Aransas County Coastal Clean up teamed up with Keep Aransas County Beautiful this past Saturday to do a Clean up from Lamar/Holiday Beach to Fulton Beach in Rockport. To be around people that are so dedicated to doing what is right for this planet and the critters is life renewing all on it's own. So much fun and laughter was had by all who attended. It was a A picture perfect day/time to do our first clean up- Spring Cleaning of sorts... 1100 lbs of trash and debris was collected... and with everyone's help it will become a successful event for all the right reasons... Please contact Johnny if you would like to be notified when we do the next one.
Sometimes we just don't know what we have in our own back yards or just beyond the bridge. In this case just a board walk venture away. I had vaguely remembered that there was a bird park in Corpus growing up mainly because it was clear across town.. an outing back in the day, LOL.
To my great surprise there were Blue & White Herons, Pin-tails, Black-Necked Stilts & Teals. More than 220 birds have been spotted at this refuge though out the year as they migrate or as a result of fallouts due to bad weather etc.
The walk though the refuge was delightful with no pestey bugs currently.
Saturday,after some running around Mike took me to a couple of spots that I had remembered as a teenager to check out and see if they still were there. To my surprise it was better than I could have expected.
Even the pigeons were asking for their pictures to be taken as well.
Our Saturday morning was begging us to seek some sunshine in between some visits with dear friends. We happened to be able capture the controlled burn that was happening on Matagorda Island while in Fulton. Then we drove over to the paw's and taw's parking lot and were blessed to be able to watch and capture a white pelicans' catch of the day. The longer he held on to the fish the closer his friends came in to help just in case he lost his catch, lol. It was comical to say the least. He held fast and devoured his lunch. The expansion on his bill pouch was truly amazing.
Really enjoyed the show he and his friends put on for all of us Saturday that were out there with our cameras and smart phones. He had to be the most photographed bird in Futon Yesterday.
Zoomed in Picture in hopes that the size of fish would show up a little better.
The Synchronicity and Serendipity of photography as opened yet another deeper appreciation for all the wild life right here in our own back yards and shores.
Having been raised in Corpus, my papa always told me that Rockport was one of the best birding communities in the entire country,but I didn't quite grasp how truly unique this area was until I moved here back in 08.
Whooping Crane tours was the " Biggie" that I knew Rockport/Fulton for, mainly for their size and how endangered they were.
But don't underestimate all the beauty found in the other coastal birds too. To this day, each time we venture out with the camera I am so mesmerized by the variety of majestic birds we have here.
If your looking for a hobby that can last a lifetime.... Birding could be the ticket with as little or as much time as you want to devote to it. But don't be surprised if you find yourself getting more excited each time an opportunity presents itself for you to spot a species and learning more about it. This hobby can be old school with the use of any good bird guide book or a cool app that you can install on your smart phone to help identify what you are seeing.
The Rockport Beach Park is a nice place to start where you can see a nesting colony of Black Skimmers, a really unusual looking bird. Take a drive around Little Bay and view all the wading and shore birds as they forage for food in the waters.
Fulton Beach Road offers you countless types of birds from ducks to the pelicans as they skim the tops of the waves. During late fall a migratory group of white pelicans may be in temporary residence at “Pelican Point” by the Fulton Beach Convention Center, otherwise known as “Paws and Taws”.
If you want to venture a little further north over to Lamar you may see sand-hill cranes or even an occasional whooping crane in the area as well as sandpipers and such.
Our area has a store devoted just for the birds and several bird sanctuaries too.
Looking forward to seeing you and other fellow birders out and about.
If New Year’s Eve night wind blow south, It betokeneth warmth and growth.
For abundance in the new year, fill your pockets and cupboards today.
If the old year goes out like a lion, the new year will come in like a lamb.
On New Year’s Eve, kiss the person you hope to keep kissing.
Although the pop of a champagne cork signals the arrival of the New Year around the world, some countries have their own traditions.
New Year’s Day was once the time to swap presents.
Last but not least : Turning over those Leaves and putting our best foot forward:
The dawn of a new year is an opportune time to take stock of your life.
All information and pictures are courtesy of many internet sources.
All weekend we have been reading about the rip currents and high winds out in the waters....but had no that we could capture pictures of how angry the waters could get. I honestly thought when I saw wight from the beach road that it was sea fog, wrong... it was waves crashing along the jetties and seashore.
A fellow photographer directed me down to the pier and said there would be a tree that had washed up on the beach and I might enjoy that perspective. While I am always amazed at the strength of water.... I was utterly horrified to see that there were surfers out in the water so incredibly close to the pier. I refused to take any pictures of them and their stupidity. I could not continue to watched them, when they would go underwater and then what seemed like an eternity before they would pop back up. So we quickly moved on down the beach. I sure hope they learned some lessons quickly and got out of the water.
Here the jetties look pretty calm until see see how tilted this pilot boat was riding as he was headed out to open water towards an incoming ship.
With all the high winds of the day the image below seemed to capture all of it's furry
For many of us the spirit and magic of the season happens outdoors, where strings of twinkling or non-twinkling lights are on and in our neck of the occasional illuminated pier as well.
Let me personally say thank you to everyone who takes the time to decorate outside at this busy time of the year... There are countless number of us who do still take the time to purposely take a drive to go see the many businesses and homes that are decked out. Family and friends and even strangers smile and appreciate the festive scenery that you place for our enjoyment.
Historic American Christmas Decorations
In early America, Christmas celebrations centered on food, fun, friends, and family, much like our festivities do today. Early settlers in America brought Christmas traditions from the "Old World" to the new, celebrating the holiday as they did back home. Churches were often decorated for Christmas while individual homes were decorated less frequently and more sparsely.
In North and South America, Australia, and Europe, it is traditional to decorate the outside of houses with lights and sometimes with illuminated sleighs, snowmen, and other Christmas figures. Municipalities often sponsor decorations as well. Christmas banners may be hung from street lights and Christmas trees placed in the town square.
I personally did not grow up with any real family traditions during the holiday season. So the Christmas cookie cooking tradition always seemed so "for other families" but not ours. It wasn't till 7 years ago when I met my husband that cookie baking became one of our mini traditions. Our first year together we made sweets as gifts in a 5x5 ft kitchen and truly had so much fun that we have continued for the past 6 years.
This year we had decided we were not going to do it since it was so physically challenging for me to be on my feet for so long... We were good with our decision until the inquiries and requests came in. We found ourselves gladly not being able to stick to our decision, but we did scale back quite a bit. As serendipity would have it, this turned out to be the perfect weekend to get the baking done.
Saturday we reviewed our recipes and purchased the ingredients to make these goodies on Sunday with no burnt batches too-boot.
Peanut butter cookies along with yogurt granola bars for Mikes parents.
Chocolate covered bacon was made for my boss and his wife and haystacks for hubby's boss and family.
Short History behind cookies during the holidays
Like many Christmas traditions, the origin of this delicious custom lies ages ago, in solstice rituals conducted long before Christmas became the huge commercial holiday it is today.
Winter solstice festivals have been held for eons, across the world. From Norway to West Africa, Ireland to India, groups of people gathered to celebrate the changing of the seasons. Celebrations revolved around food; after all, you had to feast before the famine of the winter. Solstice often meant the arrival of the first frost, so animals could be killed and kept safely to eat through the winter, and fermented beverages like beer and wine that had been brewed in the spring were finally ready to drink. As any modern host knows, a hearty roast and a stiff drink need just one thing to complete the party: dessert.
By the Middle Ages, the Christmas holiday had overtaken solstice rituals throughout much of present-day Europe. However, the old feast traditions remained. And while the roast and drink recipes were probably quite similar to what earlier Europeans had enjoyed, the pastry world was experiencing some amazing changes. Spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and black pepper were just starting to be widely used, and dried exotic fruits like citron, apricots and dates added sweetness and texture to the dessert tray. These items, along with ingredients like sugar, lard and butter, would have been prized as expensive delicacies by medieval cooks. Only on the most important holiday could families afford treats like these, which led to a baking bonanza to prepare for Christmas. And unlike pies or cakes, cookies could be easily shared and given to friends and neighbors. Our modern Christmas cookies date back to these medieval gifts.
Though cookies have come a long way since medieval times, some things haven’t changed. Many Christmas cookies are still heavily spiced. We think of “traditional” Christmas flavors like cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, and those are exactly the same spices medieval cooks would have used in their cookies ages ago. Gingerbread is a classic Christmas cookie, and yet it’s also a cookie that would have tasted strikingly similar back in the Middle Ages. Ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and mace combine to make a snappy, spicy taste, just like they would have back then. And gingerbread uses molasses as a sweetener, something that medieval cooks would appreciate as refined sugar was so expensive. These cooks would not have made gingerbread men, however. The first person to try that was none other than Queen Elizabeth I of England, who had the cookie molded into the shapes of her favorite courtiers.
Last weekend I really became "aware" of how beautiful these birds are when I was able to capture a few photos of them. My only disappointment was that I couldn't get in close enough to really capture their beauty. What makes this story even more special is that: I didn't know was my wonderful hubby had just 3 days before ordered me a stronger lens so I could get to my subjects portraits a little better. Needless to say we took advantage of the absolutely gorgeous day to get out bond with this new lens and love.
We started out early in the morning but the wind made the shaking of the camera very challenging but still gave me some hands on time with the lens none the less. Later in the afternoon this wonderful opportunity presented itself.
While not able to capture one in flight I have included one picture from the internet to show this magnificent bird in flight.
Interesting Information on the White Pelican:
During the spring and summer white pelicans are found in large breeding colonies, usually on islands in large inland lakes. They range far from the colonies to forage on shallow lakes and marshes. They spend winters along the coasts from Florida to Texas.
The white pelican differs in a few important ways from its cousin the brown pelican. The white pelican forages by swimming in cooperative flocks, herding schools of fish to waiting, open bills. The brown pelican dives for its food, much like a kingfisher or osprey. White Pelicans are inland nesters while brown pelicans are closely associated with coastal saltwater.
These large, gregarious birds(with a nine-foot wingspan!) often travel and forage in large flocks, sometimes traveling long distances in V-formations. They soar gracefully on very broad, stable wings, high into the sky in and between thermals. On the ground they are ungainly, with an awkward, rolling, but surprisingly quick walk. Their webbed feet make for water-ski landings and strong swimming. They forage by swimming on the surface, dipping their bills to scoop up fish, then raising their bills to drain water and swallow their prey. They also forage cooperatively: groups of birds dip their bills and flap their wings to drive fish toward shore, corraling prey for highly efficient, synchronized, bill-dipping feasts. Pairs court in circling flights and in strutting, bowing, and jabbing displays at a chosen nest sites. Though females lay two eggs, only one chick per nest usually survives—one harasses or kills the other (a behavior known as siblicide). At 2 to 3 weeks old, chicks leave their nests and form into groups called crèches. Parents continue to forage for them, returning to the creche and searching out their young to feed them. Pelicans respond to threats by flying aggressively into a near-stall or, on land, adopting an upright posture and grunting. More severe threats from aerial predators provoke open-billed displays where the pelican lunges forward, jabbing with its enormous bill. Predators include foxes, coyotes, gulls, ravens, Great Horned Owls, and Bald Eagles.
A white pelican’s pouch can hold more than 2.5 gallons of water when full. Imagine holding that much water in your throat. Now imagine all that water full of flopping, squirming fish!
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