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Posts Tagged ‘Sea Center’

There's gotta be a tasty morsel down there somewhere -- Photo by Pat Bean

“For man, as for flower and beast and bird, the supreme triumph is to be most vividly, most perfectly alive.”– David Herbert Lawrence
 
Bird Talk
 
Went birding this morning instead of posting my blog. So all you get today is a picture of the great egret I watched fishing for its dinner at the Sea Center in Lake Jackson, Texas.  I hope you had a great day, too.

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‘An old dog, even more than an old spouse, always feels like doing what you feel like doing.” — Robert Brault

 

White ibis coming in for a landing at the Sea Center in Lake Jackson on a cold morning. -- Photo by Pat Bean

 

Travels With Maggie

I braved the cold yesterday morning to walk the boardwalk at the Sea Center in Lake Jackson. It’s a great place to watch birds, as well as being a fish hatchery, beach/seashore museum and an aquarium.

Check it out at: http://www.texasexplorer.com/SeaCenterTexas.htm

 

A new sign marks the Bobcat Woods Trail in San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge. That's my son, Lewis, in the background. -- Photo by Pat Bean

While I had a pair of warm gloves, I never kept them on long enough for my fingers to warm up. I was too busy checking out the Audubon Bird App on the new smart phone my son gave me as an early Christmas present and taking pictures. I can use my binoculars with my gloves on, but not the phone or camera.

My photo above of the white ibis was my reward for braving the cold. It did warm up later on in the day, and my son, Lewis, and I found about 40 species. After the Sea Center, we walked Bobcat Trail at San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge.

My dog, Maggie, wasn’t happy, however. I had left her home so she could stay warm and cozy in the RV. But the dirty looks she gave me for the rest of the afternoon indicated she had wanted to go birding, too. Or at least gone for the ride.

Gypsy Lee has been parked for a week and Maggie is already getting antsy.

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A northern mockingbird was my first bird of the new year. -- Photo by Pat Bean

 “Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.” — Henry Van Dyke

Travels With Maggie

I’m a passionate birdwatcher, who keeps a list of birds I’ve seen. My life list now totals 696 bird species. It’s a respectable number for this late-blooming birder, but far from spectacular.

If you want to know more about the birding numbers game you should read “The Big Year” by Mark Obmascik. It’s a great read even if you aren’t a birder. It’s about three guys who spend a year chasing birds all across North America. At the whisper of a rare bird alert, they would fly thousands of miles on a minute’s notice.

Although I did once drive 400 miles to see one particular bird, these days I usually just bird where my travels take me. I check out bird festivals going on while I’m in the vicinity, and hook up with local Audubon chapters for birding field trips. This past year these efforts, including one day when I hired a guide to help me find the golden-cheeked warbler that I had been trying to find for three years, earned me 12 new life birds. And yes, the warbler was one of them.

I spotted this yellow-crowned night heron at the Sea Center in Lake Jackson, Texas. -- Photo by Pat Bean

This year’s birding efforts, meanwhile, have begun slower than normal. I’ve been parked in my son’s driveway here in Harker Heights all this week and a cold front moving through the area seems to have kept the birds tucked away.

At least they’re not falling out of the sky dead, as red-winged blackbirds and starlings have been doing in Arkansas the past couple of days. That’s a scary thing because birds, like the canaries coal miners carried into the tunnels with them as their bad air detectors, are indicators of an environment’s health.

My first bird of this new year was a northern mockingbird, appropriate since it’s Texas’ state bird. It was a brilliant gray and white fellow with yellow eyes that landed on a fence about eight feet from my RV window. As I watched, it flashed its long tail in the air – then pooped.

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