Coffee Cake Debacle – Blame the Eagle

Coffee Cake Debacle – Blame the Eagle

Being housebound isn’t all bad. The downtime has given me the opportunity to clean house, binge-watch something, get caught up on RV maintenance projects that we’ve been avoiding, binge-watch something, go for long walks, reorganize a bunch of crap stuff on my computer, binge-watch something, and finally finish editing a video that has been in the works since last August. ūü•ī

Quite frankly, I had put the whole YouTube channel/video stuff on the back burner. That is until I went looking for a recipe in my recipe notebook recently. When I finally found the blueberry coffee cake recipe that I was searching for, I was reminded that I had shot a video on how to make this easy blueberry coffee cake. So then I thought, ok if I’m going to post the recipe, I might as well share the video. Right?

So since we’re all stuck at home during this pandemic, I’m pretty sure many of you are cooking and possibly baking more than normal. For me, I may be baking more but only cooking slightly more since we don’t normally go out to eat on any sort of regular basis anyway. It’s usually about once a week that we’ll eat out, and I’ll admit, I’m missing that. Sorry, but carry-outs aren’t the same.

blueberry coffee cake baked in a cast iron skillet

With the whole pandemic in full swing during the month of April, Easter Sunday was naturally a little quiet for us. Of course, all along we’ve been adhering to a good practice of social distancing, but distancing from my daughter doesn’t count since I’ve been seeing her regularly ever since the beginning of this pandemic. With that said, our daughter, Ashton, joined us for Easter Sunday and we started off the day with blueberry coffee cake and mimosas. ūü•ā

You see, the RV park where we’ve been sheltering shortened the hours that the laundry facility is open, making the laundry room more crowded than it normally would be ūüė¨ which kind of defeats the purpose of social distancing in my opinion. Therefore, I’ve been doing my laundry at Ashton’s place while keeping her company during lunch. I feel that’s safer than using a busy laundry facility filled with germs. Since my daughter lives by herself and is currently working from home until June 1st, she gets a little lonely and enjoys my laundry/lunch dates.

So as Easter was approaching, I decided to use up the last of the wild blueberries in my freezer to make this easy blueberry coffee cake. During Ashton’s Easter visit while enjoying the coffee cake and mimosas, we reminisced about picking blueberries in northern Wisconsin and being awed by the bald eagle family that we’d see either in the trees or hanging on the boat dock.

bald eagle in a tree with wings spread

The eagle was a routine distraction for me in Wisconsin and I was constantly jumping out of the RV to try and capture images and footage. It was a frustrating endeavor, but I did manage to capture a little video on my iPhone.¬† (Video deleted) Ah, distractions while trying to follow a recipe is usually a recipe for disaster. And although I didn’t encounter a disaster per se, there was a little faux pas with the failure to add an ingredient … a very important ingredient … the star of the show ingredient … blueberries. Yep, I made a blueberry coffee cake without the blueberries ūü§™ I blame the eagle!

blueberry coffee cake in a cast iron skillet, picnic

Which is better … non-stick or cast-iron?

Oh well, my little mistake in my RV kitchen served as the perfect opportunity to bake a second coffee cake (WITH blueberries) and do a little experiment. Does the choice of the baking pan make a difference? Is there a pro or con to baking in a non-stick metal pan versus a cast-iron skillet?

Is one brand of all-purpose flour better than another? Yes! I’ve been a fan of King Arthur Flour products long before they started distributing across the country. I used to order their products directly and have them shipped to me, but somewhere along the way, I ended up purchasing a different brand, and this little experiment of mine reminded me that King Arthur Flour is superior. It bakes a fluffier, less dense coffee cake, and personally, I think it’s worth the extra buck or two. (This is not a sponsored post. I’m merely a happy customer.)

Anyway, if you’re looking for a tasty and easy blueberry crumb coffee cake recipe, give this one a try. And don’t forget to add ALL the ingredients. Yep, when you’re making a blueberry coffee cake, don’t forget to add the blueberries.

This summer, I swear, I won’t go out of the RV without my big camera with zoom on my person at all times and hopefully there will be another eagle family for me to photograph … but not while I’m baking ūüėČ

Sometimes you win. Sometimes you learn!

Blueberry Crumb Coffee Cake

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Dry Ingredients for cakeblueberry coffee cake
2 cups all-purpose
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients for cake
1 large egg
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (if using frozen, do not thaw, use frozen)

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, slightly softened and cubed

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. For the cake: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a large measuring cup, whisk together egg and milk then add to dry ingredients. With a spatula or wooden spoon start mixing then add the melted butter. Once all ingredients are incorporated, fold in the blueberries.

Transfer to a greased baking pan (9×9 square non-stick or 10″ cast-iron skillet). Set aside.

For the topping: In a small bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in butter with a fork forming small pea-size crumbles. When all the butter is combined forming a crumbly mixture, top the cake evenly with the crumble, then place the cake into a preheated 375-degree oven for 30-35 minutes. (Do not overbake). Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe by Ingrid

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The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion: The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook
Non-Stick 9-Inch Square Baking Pan with Lid, Set of 2
Lodge 10.25″ Cast Iron Skillet

For the Birds

I’ve discovered traveling by RV adds a whole new dimension to my overall travel experience, and it has exposed me to experiences well beyond my wildest dreams….

Brown Pelican

…. dreams I never imagined. I never thought that traveling to the Texas Gulf Coast would stir a passion within me … a joy I couldn’t have fathomed … the joy of photographing birds. Bird photography!

Roseate SpoonbillThe first time I glimpsed the stunning pink hue of the Roseate Spoonbill had me yelling at Al to stop the truck. We were driving along Fulton Beach Road along the Gulf Coast in Texas when a shimmer of pink in shallow pond water caught my attention. I had never seen such a beautiful, yet weird, bird in my entire life. That was just the beginning of my journey into photographing birds …. the beginning of my interest in birds as a photographic subject.

Turkey VultureIt was during that visit when I became fascinated with all large birds, including the beautiful Turkey Vulture, and yes, I said beautiful. Okay, I’ll admit beautiful wasn’t the first word that came to mind when I began photographing vultures. No, that took time, and over time, an admiration for this unique creature grew, and the more I observed them, the more my admiration grew.

Did you know turkey vultures are very social and don’t kill? Fascinating! I also felt a kindred spirit with the turkey vulture. If you’d like to know more about our similar tune carrying talents, click here.

bird photography

And then there were the cranes I discovered. I think we can all agree, they are magnificent and beautiful birds. I became obsessed with cranes, so much so, that Al and I made a special trip to the International Crane Foundation located in Baraboo, Wisconsin. I was officially a Craniac!

One of my more memorable RV excursions was camping amongst 20,000 roosting sandhill cranes. That was an unbelievable experience and just one of many reasons why I love RVing. It’s the only way to travel in my book. I’ve enjoyed adventures that can only be experienced by RVing. You can read my post about¬†sleeping with sandhill cranes here.

Sandhill Cranes
Sandhill Cranes

Yeah, I never thought I’d develop such a passion for photographing birds, but I find that they make such an interesting subject to photograph that it’s almost impossible for me to pass up the opportunity to make at least a few images …. or maybe a thousand or two when I encounter these entertaining characters.


Wandering Wednesday theme – birds

For this weeks photo inspiration I’ve chosen the prompt birds. Do you enjoy taking photographs of birds?¬† We’d love to see your images. Leave a comment below with a link back to your blog or link back to this post in your blog. Share and connect!

Brown Pelicans

Wandering Wednesday – Ingrid’s Inspirations

Each Wednesday I post a different photo theme as a way for bloggers to share their love of photography and engage with other like minded bloggers. Perhaps this prompt will serve as a little inspiration to pick up the camera in search of a composition or a reason to go through your archives. Whether you shoot with your phone, a DSLR or something in-between, don’t be shy ūü§ó share your photos!

Egyptian Duck

I wrote a post awhile back about the lessons I’ve learned regarding bird photography. If you’d like to see my failures and successes, click here to read that post.


Upcoming prompts – Black & White, Reflections, Sunrise …. get out and shoot or peruse those archives!

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Shhh! It’s a Secret

I was deep in thought as I glanced out the truck window watching the never-ending west Texas landscape pass by. ¬†It’s times like these that my mind wanders and I do my best thinking. ¬†Yes siree, Texas is one big state and a state that has a lot to offer; diverse landscape, fun cities, quaint towns, a Gulf Coast, tasty food, and a variety of weather.¬†¬†I’d say, a little something to please anyone’s interests.

Medina River
Bandera, Texas – Medina River

Along with a few new discoveries made this winter, I found myself revisiting a bunch of my¬†favorite spots. ¬†For me, it’s all about nature and looking at life through the lens of my ospreycamera. ¬†With that said, what I love about Texas may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s fine by me. ¬†How boring and crowded¬†it would be if we all liked the same things.

I put a map together to share with you, my¬†wonderful blog followers, ¬†a few of my special haunts along the Texas coast, but shhh, let’s keep these sites between us.¬† It’ll be¬†our secret¬†¬†ūüėÉ ¬†After all, we wouldn’t want the world discovering this unassuming area or encroach on my birds. ¬†Then it just wouldn’t be the same.

Listen up!

Alright, I’ll admit most of the sites noted on the map aren’t exactly secret, especially during the peak tourist months in summer or¬†those popular¬†holiday breaks, but even then, not everyone knows where to¬†find these magnificent birds.¬† But I do!whooping crane

Now don’t go getting mad at me if there aren’t any birds at the noted sites. ¬†My feathered friends do have wings and a mind of their own. ¬†And they’re really bad about birdschecking in with me – almost as bad as my children!

Obviously, there’s a bunch of things I left off the map. ¬†I really could’ve added another dozen markers, but decided to¬†focus on the¬†sites I personally have a tendency to frequent the most.¬† I’m never at a loss of things to do around here and make new discoveries all the time.

With a little time and exploration along the Texas Gulf Coast, I have no doubt that you too will¬†discover your own favorite spots¬†– spots¬†I might even be¬†unaware of – in which case, you’ll be obligated to share!

After spending two months enjoying the Texas Gulf Coast, it was time for us to hit the road and return to the desert southwest.  Crossing west Texas can seem never-ending, Texas Longhornbut with a little foresight and armed with helpful information about hidden gems, the drive can be bearable and maybe even enjoyable.

Before we can get to west Texas, we’ll need to get to Interstate 10. ¬†The last several times we’ve driven through this part of Texas, affectionately called the hill country, we’ve always included a stop in San Antonio. ¬†Wanting to change things up a bit¬†and avoid the big city, we came up with an alternate route.

Besides, driving through San Antonio with an RV is an adventure unto itself, and not always a pleasant one especially when the GPS and wife are at odds. ¬†Poor Al ūüėę

Texas Hill Country
Spring in the Texas Hill Country – adorable!

Thanks to a recommendation from a wonderful blog follower/friend, we discovered the quaint little town of Bandera, Texas, which is located northwest of San Antonio and south of the town of Kerrville and Interstate 10.

sleeping duckTalk about a great place to overnight and avoid traveling through San Antonio.

Next year, I think we’ll stay here longer and explore the town of Bandera. One night was definitely¬†not enough.¬† Our RV park neighbor mentioned a¬†tasty place for breakfast located within walking distance from the RV park that piqued Al’s interest.

I remained smitten with all the birds along the river and if the weather prediction for west Texas had been better, we absolutely would’ve hung around another day or two. ¬†But with impending wind and rain in the forecast, we felt it best to keep on rolling west. ¬†Yep, it’s crucial to keep an eye out for that Texas weather, especially high winds that can cause brown out conditions or spur up tornadoes.

Eygyptian Goose
Egyptian Goose checking on her eggs

So where did we stay for our overnight in Bandera, Texas?  On the trip down to Rockport, we stayed at the Skyline Ranch RV Park, and on our return to Arizona we stayed in town at the Pioneer River Resort.  Both places are located along the Medina River, but Pioneer is located right in town while Skyline is a few miles out of town.  You can count on being packed in pretty tight at either RV park.

Bandera Texas RV Park
Pioneer River Resort, Bandera, Texas
Bandera Texas
Bandera Community Park along the Medina River. Pioneer River RV Park can be seen in the far distance on left. Sits on the other side of the highway. Easy walk for me to spend time with these guys.
Bandera RV Park
Skyline Ranch RV Park – photo taken as I was walking back from the river.
Skyline RV Park
At Skyline Ranch RV Park it’s all about the deer. The Axis deer are so cute with their spots.

We really enjoyed both RV Parks and it would be a toss up as to which one I’d recommend. ¬†Guess it boils down to whether one prefers staying in town or hanging in the country.

This gazebo reminded me of the ‘Gilmore Girls’

On that note, I think I’ll let the photographs do the rest of the talking and show you what makes Texas special¬†to me ….

Medina River
Bandera, Texas РMedina River Рcommunity park.  White momma duck sitting on her nest.
axis deer
Axis deer – Bandera, Texas

Egyptian goose

Medina River







Spring is in the air!









great blue heron roosting site
Now that’s a mouth full!
roseate spoonbill
roseate spoonbill
Charlies Pasture
Interesting trails!
Life along the coast!









birding center






Always something interesting to see!
















roseate spoonbills
Until we meet again, my pink beauties!

Adios Texas, until next time…. and yes there absolutely will be a next time!

VIAIR 300P Portable Compressor

the Next EXIT 2017


Things to do in Rockport

After a fantastic two month stay along the Texas Gulf Coast, we’ve hitched up and started our journey back to the desert.¬† I love having the¬†freedom to split¬†our time between two such diverse places; the Texas Gulf Coast and the Arizona¬†desert. I’m¬†grateful I don’t have to pick one or the other because each place offers something special and unique.

St. Charles Bay
Sunrise over St. Charles Bay, Texas

First, let’s talk about the water.¬† Gosh, what’s not to like about water, beaches,¬†and sunsets, or in my case, sunrises!¬† All this water is the main attraction and the reason folks year round flock to the Rockport¬†area.

Copano Bay
Rockport is popular with anglers

Rockport BeachYou won’t find much of a beach scene around Rockport/Fulton, but it is an anglers delight.¬† For miles of sandy beach, you’ll want to visit Mustang Island.¬† With that said,¬†there is¬†a small stretch of sandy beach to enjoy at the ¬†Rockport Beach.

The Rockport Beach is a one mile long strip of land with sandy beach on one side of the road and a¬†migratory¬†bird area¬†on the other side.¬† This is a fee use area and you’ll¬†need to leave pooch at home.

There’s a small¬†area roped off¬†so nesting birds won’t be disturbed, making this a worthwhile stop for¬†birders and photographers.¬† It’s also the perfect place to get in a little kayaking and paddle around an island¬†to view¬†nesting migratory birds.great blue heron

Although summer is considered peak tourist season, you’ll find plenty of snowbirds in the winter hanging¬†around and calling themselves winter Texans…. us included.

Having friends over to our place.

Because this is such a popular place to escape the harsher weather to the north, you never know who you’ll run into around here.¬† Our friends, Faye and Dave, were wintering on Mustang Island, an easy one-hour drive away from our camp and we¬†enjoyed a few get togethers with this entertaining couple.¬† We also managed to squeeze in a few other social engagements.

And then a get together at their place on Mustang Island.  Faye and Dave on the left.  Al and me on the right

This was our fourth¬†year spending January¬†in this part of Texas¬†and our first time spending February.¬† Thus, I’ve had¬†time¬†to¬†put a dent in¬†this list –¬† 51 things to do near Rockport.

Fulton, TexasRockport/Fulton are quaint, small town communities where everyone waves.¬† You won’t find any high-rise condos around here, although it is a very popular spot for folks from the big cities of San Antonio, Austin, and Houston to own second homes.¬† There’s also no shortage of RV Parks.

roseateThe original draw for us four years ago to visit the Texas Gulf Coast was for Al to meet up with his buddy and do manly things with manly men ūüėȬ† Little did I realize during that first visit, how I’d come to embrace and relish our visits to the Texas Gulf Coast.

And now it’s a toss-up as to¬†which one of us looks more forward to these visits.¬† Thankfully it doesn’t matter considering we’re in full agreement¬†that we’ll continue returning until it no longer fits.

Fishing and hunting is extremely popular round these parts.  We usually roll into town sometime during the last week in December which happens to be duck season.

duck hunting
Duck hunters know how to treat their dogs. Dog gets its own seat, wears a life vest and ear protection.
One hunter says to the other, can I borrow …. truck yes, wife maybe, dog never!

The airboats can be heard going out every morning starting around 5:30 a.m.  Once the Christmas/New Year holiday week is over, the morning noise lightens up during the oyster boatweekday but continues in a steady stream on weekends.  By the end of January, duck season is over and the only airboats going out are anglers and they tend to go out at a much more reasonable hour.

The St. Charles Bay can be rather shallow which is why airboats are so popular.  But during certain tides, the sight of oyster boats are common.  Oyster fishing is huge business around here and the first weekend in March is the Oyster Festival.

A lot of anglers fish from shore or don chest waders and fish while standing in the water.  There are public duck blinds for anyone to use on a first come basis for duck hunting during the season.

duck hunting
These two hunters are wading out to a public blind.  St. Charles Bay, Lamar, Texas.  Oyster boats in the distance.
whooping cranes
There’s a public duck blind in the water above the left crane and arrow sign

Texans love their outdoor recreation.  Allow me to share my winter Texas neighborhood along with the diverse activities taking place within relative close proximity to one another.  AND everyone gets along, respecting recreational choice.

I alternate between walking and riding my bike around the neighborhood.  Envision me having a Julia Roberts moment Рa scene from the movie Eat, Pray, Love.  There I am Light at the end of the tunnelriding my three speed bicycle with a cute basket on the front (gotta have the basket, you know), camera slung across my body. As I pedal slowly, I glide down the tree-lined road.

My long flowing hair blows gently in the breeze (in reality the¬†uncontrollable curly¬†frizz is tightly bound and tucked under a cap¬†in a battle against the extreme humidity and gusting winds ūüėĖ).¬† I take in the sights and wave to passerby’s.¬† As I exit the trees, I’m greeted by the expanse of the bay in the distance.¬† Further down 8th Street, I see several cars parked along the road.¬† The endangered whooping cranes can be seen in the field¬†along with my favorite Brahma calf and a slew of other birds can be seen¬†mingling¬†near a¬†pond.Texas Gulf CoastOf course, I too stop and start taking photographs (duh! like I’d pass up a chance to work that shutter).¬† Folks from around the country and the world visit this part of Texas for the birding.¬† Seeing¬†a family of¬†endangered whooping cranes is a rare and special treat.

Kayaking anyone? He launches at the end of 12th St. and Lamar Beach Road
Truck guy launches kayak at the end of 12th St. and Lamar Beach Road while whooping crane family looks on.  These birds are used to the flurry of activity, but they still stay far away Р600mm zoom and crop
A little later and you can see the green kayak in the water
A little later, you can see the green kayak in the water

There’s several of us lined up along the fence taking photographs of the whooping cranes.¬† Locals and visitors a like engage in idle chit-chat.¬† The loud boom, boom, bang, bang in the distance has a visitor questioning what the noise was. I, considered a winter local, along with another local dweller, exclaim nonchalantly, “Oh, those are the duck hunters in that blind out in the bay”.¬† With that said, we were back to our photo taking and chit-chatting about the birds.Rockport Texas

After snapping the camera’s shutter one too many times, I continue my bike ride along Lamar Beach Road. ¬†I ride¬†by several fishermen enjoying the day.¬† A kayaker in the bay was off paddling¬†while the duck hunters were gathering up¬†their decoys.¬† I¬†roll by¬†pedestrians and¬†other bikers and regardless of who I pass, hellos and waves¬†are exchanged as if we know one another.

Pelicans act like begging dogs at the fish cleaning station at Goose Island State Park.

A short time later, I’m pedaling around Goose Island State Park.¬† Although the shore birding around the park can be hit¬†or miss, I can always count on pelicans to entertain me, especially if there’s someone cleaning fish at the cleaning station.

Pelican eating fish
Who needs a human when I can catch my own! ISO 100 F4.0 1/1000  (600mm)
Boat & RV left side-This is our 82 yr old neighbor who is an avid fisherman. He launches, docks, does everything himself and never gets his feet wet! Winters here and spends summers in Montana
Boat & RV left side-This is our 82 yr old neighbor who is an avid fisherman. He launches, docks, does everything himself and never gets his feet wet! He winters here and spends summers in Montana.

Let’s see, so far I’ve biked around the neighborhood.¬† I’ve taken hundreds, actually more like thousands, of bird photographs.¬† I’ve¬†also enjoyed photographing interesting sights and¬†amazing landscapes.

foggy morning
a foggy morning along the coast had me out of the RV by 7:00 a.m.
spider web
a foggy morning provided mystery and interest
marinas offer tons of photographic material – lots of interesting things to see

I can’t forget to mention, a visit to¬†a marina shouldn’t be missed.¬† There’s so much great blue heroncharacter and intrigue to see.¬† Or how about doing a little shopping¬†at Rockport’s historic downtown or touring an art gallery or two. This gal always manages to work in¬†a few¬†days of frivolous shopping.

On a rainy day, I get a kick out of¬†visiting gift shops and checking out the crazy souvenirs. Who thinks up these things, and who buys it? ūüėȬ† Oops – guilty!

Here’s a write-up I did last year sharing a few more¬†sites like the Fulton Mansion.seashells

Hmm, I¬†might write up one¬†more post about the Texas Gulf Coast and then we need to move on.¬† Ah yes, I already miss her…. miss the water and the birds and look forward to¬†returning at the end of the year.¬† But the desert is calling.¬† The desert in bloom can’t be missed!Texas Gulf Coast

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Birding Corpus Christi and the Coastal Bend: More Than 75 Prime Birding Sites (Birding Series)

Love is in the Air

Valentine’s Day … a day for love.¬†¬†Love is in the air here along the¬†Texas Gulf Coast and it hasn’t eluded me.¬† I have a new love in my life whom I find totally¬†irresistible and adorable.¬† Oh, not to worry, I haven’t replaced Al …. yet ūüėÜ

First, I’ve been thoroughly entertained by observing the Great Blue Herons in the neighborhood.¬† They have been hard at work building their nests.

roosting grounds
I love watching this couple build their nest together.
Great Blue Heron
The male retrieves the building materials and together they build their nest
Great Blue Heron
Then the female works on fine tuning the nest – making it just right

And while it seems the Great Blue Herons have already partnered up, some of the other shore birds are still in the courting stage.

roseate spoonbill
There was a lot of vying for attention going on in this group
This cute Grebe couple appeared to be discussing lunch options
cormorants sitting in silence – awkward ūüėÜ
Coot, they are a hoot
shovel ducks
shovel ducks –¬†out for an afternoon paddle together
skimmers taking a break – they’ve decided to see other birds
roseate spoonbill
roseate spoonbills having fun on the pier – first date, going well
singles club

AND now for the latest love in my life ……

brahma bull
kiss me now!

I am in love with this little brahma calf.¬† Isn’t he the cutest?¬† So adorable and irresistible. Think Al will notice the elephant brahma in the room.

brahma bull
let’s play!
We love our daily visits.  While his cousins play with each other (in the background), Bammi and I visit.
Can I come home with you?

This is one time, Al is grateful we don’t own acreage.¬† Unfortunately, I’ll be saying goodbye to¬†Bammi the Brahma soon.¬† I have high hopes for this little stud muffin – a world where he never hears the word hamburger.

Don’t leave me … it is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all!

Wishing you all a very Happy Valentines Day … a¬†day filled with love and joy.¬† My romantic husband has already¬†surprised me with my favorite chocolates, a single red rose,¬†and will be taking me out to lunch – a lovely seafood lunch.¬† I’ll pass on the hamburger, thank you!

great blue heron
Watching and waiting for her man to return!

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Exquisite and Graceful

This is our fourth winter RVing along the Texas Gulf Coast, and it has not disappointed. The weather has been enjoyable this year with no mention of a¬†polar vortex,¬†thank goodness. With that said, I’m taking full advantage of getting out of the RV everyday to commune with my feathered friends.Shore birds

I don’t consider myself a birder, but merely, someone who admires birds, especially shore birds. ¬†My fascination with these birds was piqued during that very first visit to the Gulf of Mexico. ¬†I’ve always enjoyed wildlife photography, but bird photography was a new game. ¬†It challenged me then, and continues to challenge me now.

Family of whooping cranes - mom, dad, juvenile
Family of whooping cranes – mom, dad, juvenile

I always look forward to our return trips to Texas to observe and photograph the exquisite and graceful whooping crane, an endangered species who’s numbers were in the teens back in the 1940’s and are now in the 500+ range. ¬†Habitat and poaching still threaten these magnificent birds, but efforts are¬†being made by various organizations to help these cranes.

Whooping Cranes - endangered
A family of endangered whooping Cranes

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this beautiful pink beauty … the roseate spoonbill. Her deep pink is truly stunning. Actually, it’s the male of the species that sports the deepest of the hue. ¬†This is one dude who knows how to wear pink well!roseata spoonbil

However, I find the egret embodies a certain grace and elegance.  Her snowy white plumage, long black legs, and bright yellow feet have me comparing her to a princess. He or she?  In the case of the egret, both sexes are bright white and thus difficult to decipher.egret

Tri-colored HeronTri-colored Herons feel equally as regal and exude a unique level of gracefulness. Their grayish blue coloring with patches of deep purple is truly stunning.

Ah, then there are the pelicans … oh those pelicans. What can I say about these whimsical creatures?

When in-flight they exhibit a grace comparable to the whooping crane, but when they plunge into the water fishing for dinner, well let’s just say, the sight is anything but graceful and is downright comical.

I’m still trying to capture a video of a pelican diving for fish, but am always in the midst of laughing and fail to point the camera in the right direction. ¬†I’ll keep working on that!

pelican yoga!
pelican yoga!

Overall, I find pelicans to be rather entertaining and full of character and when they aren’t flying, they exhibit absolutely no grace what so ever.pelicans

I’ve got another month hanging along the Texas Gulf Coast with my feathered friends. ¬†I hope to capture more photographs of these amazing shore birds, and in the process, work on getting in my exercise steps ūüėé

Birding Corpus Christi and the Coastal Bend: More Than 75 Prime Birding Sites (Birding Series)

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Wordless Wednesday

I took a¬†lot of photographs last month and while going through them, I realized it really is¬†true; a picture is worth a thousand words.¬† Here’s a bunch of reasons why we enjoy visiting the Texas Gulf Coast…..Rockport

sandhill cranes
sandhill cranes


Getting ready to find some babe's - "Hey Joe, do I have bad breath?" "Joe, smell my armpit"
Getting ready to find some babe’s – “Hey Joe, do I have bad breath?” “Joe, smell my armpit”
Morning yoga - proud warrior
Pelicans make me smile. Morning yoga – proud warrior pose
downward dog
downward dog
running into like minded folks!
Running into like minded folks! Although my equipment doesn’t come close, we all share a passion for photography and the birds.
Hearing their wings as they flew over me was exhilarating. I'm ok with the fact that I didn't achieve good focus. They were moving over me relatively fast and I got a little jittery excited. Taken at 300mm and almost no cropping.
Hearing the wings of this whooping crane and sandhill crane as they flew over me was exhilarating. I’m ok with the fact that I didn’t achieve good focus. They were moving over me relatively fast and I got a little jittery and excited. Taken at 300mm w/minimal crop.








Corpus Christi, Texas
Corpus Christi, Texas


The beginning of a new day!
The beginning of a new day!



Vibrant Pink Beauty

When traveling by RV, weather always plays an import role, and flexibility is the name of the game.  After all, the number one priority is arriving at our next destination safely.roseate spoonbill

We pulled out of Rockport, Texas, early Sunday morning and arrived at the Elks Lodge in San Antonio, Texas, three hours later.¬† The original plan was to spend only one night here, and continue our trek toward Phoenix, Arizona, but with high wind predictions in west Texas¬†along Interstate 10, we’ve decided to sit tight for another night¬†or two.¬† bird photography

We’ve been to San Antonio several times and really enjoy the city, but we probably won’t be venturing out and about too much which has given me the perfect opportunity to go through my hundreds (more like thousands) of photographs I took over the past month.Birding

I don’t think I’ll ever get bored running into the vibrant pink of the roseate spoonbill.¬† I don’t know what it is about these birds that is so intriguing.¬† Could it be those gorgeous pink feathers?¬† Or maybe it’s their entertaining personality.Birding

I’ve been lucky to have enjoyed some¬†rather close encounters with these pink beauties and¬†I swear they like being photographed.¬† Or at least, they don’t mind my presence.Bird photography

Hope you enjoy these photographs of this vibrant and vivacious bird as much as I do.Birding



Roseate Spoonbill

Birding2 247

Third Times a Charm

Today is our last day along the Texas Gulf Coast.¬† We’ll be working our way back to Phoenix Sunday morning, and although we did contemplate extending our stay, the pull of appointments, seeing our children, and the anticipation of the desert blooming¬†can’t be¬†ignored.¬† This was our third January camped near Rockport, Texas, and was our best visit yet.¬† Perhaps the saying third times a charm is true, because¬†this visit¬†certainly was a charmer.

a birders delight!
a birders delight!

Last year’s visit found us dealing with the Polar Vortex meaning lots of cold, wet weather.¬† I also contracted pink eye aka conjunctivitis which put a real damper on my photography.¬† This year with all the talk of El Nino along with the fall flooding in Texas, Al and I actually thought about canceling this trip to the coast, but since we already had the RV park reservation lined up, as well as¬†friends waiting for us, we hit the road and arrived New Year’s Eve.¬† And boy, am I ever glad we decided not to cancel.

This kind of water is a kayakers dream
This kind of water is a kayakers dream

Al and his buddy had a fun month of taking the boat out into the St. Charles Bay every morning doing what guys do best; hunt, fish and BS.¬† I had a fantastic time playing with my camera(s) but when new neighbors pulled in next door my fun was taken to another level.¬† During a casual get to know the neighbor conversation, Mary Ann informed me she enjoys photography.¬† Well, she didn’t have to tell me twice.¬† Next thing she knew,¬†I was getting her out of bed early, loading her in the truck, and¬†sharing all my favorite (and not so favorite) photography spots with her.

The vibrant pink of the rosette spoonbill is easy to spot.
The vibrant pink of the rosette spoonbill is easy to spot.

Our first full-day outing was up to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.  I skipped a trip here last year because of my eye illness, and therefore, I was looking forward to a visit this go around.  And just like my first visit, I was somewhat disappointed with the refuge.Aransas Wildlife Refuge

There were very few birds to be seen with the exception of the vultures, but¬†we did spot a javelina in the far, far distance.¬† We even¬†saw one cross the road, but quickly disappear into the brush.¬† Looking at the photo, I do wonder if this is a hog and not a javelina.¬† Regardless, I’m telling my friend, Mona Liza, I finally saw my Javelina ūüėÜ

Took my digital zoom to spot that javelina or is it a hog?
it took my digital zoom to spot that javelina or could that be a hog?

VultureThe showing of birds at the refuge was poor, and several trails¬†/ viewing¬†overlooks were closed.¬† I don’t think I could honestly recommend going out-of-the-way to visit the Aransas NWR.¬† If you’re in the area and interested in a picnic outing, then by all means, but¬†if you’re looking for a well maintained, wildlife rich place, this isn’t it.

Next…. I always enjoy a visit to Mustang Island and the town of Port Aransas.¬† I cruised the island twice by myself and once with¬†Mary Ann.¬† Commutes via ferry never get old, and are a fond addition to a day of adventure.

This is the boardwalk at the birding center. The woman is carrying a newborn baby. Look in the water to her right. Mr. Alligator is eyeing her.
This is the boardwalk at the birding center. The woman is carrying a newborn baby. Look in the water to her right. Mr. Alligator is eyeing her. He was hungry that morning and on the move.

In the town of Port A (aka Port Aransas) a stop at the Leonabella Turnbull Birding Center and stroll at Charlie’s Pasture is always worthwhile.¬† Then there’s driving on the beach and sharing lunch with feathered friends.¬† Seagulls can always be counted on for a little entertainment.Seagulls

It wasn’t long before I discovered my partner in crime (Mary Ann) was adept at spotting those vibrant pink beauties; the roseate spoonbill.¬† I can never seem to¬†take enough photos of these unique characters.roseate spoonbill

But then I do love the vibrant white of the egret ….. How about a little vibrant pink and white together with a touch of striking yellow?¬† Aren’t these two¬†beautiful?birding

The highlight of my visit to the Texas Gulf Coast was the morning¬†Al’s friend, Dennis, took me out¬†for a¬†boat ride for the specific purpose of photography.¬† I just can’t thank¬†him enough for two hours of sheer perfection and joy.¬† We launched the tiny vessel twenty minutes before sunrise.¬† It was a cold 32 degree morning¬†(one of the coldest all month) with no wind and clear skies.¬† He thought for sure I was going to cancel due to the cold.¬† Not a chance!¬† I couldn’t wait to get out on the water.St. Charles Bay

I wore my winter coat¬†with one of¬†Al’s camo coats over it along with earmuffs, camo hat, warm gloves, and sweatpants tucked into rubber rain boots.¬† Sorry folks, no photo of this fashionista.¬† I was super comfy and with no wind, it was a perfect morning.

Can you see the two whooping cranes?
Can you spot the two whooping cranes?

As we slowly cruised the waters, the sun rose.  We kept an eye on the shoreline in search of wildlife, and from time to time, we could hear the familiar call of cranes.

Once we spotted the cranes, the boat motor was turned off, and we floated toward shore.  I carefully stepped on the front of the boat steadying myself and raised my camera up over my head as high as my five foot four frame would allow.  This is one time I was grateful my Panasonic FZ200 had a flip out monitor.

The three front sandhills are getting ready to fly.... camera ready.
The front sandhills are getting ready to fly…. camera ready.
And they're off
And they’re off

I was thrilled to see not only the endangered whooping cranes, but a smorgasbord of coastal birds;  egrets, sandhill cranes, killdeer and those lovely pink roseate spoonbills.  I was tickled pink with delight and this was by far the highlight of my visit to the Texas Gulf Coast.coastal birds

I would be remiss if I didn’t share the highlight of Dennis’ morning.¬† While I was¬†clicking away, he was¬†drinking his thermos of hot coffee and enjoying the scenery around him¬†and that’s when¬†he spotted a dolphin.¬† In a whispering tone, he informed me of the dolphin.

Center right - dolphin feeding
Center right – dolphin feeding

When I¬†turned around to look out over the water, there was a sudden flurry of activity as the dolphin was feeding.¬† Dennis had never seen this before and was as giddy as a school child…. or as giddy as me seeing¬†the wonderful variety¬†birds.

He and I both enjoyed our morning out on the water.  My boat ride ended with a photo of this trio.Birding

Yes, this was one fun month filled with a bunch of wonderful surprises.¬† Al and I are already looking forward to returning next January, and who knows, we may even extend our stay.¬† The desert or the coast?¬† I’m glad we can split our time between the two, because I don’t think I could pick.¬† Let the tug of war commence!

We're on the move!
We’re on the move!


Perils of a bad neighbor!

One of the things we rarely worry about these days are neighbors.  Having a mobile lifestyle means everything is temporary including the folks in the RV site next door, which does have its pluses and minuses.   We enjoyed great neighbors at the RV Park in Phoenix this past fall, and we lucked out parking next to equally fun neighbors for the month of January here in Rockport, Texas.Copano Bay

A recent visit to my favorite birding center reminded me that not everyone or everything is as fortunate.¬† We’ve all heard stories about feuding neighbors, but what about living next door to a Hannibal Lector?¬† I’d imagine that to¬†be scary AND dangerous.¬† Just ask Connie the Common Gallinule.¬† There she was, strolling the neighborhood¬†in search of¬†veggies,¬†fish, or whatever when she saw movement in the water.


Common Gallinule
He’s got his eye on the prize!

AlligatorInitially she didn’t seem concerned, and¬†continued about her business of foraging the neighborhood for food.¬† I stood on the boardwalk watching as Mr. Alligator slowly crawled out of the watering inching his way closer to Connie.¬† Concerned I was going to watch the circle of life unfold in front of me, my heart¬†started beating as I softly said out loud, “run, little birdie, run”.

Common Gallinule

Fortunately, she caught on to¬†Hannibal Alligator and high tailed it outta there.¬† A couple of weeks ago, another roosting neighbor wasn’t so lucky.¬† A favorite with all the local photographers was this precious beauty.

I took this photo last year of everyone's favorite tri-colored heron
I took this photo last year of everyone’s favorite tri-colored heron

This sweet Tri-colored Heron liked to stroll the waters near the boardwalk.¬† She wasn’t bothered by all the camera clicking and attention¬†from the observers and some even said she¬†almost seemed¬†tame.¬† She was the perfect model and beloved by¬†all the photographers, several of which¬†witnessed her¬†untimely ending.¬† Such are the perils of living next door to a bad neighbor.¬† Is he bad, or merely hungry?¬† He looks pretty badass to me AND hungry!Alligator


A sad loss to this diverse neighborhood as Hannibal turned¬†sweet Tri¬†into an appetizer.¬† I’m glad I wasn’t there to see it.¬† The thought still bothers me.¬† The two¬†alligators that live here at the birding center were rather active during my hour-long visit¬†Monday morning.

Resting and watching
Resting and watching

A¬†year ago¬†I visited the Leonabella Turnbull birding center several times in the month of December (2014).¬† This year I visited mid-January (2016) and I noticed fewer birds.¬† Was it the time of year or¬†were Boots and Bags to blame? (and yes, that’s what the locals named the alligators)

black-crowned night heron keeping an eye on Boots and Bags
Green Heron keeping an eye on Boots and Bags

Although my visit to the birding center didn’t¬†provide the photographic birding experience I had hoped for, it¬†was an interesting visit none the less ……. and I returned home in one piece with all my body parts¬†AND my boots and bag¬†ūüôā