Happy Hour (s)

I’m sitting in a new location looking out my rear window enjoying a great view, and although I’m looking forward to exploring my new surroundings, there’s a part of me that’s sad.  Normally I’m ready to move on to a new location after a 2 to 4 week stay in any one spot, but not in this case.Rockport Fulton Texas

Ok, maybe I was ready to change the location of the RV, but I wasn’t ready to leave the area.  Perhaps its my newfound infatuation with the endangered whooping cranes.  Maybe its the serene sunrises or sunsets.RVingHappy hourOr maybe it was a culmination of things that lead to one heck of a good time.

The beauty of staying in one location for a month offers us the ability to scope out local shops, local eateries, and make connections with fellow RVer’s and bloggers.

Al and I found ourselves returning to Moon Dog Seaside Eatery several times during our stay and enjoyed introducing new friends to this fine establishment.  Great food, $2.50 margaritas during happy hour, a table near the water watching dolphins swim by, and Fido is welcome…..worth at least one visit.

So speaking of happy hour and fellow bloggers, when Donna and I realized we were camped just down the road from each other, it didn’t take long for us to set up a time to meet at Moon Dogs.  It was fun meeting Donna and her husband Dennis for drinks at my favorite hole in the wall joint.  Small world sometimes…..turns out, not only did Al and Donna grow up in neighboring small towns in Illinois, they actually dated in high school.  Unfortunately, Donna didn’t dish any dirt from those high school years….perhaps more alcohol was needed 😆Moondog Seaside Eatery

Fun times and the fun continued…. The next day, Al and I were out riding our bikes around the neighborhood.  Another couple were riding their bikes in the opposite direction (with the ladies in the lead of course).  As we approached each other, our pedaling slowed, glances were met….. “Are you Faye?”  “Yes, are you Ingrid?”  Sounds like it’s time for happy hour at Moon Dogs again.  The four of us had a great time sitting outside watching the fishing boats, the birds, exchanging tales, and enjoying good food and drinks.  I know our paths are bound to cross again as we’ll be traveling around to similar locations.

happy hour
Al, Faye, Ingrid, Dave

Between the birding, the exploring, the socializing, the eating, and the drinking we had a fabulous month in Rockport, Texas.  I think I’ll let my photos do the rest of the talking…..don't mess with Texas

whooping crane

I loved tracking down the endangered whooping crane and found myself observing these beauties at every opportunity that presented itself.  To hear their unique sound click on this short you tube video;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTWOnLst0-4&feature=youtu.beBlack Bellied Whistling Duck

Snapping a photo of the Black Bellied Whistling Ducks in flight was a treat.  The Pintail ducks are especially pretty.

pintail ducks
pintail ducks

And then

Heron & Egrets
Great Blue Heron & Great Egret

there were the various Herons and Egrets…….

great egret
great egret

The Long Billed Curlew and Cormorant were a treat…….

As were the Seagulls and Pelicans…..

Turkeys, Vultures, and Spoonbills….oh my!

But my favorite were the cranes.  I was duly entertained by the sandhill cranes and whooping cranes and can’t wait to return to this part of Texas next winter to revisit these magnificent birds.  Farewell Gulf Coast – until we meet again!

Sandhill crane
Sandhill Cranes
whooping cranes
whooping cranes – mother, father, child

whooping crane
whooping crane
Bushnell Powerview 16×32 Compact Folding Roof Prism BinocularNational Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, Sixth Edition

Advertisements

51 Things to Do

Last Tuesday…..

As another ‘polar’ vortex makes its way south to the Texas Gulf Coast, hubby and I stay nestled inside our 250 square foot home on wheels.  With plenty of propane, electric, and a couple of layers of clothing, we stay toasty warm as the high winds rustle the trees and rock the rig.Rockport Texas

As much as the swaying trees and limbs would occasionally make me nervous, I was glad to be surrounded by the mature grove of oak trees breaking the wind.  This is when I got to thinking more about these unusual oak trees.whoopers1,000 year old tree

I don’t know about you, but when I envision a coastal town I see beaches, palm trees, multi-colored houses, high rise condos, and quaint shops in a beach town setting.  Rockport, Texas, is a combination of all that……well not exactly; no high rise condos, very little beach, and instead of palm trees the area boasts an abundance of wind swept oak trees.  Oh, there’s the occasional palm tree here and there, but it’s all about the oak trees.

When we turned off Highway 35 to get to our RV Park I was surprised by the trees.  The above photo is the road that leads to Goose Island State Park as well as Hidden Oaks RV Park….. pretty, but a little nerve wracking when driving or pulling a high clearance vehicle.

sandhill cranes

Usually when folks talk about Rockport they’re quite often referring to the area which is technically more than one town; the town of Rockport, Texas, with a population slightly under 9,000 and the town of Fulton hovering around 1,600.  The dividing line between these two communities is somewhat blurred as one town blends into the other.  Therefore, it’s common for one to refer to the area as Rockport – Fulton or just Rockport, but to confuse you even further Goose Island State Park is actually located in the town of Lamar which is just across the Copano Bay with a population of around 600 but still referred to as ‘Rockport’.Hidden Oaks RV

I never tire of riding my bike or walking around this neighborhood in the town of Lamar, Texas.  The trees and vegetation are dense. The only evidence of the presence of any homes are the driveways leading into the grove of trees. It isn’t uncommon for me to startle deer, birds, or other wildlife as I meander down the roads. The occasional clearings give the cranes room to land.boondocking This particular road (12th Street) ends near the shore of the St. Charles Bay, and also takes you to an oak tree reportedly over 1,000 years old.  Aptly titled the “Big Tree”, this mature oak tree measures 11 feet (3.41 meters) across the trunk, 44 feet tall (13.4 meters), 35 feet around (10.71 meters), and 89 feet across the crown (27.1 meters).

oldest oak tree

wind swept oak trees

The fence was put around the tree to keep people from walking near the base of the tree thus compacting the roots which makes it hard for the tree to get water.  Visiting the Big Tree is listed among one of 51 things to do in Rockport.Lamar cemetary

Visiting the Lamar cemetery is also listed as a ‘thing to do’ especially for history buffs; burials from Confederate Army soldiers, WWI soldiers, as well as other’s dating back 150 years. Even in the cemetery the oak trees are a feature adding a sense of mystery and character.whooping cranes

whooping crane

During storms and high winds, the trees act as shelter for a sorts of wildlife perhaps even the whooping cranes.whooping cranes

So let’s see…… we’ve visited the Big Tree, stopped at the Lamar Cemetery, and saw the whooping cranes; 3 down, 48 left of the 51 Things to do in Rockport.  Hmm, doubt I’ll whittle down that list since our time in Rockport is coming to an end.Rockport

We’ll be hitting the road and one of our stops will be Fredericksburg, Texas.  Any recommendations on places to camp or things to do in the area would be welcome.  Either comment here or email me at livelaughrv@hotmail.com   Thanks and I can’t wait to be in better Verizon territory.  This intermittent connectivity is driving me crazy!

Pretty in Pink

pink birdsUpon check in at our RV Park here in Rockport, Texas, I asked the gal checking us in about things to see and do in the area.  She very quickly responded, “Driving up and down Fulton Beach Road is a favorite pastime with many”.  I found this response to be a little strange and somewhat unexpected.  That sounds more like something bored teenagers would do; cruising the streets in their souped up cars.

However, curiosity got the better of me.  The first thing the next morning I hop in the truck and go cruising up and down Fulton Beach Road.  The little fishing town of Fulton, Texas, is a harbor town with a population hovering around 1,600.  There’s no long beach to walk but there is plenty to see.  First time through I’ll admit I didn’t ‘get it’.pretty in pink

I had to really slow down and look.  I even parked the truck and walked here and there.  That’s when I noticed the hidden ponds with unique birds, the wind-swept oak trees, the beautiful houses, and the fact everyone waves at one another.  This is a place to take things slow, enjoy the surroundings, and just be.

During one sunny, beautiful morning while driving slowly down Fulton Beach Road on my way to the fish market, I spotted something pink in one of the ponds.  I quickly pulled over, grabbed the camera, and jumped out of the truck.  I knew this wasn’t a pink flamingo.  This unusual bird was feeding in the shallow water swishing it’s spoon-shaped bill back and forth.  I saw some of these guys at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge but they were so far away all I was really able to grasp was their brilliant pink color.

pretty in pinkIt’s pink feathers are absolutely gorgeous, but the face….I’ll call it unique.

I was busy snapping away when a lady on her morning walk stopped and said, “Oh, you found a roseate spoonbill.  This one is a little early.  They usually don’t show up until about 10:00”.  I make a mental note of that tidbit.

I try and get a little closer.  I spend a good fifteen minutes watching this interesting bird before I drag myself away.  Oh, did I forget to mention, I had ventured onto private property in an attempt to get closer and thus did not wish to over stay my welcome.  Had it not been for the ‘no trespassing’ sign clearly I would have stayed for the next hour in hopes of capturing those pink wings spread in flight.pink feathered birdsUpon my return to the RV the first task at hand is to Google roseate spoonbill. Roseate spoonbills grow to a height of 32 inches (81 cm) with an average wingspan of 50 inches (127 cm).  They eat primarily small fish and crustaceans and are found throughout the Gulf of Mexico coastline.  Roseate spoonbills are silent and often solitary when they feed.  That could explain why this one was alone.roseate spoonbill

Like many other bird species with beautiful plumage they were nearly hunted to extinction during the 1800’s.  Their striking pink feathers were popular adornments on women’s hats and fans.  Today’s threats come as a result of habitat loss.roseate spoonbill

I was so excited to capture a few shots of this pink beauty….. I love that pink body.  Some say the pink is a result of all the shrimp it digests, others disagree.  Regardless of the reason, the roseate spoonbill is one pretty in pink bird.pretty in pink
Birding Corpus Christi and the Coastal Bend: More than 75 Prime Birding Sites (Birding Series)

There’s More to it Than Birds

The Rockport / Fulton, Texas area has more to offer than birding.  Although you have to admit, the birds are pretty spectacular and if you weren’t a birder when you first arrive, you just might turn into one by the time you leave.birding in Texas

The little town of Fulton sits just to the north of Rockport.  This is where I find myself spending most of my time – cruising up and down Fulton Beach Road.  I call it ‘my scenic route’ to the store because I’ll take the extra time to travel off the beaten path on my way to the H-E-B Grocery Store and Super Wal-Mart which are located off the main drag – Highway 35.shrimp fishingfresh seafoodThe title Fulton Beach Road is a bit of a misnomer because there is no sandy beach.  The town of Fulton is more of a harbor town.  The working fishermen along with their boats are quite often found docked in the harbor by late afternoon.  This is a great place to pick up fresh shrimp and fish.  Our favorite is the Grouper.Gulf of Mexico

I assure you, my little RV freezer will be well stocked with grouper and shrimp by the time we leave this beautiful part of Texas.Texas shore

Since I’m fighting a bit of a head cold, the brain isn’t working in the writing department so I’ll leave you with more images of the area and you’ll see why I know Al and I will return to this part of Texas again 🙂fresh seafoodGulf of Mexicosunrise across the GulfAllegroGulf shoresoak treeGulf of MexicoRVing in Texasbirding in TexasGulf of Mexico sunset
The Traveling Birder: 20 Five-Star Birding Vacations (Traveling Sportsman Series)
KEEN Women’s Newport H2 Sandal