Who are we? We are our stories.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Alamo Apartment 205

Not fancy; sometimes humble to frustration, but everyone tries to make it work. We have had the same apartment for five or six years, the same neighbors for eight years, the same watchgoose in the backyard.                  

And it's very green and overgrown with butterfly friendly plants. 

Enterance waik
Stairway up to Apt 205

The backyard, with Cathy Mauck scratching Goose's neck - also known as That Damned Goose. There is also a flock of chickens headed by That Damned Rooster. Goose is eleven years old. He is cranky and loudly vocal about it. He is possessive, aggressive and generally unapproachable. Given the opportunity Goose would probably wing-beat me to a pulp. Cathy carries him around like a baby, stroking him gently and Goose moans softly. Goose is lonely and in love.  Cathy's husband Bill is jealous and hates that damned Goose. 

- Gunnar

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Estero Llano Grande - 84F

..and humid. We arrived at the park midday. By then everything was hiding, moving slow or resting. Mostly hiding.  We paced ourselves.

I do like the photo of the Green Heron with its neck stretched out. - Gunnar

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Bored At Estero Llano Grande

After lunch we walked the paths at Valley Nature Center for an hour or two. We met some nice folks looking for the Golden-crowned Warbler. No looks. I suspect there are just too many people prowling that relatively small park. We did our part. We left.

Down at Estero Llano, again we were completely surrounded by no birds. (Re: Onslow, "I'm sitting here, completely surrounded by no beer!") Actually there were a lot of birds, but most them were quackers. Talked to friends, talked to strangers, took a handful of photos. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Anhinga (first year female)

Yellow-crowned Night-heron
Bored to death of ducks,

Boardwalk Walk

I spent half a day on the boardwalk at South Padre bird center. The tide was in pretty much killing the opportunity to see shorebirds, so I was primarily looking for a Clapper Rail or maybe a Least Bittern. I saw neither, so just took pictures of the more common birds as I walked. 

It was interesting to see the breeding feathers starting to show up on the Herons and Egrets. This time of the season the birds spend a lot of time feather tending, almost as if it itches. The Tricolored Heron looked particularly ragged, but in a week or two he will look neater.

Here are some I took the day before. No Clapper Rail that day either.

Clapperlessly yours,

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Hard Wetland Birds

There are common birds; there are rare birds. Then there are easy birds and hard birds. Easy birds are easy to find, see and photograph. Some hard birds are relatively common, but damned tough to even get a glimpse of  because of their habits and habitat. 

Play 'find the bird'; this is the way we actually see them.

Here are some of our hard birds that live in the wetland grass, reeds, and cattails.

Looking hard until my eye hurts - Gunnar

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Cold and Rainy

Trapped by weather and circumstance.

Upbeat, feel-good tunes? If it don't tear your heart out and ain't so dark as to make you consider ending it all ... it's pointless ain't it? ;-)  -Gunnar

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Bensten State Park

This morning we drove to Bensten State Park south of McAllen. Along the way we stopped at Americana RV Park to visit friends and try to get a look at the Black-throated Gray Warbler. Did not see it, but we had a nice walk and talk - saw a flock of Green Parakeets in their trees. Jezz there are a lot of parakeets and parrots in valley now. The numbers seem to double every year, and eventually by my Clarks Grove math that will equal ... one shitload of psittacines.

Then down to Bensten State Park. We walked more than we intended (code for "lost"). We took  some of birds which are ordinary down here - and marvelous if you are from Minnesota and see them for the first time.

And as we were leaving an old man backed into our truck. He seemed confused. No damage to us, some to his. - Gunnar

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Golden-crowned Warbler

Golden-crowned Warbler. Golden-crowned Warbler? Golden-crowned Warbler!

The Golden-crowned Warbler is a wren-sized non-migratory Wood Warbler native to South and Central America up into central Mexico. It is extremely rare this far north, and any sighting of a wanderer would be a life bird for almost anyone.

Today we went to Valley Nature Center in Weslaco, Texas to look for a male that had reportedly been seen there. Walking the paths for some time we came up empty until we met the park naturalist Matt Kaufman, who had originally sighted the bird. The Golden-crowned is skulky, living in deep undergrowth. Trying to locate the bird by its soft ticking call, Matt strided the paths ahead of us, covering a lot of ground at what I would normally consider a non-birding pace. As we were in his backyard, we hiked up our pants and fell in behind.

He did not exactly lead us directly to the bird. After an hour of walking at that pace, Lorna decided to take a break at the water drip where the bird had been seen. Then of course we very shortly found the bird. Matt ran back to find Lorna while I followed the bird as it moved through the brushy undergrowth. Fortunately the old half-blind pirate didn't lose track of the bird before they returned. After Lorna got a good look (good being relative), I attempted to get a photograph of it. It proved to be difficult to focus on him in the twigs, even to see, always on the move in the deep undergrowth. Eventually it popped out into the open for about five seconds. I managed to get a quick focus on him and shot a quick burst and got quite lucky with one of the shots - not a tack-sharp eye focus, but an overall well-posed photo.

A nod and tip of the hat to Matt Kaufman, who helped us locate the bird. - Gunnar