Saturday, January 30, 2010

Corpus Christi and Rockport waterfronts

We had a few items to pick up from Sam's Club and Petsmart so we drove down to Corpus Christi today. It was sunny, mid 50s and windy. Beautiful day but cool for South Texas. Sunny got antsy waiting in the truck with Carol while I shopped for a while but then got very happy when we took her into Petsmart. She was surrounded by children that wanted to pet her. We could almost see the grin plastered on her mug! There is a small park on the bay with a great look at the Corpus Christi skyline. I still love skylines. Along the coast, many areas are at or below sea level so the houses are built on stilts. If a flood strikes, the bottom level is not covered by insurance but the upper floor may be. I look at houses at or under sea level and the first, second and third thoughts are "What is wrong with this picture?" How can they obtain insurance and, if none can be obtained, why do we taxpayers have to cover their losses? I just don't understand. We saw a pelican that was hunting. He would float on the water, suddenly soar into the air and dive into the water, grab a fish and then swim serenely while having his seafood dinner. We saw a pier that was covered with large, dark birds.Don't know what kind they were but there were a ton of them.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Sunny has officially taken over!

Sunshine has officially taken over. I never thought I would see the day when a dog that is almost as big as I am would willingly and gladly be given the couch but here is the proof! She is just as retired as we are so she earned it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Big Tree, Goose Island State Park

We are camped in the middle of gnarly Live Oaks. We learned of a Live Oak nearby that the locals call it, simply, The Big Tree. We drove to the area of Goose Island State Park and located it. This entire area is beautiful. There is splendor wherever one looks. This area is full of these beautifully ugly monsters and this one is HUGE! It is reported to be the oldest Live Oak known. It is 35 feet in circumference and over 1000 years old. It is located near the water and has withstood countless hurricanes and even a Union naval bombardment in 1865 that destroyed the town of Lamar Oak. While looking at the tree, several people approached and told us that there were four rare Whooping Cranes nearby. We went to the waterfront and found the cranes posing in the bay for us. Then a flock of six more Whooping Cranes flew by. Wow, 10 out of approximately 200 in the world! We came on some whitetail deer, nearby, too. We thought we were in heaven, seeing all of these beauties. We then went to the waterfront in Fulton and found a bunch of white pelicans having a conference covering where they were going to go next for a fish dinner. We found a home near the cranes that was build in the middle of a copse of Live Oaks. Then on the shore of the bay, near the pelicans, we found another. Actually several others but only photographed these two. Can you see the homes in the rear of the property?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Port Aransas, Mustang Island and Corpus Christi

Yesterday and today, we went to Port Aransas, Mustang Island, Padre Island and Corpus Christi. We definately will have to make return trip(s) there. The birds and other wildlife and varied and we also saw the largest wind farm we have ever seen. The houses on Mustang Island are built on stilts because they are below sea level and this is done to help during the flooding during hurricanes. To get to Port Aranas from the mainland, we traveled over bridges and then a ferry. The same when we drove from south of Mustand onto Padre Island and then to Corpus Christi. We found a little guy in a shell looking at a caterpillar. Not sure if it is a crab or what. The USS Lexington is pictured, a WWII Aircraft Carrier. We salute you, our Greatest Generation! Sunny loved romping around the nature areas. Mustang Island looks quite desolate but has beautiful beaches that we could even drive on (and Sunshine could romp on and meet many new friends, both two and four legged types). We even found some cacti in a wetlands. Thought they were supposed to be desert items! Still love skylines and this one is Corpus Christi from a low, wildlife infested island across a bay - Great!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Rockport, TX Fulton Mansion and port

This was a lay-back day. Watched the first playoff game when the Colts beat the Jets and then took a sandwich to the waterfront where Carol, Sunny and I had a picnic. There is a mansion sitting right on the Gulf that has successfully withstood many hurricanes since it was built around 1900. One interesting sight is a round set of windmill blades that was torn from its tower during one of those horrific storms and embedded into the top of a live oak. This was almost one hundred years ago and still it remains in the tree. The fishing boats were almost all in for the evening. The sky, facing east at sunset, is a beautiful shade of pink. The pelicans are still fishing, probably because they missed one once because they were not prepared to wait until dusk. Now it is time to watch the Vikings beat the Saints!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Fishing pelicans and Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

Sunny is meeting furry friends all along the trail from Michigan to Texas and told us to hurry on and bring on Arizona. Yesterday, we drove along the waterfront in Fulton and Rockport, TX. We saw commercial fishermen bringing in their boats loaded with the day's catch and pelicans swimming and flying around them looking for leftovers. Today we went to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge where we saw a bejillion different birds and some alligators. One was a little guy but we were wary anyway because the little one had to come from a big one, right? The sign said "Alligators Bite." No kidding? We were fortunate to see a very rare Whooping Crane on the edge of a Salt Marsh. Just outside the Visitor Center at the Wildlife Refuge, a ton of ants have almost completely stripped all the leaves from a large tree/bush. The interesting thing to see is the tiny ants carrying the leaves that are at least ten times their size. This area is on the Gulf of Mexico and is full of interesting places to go and things to see. We have another week here so we will try to see as much of all this beauty as we can.