Birds. Bikes. Beers. Blues. .... Reflections on a well-lived life.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Coming Up For Air

Cousin Fritz told Lorna that Aunt Dorothy was worried that I might be ailing because I hadn't posted anything for a month or so. For the record, Dor, I am fine, just busy.

Climbing back up onto the blog train I checked the 1410 stats to see if anyone actually monitored a half-dead blog. Apparently some do. I am not certain what happened on April 28th. Someone with a bunch of followers must have posted a link or something because I got 1,761 pageviews that day. ??? I have no idea what that was all about.

Meanwhile, I have been spending about four days a week alone solo at the cottage doing some interior painting and transplanting - just doing general maintenance and putzing about. Solo? Lorna has been busy with other things. but the Lanesboro neighbors and friends have kept me company and Grady Linehan came down one weekend to look at the McLean bicycle. The bike is still at the cottage, but it now it belongs to Grady.

If anyone is garden inclined, I also posted a handful of Spring garden photos here.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Fulton Shrimp

On the way home from Alamo we spent a couple of days in Fulton Beach (hint: Thar ain't no beach in Fulton Beach). What there is are nearby birds at Goose Island and Aransas NWR, and fresh fish and shrimp on the upper deck of Charlotte Plumber's seafood restaurant. There are other places in Texas, even in Fulton, where you can eat good shrimp, but sometimes location is everything.

Lorna on the upper deck selecting her shrimp and beer.

I am not certain why, color photos are great for birds or pretty women, but there is something about hard working people that begs to be recorded with B &W photos. Here are some from this year and last year, mostly from the docks and roof deck at Charlotte Plumber's seafood restaurant.

 Eat well, - Gunnar

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Spring Bike

In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love. bicycles.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Last Pics Of Texas

This is the last of the last of the last Texas bird photos - taken on South Padre Island the day after the last of the Spring Break hungover kids stumbled back over the causeway, and the day before we packed it in for the Fulton Beach shrimp, the Aransas cranes, then on home to Minnesota. All in all, the weather sucked, but we saw a lot of birds, reunited with some great friends, and met some new ones. A salute to you all. Skoal. 

A non-birding aside, we have frequented Padre Brewing often enough that the brewmaster, Markkus Haggenmiller joins us at our table, craving a tiny bit of "ya, you betcha that's good beer, ya know" Minnesota beer talk. Mark comes from a long line of brewers. His father and grandfather were brewers at Hamm's Beer, and he has a pit-found antique beer bottle that has raised lettering - "Charles Haggenmiller Brewing Company". Very cool. And now, back to the birds: 

Be well, have another great year - Gunnar Berg

Least Bittern

"Least". Sometimes photos do not convey size. This bird is as small as a long-legged Robin. This is two different birds - a breeding female and a breeding plumage male. Again, pictures from our last BIG DAY at South Padre Island.

Green Heron

Green Heron. This was also taken our last day at South Padre. At most times we see it as rather dark drab bird, but when they get their breeding plumage they light up with some really sexy colors. Normally they are a crow-sized bird with an apparent short neck.  Apparent.

An "almost" picture. There was a small fish involved in the sequence.

Clapper Rails

Clapper Rails are about 14" or 15" long. Normally they are just a clatter call deep in the cattails, impossible to see, but on some magical South Padre Island days all rules are off and these secretive birds will step out of the marsh shadows into the sunshine for a few minutes to strut their stuff for us. I took these about a week ago on our last day on the Lower Rio Grande. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Aransas NWR

The Aransas refuge is beautiful. With the past year's rains there is water everywhere and the resulting mosquito population seems to be holding its own. In spite of rubbing deet on all of her exposed skin Lorna is covered with welts. Thankfully I do not react to the bites, but I really got chewed up.

Whooping Cranes are notoriously difficult to get close to, so I was quite pleased with these photos of the birds.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Painted Redstart

Yesterday we got some wonderful pictures of a Clapper Rails, Green Herons, and  a Least Bittern at South Padre Island. I will post them when I get time to sort through them. Today we are are in Fulton Beach, just returned from a shrimp dinner on the upper deck of Charlotte Plummer's seafood, right down on the docks - had the bread pudding dessert to celebrate some good looks at the Whooping Cranes this afternoon. By then I was tired and wasn't packing a camera.

So far today, two lifetime birds at the Falfurrias rest stop this morning - a Painted Redstart and a Yellow-throated Warbler. The Yellow-throated Warbler is "uncommon", but if you happen to be from southern Minnesota it is non-existent. The Painted Redstart doesn't even make an appearance in the Sibley Guide to Eastern Birds. This bird has no reason to be where it is, but as we have said before, some birds cannot read OUR maps. Lorna got a picture of the Yellow-throated Warbler; I did not, but I got some passable pictures of the Painted Redstart. The tree bark is nicely in focus; the bird, not so much. ;-)

Be well, -G.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Last Day At Estero

Today we went to Estero Llano Grande to pick up some loaned books from May Snider before we leave. While we were there we did a short walkabout. There are very few birds left (relatively) - less every day, as they move out to their northern nesting grounds. I took a few pictures of what was still there - reptiles and butterflies.

After my pictures of non-descript dull brown 1/2" Skippers, here's is a change of pace, a big ol' flashy butterfly, a 5" Giant Swallowtail. Next, an Alligator guarding it's nest and a couple of courting Skinks.

Rebirth of life. Spring.  Don't miss it, don't waste it; it only comes once a year.