Saturday, February 14, 2015

Birding with friends

Last Sunday I got to go birding with our friends and neighbors, John and Audrey and Carol and Jerry. We went to the Yturria Brush Tract.
Yturria Brush is an 1,800 acre tract that is a natural habitat filled with birds, butterflies and other species of nature.
Going bird watching with John and Audrey is like having your own personal scientists with you.
The knowledge they have of flora and fauna is amazing,


Black Throated Sparrow


Desert Checkered Skipper



White Eyed Vireo





Clay Colored Sparrow



A Dung Beetle.  I had always believed they were only in Africa.





An Evening Primrose



Gray Hairstreak

I feel so blessed to have such wonderful neighbors and friends to go birding with in the Valley.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge

I met up with Mildred and Charles Langston to go birding at Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge on Sunday.
Mildred and Charles are two lovely people that I met at Quinta Mazatlan and who I met with at the song bird banding at McAllen Nature center.



Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge is internationally recognized as 'a birder's paradise.'
It's 2,088 acres of subtropical thorn forest are home for numerous birds that are south Texas specialties.
Santa Ana was established in 1943 for the protection of migratory birds,

We got there a little late for the guided bird walk but we managed to catch up with the group eventually and join them. We got some great looks at some water birds and two beautiful hawks, a Red Shouldered and a Harris Hawk.

















Monday, January 19, 2015

Songbird Banding at McAllen Nature Center

Sunday morning I went over to the McAllen Nature Center for Songbird banding. This was the first time I've seen songbirds banded and my first time at the McAllen Nature center.
The nature center has been closed for several years and has just reopened recently.
You can read the very interesting history of the Nature center here.
 The bander and volunteers catch  the birds in nets at the feeding stations and then place them in bags until they are ready to band them.



























Bird banding is important because it helps keep a record of migration, behavior and life-span and survival rate, reproductive success and population growth.

The banders are very careful to not stress the birds too much and to not hurt them.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Merry Christmas

Lots of things have happened since we got back home.
Phil's mom came for a three week visit and we had a terrific time with her.

We didn't do a lot of sightseeing but we did go to Sabal Palms, the Rabb Plantation.







We got to decorate the house and yard for Christmas this year.


We hated to see Joan go back to the dreary PA weather.

On December 10th I had partial knee replacement. I had such a difficult time nearly three years ago when I had the left knee done, that I didn't see how I could ever put myself through that again.
But with the increasing pain and limited mobility it was coming down to nit having a choice
Luckily I met an xray tech that recommended a surgeon in Edinburgh
Dr Marquez has his own hospital and rehab center. Less than a week after surgery I was walking without my walker and kicking butt in physical therapy.
I'll be glad to finally get these stitches out though.


Monday, November 3, 2014

Space Center Houston

Before leaving Houston for the Valley,Phil and I went on a tour of the Nasa Space Center in Houston.
It was a very interesting place, with objects and films on the history of space exploration








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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Babe Didrikson Zaharias Museum and Spindletop

I am so far behind on blogging.  Phil’s job in Houston ended and we speedily left for our home in Mission.
After living seven years fulltime in our fifth wheel, there was a lot of “stuff” we needed to move out of the RV into our house. We have also been busy hanging out with friends and attending village activities.
Before we left Houston, I got to go on one last history trip with the folks from Cypress Top.
We went to the Babe Didrikson Zaharias museum and then to Spindletop, where the first oil gusher “came in”.






































Babe Didrikson Zaharias  gained world fame in track and field and All-American status in basketball.  She played organized baseball and softball and was an expert diver, roller-skater, and bowler.  She won two gold medals and one silver medal for track and field in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.









































She died at the age of 45 of colon cancer.
 At the time of her death, she was still a top-ranked female golfer.


There were some lovely flower beds outside of the museum.





























This is a reenactment of the Spindletop gusher that blew oil over 150 feet  in the air at a rate of 100,000 barrels per day before they figured out how to top it off.





















Spindletop was the largest gusher the world had seen, and catapulted Beaumont into an oil-fueled boomtown. Beaumont's population of 10,000 tripled in three months and eventually rose to 50,000.


The Gladys City museum is a recreation of an oil boom town.















































































































































All in all it was a very enjoyable trip.  I’m just sad it was my last one with this group.