leads into a really tiny golf course alongside the dam and the Hidden Shores Village RV Park.

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

Vermillion flycatcher
Vermillion flycatcher

I encountered this bright little Vermillion flycatcher hopping from post to post on the lookout for dinner on the edge of the golf course. Also was about to get a nice shot of a meadowlark hunting in the short grass of the golf course when he was scared off by an errant drive. I definitely will have to come back in here early some morning as there appear to be a few colorful birds hanging around this tiny oasis.

It is about a 5 or 6 mile drive down a wide, but washboarded, dusty dirt road to the area where boondocking is permitted along the road and along the shore of Mittry Lake. It looks like all the good sites are occupied that I could see, though there may be more setback from the road that I did not explore. Guess I will just stay where I am here in the LTVA while I have more solar work and general maintenance work done on the motorhome.

Happy Campers?
Happy Campers?

A couple of “happy campers”

Speaking of the Imperial Dam LTVA, I ran into these two happy campers ( I am assuming they are happy, after finding shade in the treeless desert on a rather warm day ) on my way down to check out the “ Liberry “ in the LTVA, an old Airstream trailer, loaded to the rafters with paperbacks, sorted by genre and author. On the honor system you are allowed to take out up to 6 books and return them when done, nothing to sign, no agreement to even bring them back, something you don’t encounter everyday.

Desolate and visually unappealing as this place may be, after 2 weeks here, it is starting to grow on me a little. It is quiet, the people are almost universally considerate, the dump station/ water filling/ trash facility, that I had occassion to use is well laid out and convenient, and the $40 for 14 days is not too bad a price either. My only complaint at this time is that I had to take in my hummingbird feeders after the bees discovered them finally and completely took them over, doing away with my hummingbird photography.

After driving through the Mittry Lake boondocking area, I decided to keep going down the road to see where it came out, rather than backtracking the 6 miles of dusty road I came in on. The road becomes the paved Laguna Dam Road not too far south of Mittry Lake and that becomes Avenue 7E that connects with Route 95 on the east side of Yuma.

Yuma agricultural fields
Yuma agricultural fields

This road took me through a small portion of the extensive agricultural fields in the area and I had the chance to take a few photos of the lettuce fields,

Baby lettuce
Baby lettuce

from new seedlings,

Why the mighty Colorado River no longer makes it to the ocean
Why the mighty Colorado River no longer makes it to the ocean

to established fields being heavily watered,

Lettuce harvest assembly line
Lettuce harvest assembly line

to a crew harvesting an older crop, and all the stages in between as the plantings are staggered to produce continuous harvests.

Lettuce harvest assembly line
Lettuce harvest assembly line

A colorful scene, might just become a watercolor some day!

Great egret patrolling the lettuce fields
Great egret patrolling the lettuce fields

Along this road, I also encountered pest control measures employed by these huge farms, both amongst the crops,

Snowy egrets
Snowy egrets

and along the irrigation canals that border these fields.

My blog posting problems finally resolved?

As of this post, I believe ( I am keeping my fingers crossed ) that my ability to do blog posts in a timely manner has finally, after a month of frustration, been resolved. For those of you who follow this blog, you may have to re- bookmark the page to this new address:    ramcquade.com

 

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 !


 

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 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 23, 2014 Bolivar Peninsula, Texas

Royal terns
Royal terns

Some really nasty weather predicted for this afternoon through Friday, ice, sleet, freezing rain, maybe even snow with 30 mph north winds, pretty nasty for this part of Texas, and supposed to be even worse a little farther north. Guess I am glad I decided to plunk down here on the Bolivar Peninsula and not go any further north until this thing blows past.

Went to turn on my rooftop Winegard Trav’ler sat. dish last night and it would only go up a little, make a 360 degree turn and then pack itself away again, giving a “no LNB voltage” message on the interface box. Went up on the roof and checked out all the coax connections and everything seemed tight, same inside the RV. Called the Winegard help line and after 3 attempts finally had a tech return my call, but she did not seem to understand my situation. Next tried to do an online support ticket and got a response several hours after I entered it, so I only answered the tech’s question this AM. Will be kind of curious how that version of support goes. Supposedly, Winegard has a good reputation for support, but so far, I am not impressed. I had this automatic dish installed 8 months ago and have been pleased with its performance, it dials right in on a signal quickly and never loses the signal in windy conditions like the little manual rooftop dish that came installed on the motorhome would.

After having lunch, with the foul weather still not arrived, I decided to venture out and head up to Rollover Pass, High Island, and then on to Anahuac NWR.

Willet feeding
Willet feeding
Snowy egret breeding colors
Snowy egret

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It seemed strange to pull into Rollover Pass and see it completely deserted, not a single fisherman, I guess a winter storm warning must scare reasonable folks off. There were a few wading birds in the flats there, but not very many.

The remains of Highway 87
The remains of Highway 87
A pair of terns
A pair of terns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proceeded up Route 87 to where the highway turns inland to High Island and drove out the dirt road north along the hurricane ravaged abandoned old Route 87, scouting for seabirds and found several gulls and terns on the edge of the surf. The image to the right above shows the centerline of the abandoned 40 mile stretch of Highway 87 heading north to Sea Rim.The highway was closed in 1989 when hurricanes Chantal and Jerry washed out the roadway. More evidence of the power of Mother Nature.

Least tern in flight
Least tern in flight
Forster's tern in flight
Forster’s tern in flight

 

 

 

 

 

 

The skies were getting dark and the wind was starting to pick up, but I decided to check out Anahuac NWR anyway, since I know I won’t be getting out the next couple of days.

I was running low on gas when I drove past the last gas station in High Island and I had forgotten how far it was to Anahuac so I was getting a little nervous about running out of gas as I finally drove into the refuge. Don’t know if the threatening weather was the cause or not, but there was very little in the way of birds at Anahuac, no snow geese at all, very, very few ducks, and little of anything else, I will have to come back out after the cold front passes through.

The Prius has a function on one of its monitor settings that shows you how many miles you have left to go before running out of fuel. I watched this pretty closely as I left Anahuac, which, if you haven’t been there, is in the middle of nowhere, and anxiously headed back towards High Island. The monitor said I had 20 miles of fuel left and that was about how far away from High Island I guessed I was. When High Island was finally in sight as I crossed the bridge over the coastal waterway, my monitor said 2 miles of fuel left and that would calculate out to less than 1/25th of a gallon. With great relief, I coasted in to the gas station with 1 mile of fuel showing on the monitor. I assume that the remaining fuel estimate probably is going to be on the conservative side, but just out of curiosity, I wish I were brave enough to have kept on going to find out for sure, since I don’t think I will ever intentionally put myself in this position again anytime in the near future.

Tri colored heron
Tri colored heron
Tri colored heron
Tri colored heron
Snowy egret breeding colors
Snowy egret
Oystercatcher liftoff
Oystercatcher liftoff

 

 

 

 

 

Oystercatcher
Oystercatcher