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

Ménage à Trois

It was a beautiful January day along the Texas Gulf Coast.  I was in the midst of a photo shoot with my model Rosie, a lovely Roseate Spoonbill.Roseate SpoonbillShe was quite the model.  Beautiful, talented, and very accommodating.birding along the Texas Gulf CoastShe tilted her head this wayTexas Gulf Coast birding trailAnd then that way.  One leg up.photographing birdsNow it was time for a break.  “Take five, Rosie”.  She heads off to the water for some refreshment.birding Port Aransas

This is Bill the spoonbill enjoying a morning snack

In the meantime, Mr. Spoonbill was minding his own business enjoying a mid morning snack when he just happened to glance up….. and there she was, in all her pink glory….. Rosie tilts her head in a coy demur manner all the while batting her eyes. wildlife photography“Like what you see, Big Boy?”  Bill’s mouth opens wide….”hubba, hubba”….. he drools. wildlife photographyThe vision of loveliness is irresistible.  He starts in her direction.photographing wildlifeHe quickens the pace. While approaching Rosie, he yells, “Hey babe, whatz happenin?”wildlife photography

Rosie is not impressed by his crude behavior and mutters, “I’m outta here” and quickly flies off.roseate spoonbillBill can’t figure out why she flew off and screams, “STEL…LAAAA”!birding in Port Aransasand goes for the chasePort Aransas TexasBut Bill, having a rather short attention span, was quickly distracted by the beautiful blue coloring of a Tri-colored Heron. wildlife photographyAs he lands near Hailey Heron, the tri-colored heron, Rosie is soon forgotten and a new quest ensues.birding in Port Aransas Texas“Hey, there Babe.  Is it true what they say….. once you go blue you never go back?”tri-colored heron“Say, What!”, says Hailey Heron in a frazzled tone.  Just then Bill has the best idea ever….. why pick between pink or blue? ….. Ménage à Trois!threesome

Here’s wishing you a very Happy Valentines Day with a happy ending Rockport Texas
Love You & Love You More Pillowcases: V-day Gift
Set of 20 Red LED Mini Valentine’s Day Heart Christmas Lights – White Wire

The art of compromise

Living a mobile lifestyle with a partner in 250 square feet, requires the ability to communicate and compromise.  Compromise becomes even more important when the individuals don’t always share common interests.Lamar Texas

Compromise has never been a problem for hubby and me.  I tell him where we’re going, what we’re doing, and he says, “Yes, Dear”.  And that my friends is how to survive 30 plus years of marriage …. 😆

northern shoveler duckBut in all seriousness, Al and I have always supported and encouraged each others interests and passions.  We enjoy doing things together as well as separately.  It works for us and has for over thirty years.

Al and I are fortunate in that we’ve both had the opportunity to travel extensively over the years internationally and domestically, but that travel was predominantly to metropolitan areas.  Thus, we now enjoy focusing our travels on small towns, back country roads, and all things nature which makes this RV lifestyle a perfect fit.  Neither one of us has a so called bucket list, but we do have a mental list of “wouldn’t mind visiting there”.  It’s sort of a …… if it works fine, if it doesn’t work that’s fine too kind of list.

duck hunting in TexasAl’s pretty laid back and easy going about our travels and for the most part leaves the planning up to me.

After I brief him on tentative plans, we’ll bounce ideas back and forth. He’ll occasionally add his two cents or express any concerns, and then the trip planning commences followed by a few necessary reservations.  For the most part, he rolls with my whims.

On that note, last summer during our winter planning phase, Al mentioned how he really wanted to do a repeat of the previous January and meet up with his buddy again in Rockport, Texas, to engage in sportsman stuff.  Initially, I wanted to stay in the desert southwest, but since this was something he really wanted to do, I felt it was my turn to roll with his whim and compromise.

Plus, I didn’t think returning to the area  would be so bad.  It would allow me the opportunity to commune with whooping cranes and all my other feathered friends while hubby was occupied elsewhere.roseate spoonbill

And then I got to thinking since we were coming to Texas anyway, this would be the perfect opportunity to explore some other areas along the Texas Gulf Coast, which is how we ended up spending time in Galveston and Port Aransas.

Texas Gulf CoastAlthough I have had a relatively nice time along the Texas Gulf Coast, all things considered, the lure of an Arizona sunset is hard to resist.  The abundant sunshine and dry heat of the desert beckons.

As our scheduled stay in Texas was nearing an end, Al started dropping hints about extending our stay.  He said something along the lines of, “We have no commitments in February.  Why don’t we just stay here a little longer”?

He asks this question as the winds are howling, the rain is pouring, and I’m bundled up in layers of clothing trying to keep warm.

I ponder…..  Keep that thought in mind while I digress for a moment….
From the moment we purchased the RV, Al made every effort to train me on all her workings and we split the driving so I’m comfortable towing her.  When I became so ill last winter, it made an indelible impression upon us just how important it is that he and I are both able to handle all aspects of this lifestyle.  With the exception of backing her up, I’m quite capable in the handling of all duties.

As for Al’s cross training, he has improved in doing laundry, vacuuming, and cooking (well, his culinary skills are still lacking, but edible. That’s a work in progress – hehe).  Both of us can handle the demands of this lifestyle together and independently.

QuartzsiteSo back to me contemplating Al’s thoughts on extending our Texas stay.  Remember the weather is nasty as we have this discussion.  I wait for the loud furnace to shut off so I’m sure he can hear my response.

“You’d like to stay in Texas longer?”  I confirm. He nods.  “No problem honey, but please check with Denny to make sure his couch is a sleeper, because come Monday the jacks are coming up and the wheels will be rolling.  Whether you’ll be sitting next to me is your choice.  I’m flexible”.

Adirondack chairAl burst out into laughter and said, “Ah, you are a wise one. Perhaps it was foolish of me to see to it that you can handle all aspects of this RV because I have no doubt to your capabilities.  I assure you, when you have this puppy ready to roll, I’ll be sitting next to you”.

It was the best of times; exploring fun new places and getting together with fellow bloggers.  It was the worst of times; nasty weather and illness.  It was the age of wisdom; as we age, we hopefully become wiser.  Al is second guessing the wisdom of his actions in making sure I can handle the RV by myself.  It was the age of foolish; We’re never too old to act a little foolishly.  It’s all about the laughter.  In the end, I am no fool and would never dream of leaving my partner in crime beyond.

Arizona here WE come!whooping crane

CLELO Decorative 18*18 Inch Linen Cloth Pillow Cover Cushion Case, Love You To…
Webkinz Love Frog Limited Edition Release

Express Yourself

It’s a rainy and cold morning along the Texas Gulf Coast, perfect for me to stay home and get some much needed housework accomplished.  But first, I’m inclined to share some photos I took this past week while taking full advantage of some fabulous weather.

Brahma calve
looks like someone has some skin to grow into!

Today’s WordPress photo challenge is Express Yourself.  Initially I was at a loss as to which photos to share but then I remembered visiting these cute little Brahma calves.

Their cuteness and expressive little personalities captivated me and when these three started walking towards me I couldn’t help but think of the opening scene to the 1970’s TV show the “Mod Squad“.Brahma cattle

Oh, how I wanted to be Peggy Lipton.  I was in Junior High School at the time sporting brown frizzy curly hair and no matter what I tried, I couldn’t achieve those silky straight tresses.prince charmingFailing to achieve that Peggy Lipton look, I wondered would there ever be a prince charming on a white horse in my future?Chesapeake Bay Retriever One can pray, hope, and look to the skies for answers, but only time will tell if one is fortunate to find true love.roseate spoonbillIn the end, I found it was important to be myself and not try to be something or someone I’m not.  And  then, only then did I discover love…. love for myself and a partner.  Be true to yourself and free to express yourself 🙂Texas Gulf Coast
The Mod Squad – Season 1, Volume 1

Girls gone wild – or just crazy!

One of the more delightful aspects to RVing is running into like-minded folks; folks that share similar passions.  We first met Mona Liza and Steve a couple of years ago while camping at Cave Creek Regional Park just north of Phoenix, Arizona.Great Blue Heron

Mona Liza and I connected online via our blogs.  This was the first blogger meet up for both of us and we had a great time.  We’ve stayed in touch via our blogs and the occasional email ever since.

QuailI’m not sure if Mona Liza’s interest in birding began around the same time mine did, but I will say she and I were both enamored with the Gambel’s Quail during our stay at Cave Creek in Arizona.

Although our travels have taken us in different directions, we knew we’d meet again some day.  Therefore, it was exciting when we both realized we were going to be staying in Galveston at the same time this winter.

Reconnecting with fellow RVer’s is always fun and this encounter lead to several get togethers (spouses included).  Great Blue HeronBut the day Mona Liza and I were most looking forward to was a day of birding with our cameras and without our hubby’s.

We could go crazy snapping away without the obligatory comment from our husbands, “Don’t you have enough bird pictures?”  “NEVER … no such thing!”

While Mona Liza and Steve were staying at the Galveston Island State Park, Al and I were staying just three miles down the road at the Jamaica Beach RV Resort.

Galveston Texas
Mona Liza’s personal viewing platform.

girls gone wildSo these two bird crazy gone wild gals set off on a mission to photograph as many different birds as possible.

I picked Mona Liza up with the big dog (F-250 w/extended bed), leaving Al and Steve to fend for themselves.

ML enjoyed her own personal chauffeur (moi) and viewing platform.  She served as navigator using maps and information she and I picked up at the Galveston visitor center a few days earlier.

Galveston Texas
I’m all bundled up and ready to photograph some birds!

photographing birdsIt was a cold, blustery morning along the Texas Gulf Coast.  At 8:30 in the morning it was 38 degrees Fahrenheit with 20 mph winds, but these birders refused to let a little wind and cold deter them from their mission.Galveston Texas

We had a successful morning photographing lots of birds as well as sharing quite a few laughs along the way.  Occasionally our exuberance would get the better of us and we would see birds in the distance only to realize it was a fence post, street sign, or piece of garbage.  Hmm, wonder if more than one of us needs eye-glasses!Texas Gulf coast

Galveston TexasGalveston TexasMona Liza has an uncontrollable fascination with Roseate Spoonbills these days.  It’s hard for her to contain her excitement when she sees one of these pink beauties.

Case in point; we were strolling along a trail near some ponds when she grabbed my arm. She was practically jumping up and down and exclaims in a hushed tone with pointed finger, “There, there… do you see them?”  “No”, I calmly responded.

pink birds
this roseate spoonbill was photographed the next day after receiving a phone call from ML, “Come now. They’re here!”

“Look right out there”, she said with almost a tone of frustration, but sense of excitement all at the same time.  We kept our voices soft as not to startle any birds.Galveston Island

Galveston Island State Park“Those aren’t Roseate’s”, I exclaimed.  While ML says, “Yes, yes they are”, we simultaneously lifted our cameras to our faces and zoomed in our telephoto lenses for a closer look.  With slumped shoulders and a deflated tone she whispers, “Kayaks” followed by uncontrollable laughter from both of us.

The entire morning was filled with mixed sightings…. the blind leading the blind you could say.  We were equally mistaking foreign objects for birds.  “Now, that’s an unusual bird in the distance and a big one at that.  I wonder what it is”.  “I do believe they call that one a street sign”.Hawk

photographing birdsBut more times than not, we lucked out and it was indeed a bird.

The cold, the running around, and the laughter caused these girls gone wild to work up an appetite. We headed into downtown Galveston to find a place for lunch.  “Oh joy! I get to parallel park the BIG Dog”.

I find a spot along a side street and line myself up with the curb.  ML jumps out of the truck and starts providing hand signals to help me park.  I’m sure to the everyday on looker they might find our antics unusual, but for these seasoned RVer’s it’s just another day in the life.  I figured if she could direct Steve in parking a 40 foot motorhome, this 22 foot truck should be a piece of cake for her.  And a fine job of directing she did!Oil Rig

I’m almost parked when my phone goes off.  It’s Al.  He and Steve just finished touring the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig Museum and were planning on grabbing a bite to eat.  Talk about perfect timing.  Since we were all downtown, we met at Brew’s Brothers Brew Pub for a tasty lunch.

The Strand
Steve, Mona Liza, Ingrid, Al

After lunch, the bird crazy duo headed out on a quest to find tree sculptures…..Egret

Finding Birds on the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail: Houston, Galveston, and the Upper Texas Coast (Gulf Coast Books, sponsored by Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi)

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 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)