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Day 149 - Gulf Coast to Aransas NWR (Photo's Added)

We drove hard to get to a NWR north of Corpus Christi where we saw Whooping Cranes

overcast 65 °F

Sorry to have gotten behind on the blog again, it doesn't seem to take much to knock me off schedule I'm afraid.

We reluctantly left my cousins after a thoroughly enjoyable visit, but we needed to hit the road. Friday I had found a place a little west of here that could fix my propane problem so we headed there first. The problem wasn't so much the valve as the mechanism behind the valve that shuts it when the tank gets full, some kind of float valve system. It was shutting the valve, but leaving it shut even after the propane level dropped. So now we have a new valve, including new float mechanism and are good to go with all appliances fully functional.

BTW - the place is Coastal Butane in Richmond, TX. They are top notch!

We decided to head south since we'd heard the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge has Whooping Cranes this time of year. It is just north of Corpus Christi, so is a long way from Lake Jackson. We also found there wasn't much to see along the way - but we have a few pic's from our drive.

We stopped for lunch at a little city park in Palacio on a bay off the Gulf. There were a lot of terns (or gulls - I'm still looking into this) at the park and we really enjoyed feeding them whatever we could spare (maybe we should pick up some birdfood for these occasions, might be a little healthier for the birds). This time, Mom caught me feeding them however.

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A little farther south, in Port Lavaca, we saw a lighthouse on a corner as we were driving through town. This one is no longer in service and was all locked up, but the sign described it as the Half Moon Reef Lighthouse, originally built in 1858 in Matagorda Bay. It was moved to the town's Civic Center in 1979. Just a cute little building.

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Along the highway, I spotted a very strange looking bird, I'd never seen anything like this before. Later, when we got to the NWR Visitor Center, I showed the ranger a picture on my camera and she identified it as a Crested Caracara, or 'Mexican Eagle'. That's just a nickname, it isn't really an Eagle, but is the national bird of Mexico. We have seen several more of these since, so they're not uncommon in southern Texas.

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We did finally make it to Aransas NWR. This is a cool place in general, but is mostly known for the Whooping Cranes. These normally hang out at the south end of the park during the winter. There is a large tower you can climb (by a ramp) to view the bays and grasslands - but it's quite distant from most of the wildlife. Mom actually made it all the way to the top of this!

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We did see three 'whoopers', however they were very far out. Fortunately another bird watcher was there with a very powerful scope, so we got a much better view then from our little binaculars or the park service's scope. Unfortunatly, I couldn't hook my camera up to it so this is what I got.

Day_149_-_.._Cranes.jpg

Miserable Confession - I've generally been quite happy with my camera's pictures. However, when I take pictures of birds using the maximum (12x) zoom, then try to crop down to just the bird section of the shot - the pictures are never as sharp as I'd like. This is a five Megapixal camera, so isn't as grand as some of the newer models or the DSLR's of course. However, I just realized I've been taking pictures at about 1/2 the capacity of the camera - 2.1 megapixals! Ugh! Maybe if I change the settings I'll get sharper details??? (Nevery hurts to pay attention to details, the 2.1 MP looks great for most shots, afterall I'm not trying to blow them up into wall posters, but...).

OK - so now you know why my closeup's sometimes look a little blurry. Fire the photographer!

In the meantime, while still at the Aransas NWR, we saw a lot of other shore birds as well as armadillo's, deer, wild pigs and peckering pigs (the last of which we were unable to get a shot of before he disappeared into the brush).

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Just outside the NWR is a little (population 192) village of Austwell with an RV park. We have a spot with full hookup for $15/night, which is hard to beat.

Mom is out for the count, I've been working on the blog, we should have not trouble getting to my sisters house in San Antonio by her Birthday, Thursday - so I may head back into the NWR in the morning just so see what we can see.

Logistics:

Miles Driven - 205, Cumulative 14,446
Camped at RV Park in Austwell, Tx (Population 192)

Purchased med's for Mom at Walmart in Lake Jackson, TX this morning
Propane repaired at Coastal Butane in Richmond, TX this morning

Wildlife seen: Caracara, Peckery Pigs, Deer, Armadillo, Roseatte Spoonbill, Brown & White Pelicans, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, Tricolor Heron, 3 Whooping Cranes (in distance), Terns

Posted by jl98584 20:29 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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Comments

Robert took me to Aransas once, too, quite a few years ago now. I remember seeing the Whoopers, but they were quite far out. I understand that the best way is by boat, but we didn't spend the time or money for that.

Greetings to Becky when you get there--or here via this, which she seems to read. She and Raul gave us a wonderful evening in SA a few years ago; I'm sure you'll have a great time, too.

by msj

Thank you msj...We had a great time when you came out.
Yes, we are looking forward to having you all here in SAT. Enjoy Aransas. There is a large naval ship in Corpus that I took dad to several years ago. It is set up like a museum. I don't know if you want to walk around it. There used to be replicas of the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria also. Sometimes they take them out to the Gulf.I do like birding at the Gulf, seems like we don't get enough time to go there often.

by rllomas

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