Posts Tagged ‘texas parks’

A Ducky Family

Half-breed ducks at Springfield Park in Rowlett, Texas. — Photo by Pat Bean

When I first began bird watching, a flock of ducks like this  had me scrambling through my guidebooks over and over in my efforts to identify them. A seasoned birder finally took pity on me and explained that they were hybrids, half  mallard-and half something else, usually the white domestic ducks that hang about in civilized ponds.

“You won’t find them in any birding field guide, and the AOU (American Ornithological Union) discounts them as a legitimate bird species,” he said.  “And they can’t reproduce,” he said.

These days I recognize  such hybrids immediately.  And in my crazy mind, they speak to me about how life, in all of its forms, is constantly trying to renew itself.



Read Full Post »

“Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can – there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did.” – Sarah Caldwell


Bastrop State Park is home to the endangered Houston Toad. -- Wikipedia photo

Travels With Maggie

As I suspected, yesterday’s 200-mile drive from Austin to Lake Jackson was mostly done in rain. And because I knew that. Gypsy Lee, my RV, takes her time stopping on slippery roads I drove a bit slower than normal.

I also let the rain and the slower speed that put me behind scheduled alter my plans for the day, which was to take an hour off from driving and explore Bastrop State Park. The park, located off Highway 21/71 southeast of Austin, is known as the home of the “Lost Pines” because it’s separated by about a 100 miles from the Piney Woods of East Texas.

My travel agenda almost always includes planned stops like this because they usually provide good photographic fodder for my blog and satisfy my cat’s curiosity. I have a button, saved from a journalism conference I attended when I was a city editor, that states: “I Want It All.” That’s actually true, and “I Want to See It All,” too.


The lake at Bastrop State Park -- Wikipedia photo

But I let time and rain wimp me out this day, giving my wimpy excuses encouragement because my Texas State Park Pass had expired and I would have to pay to enter the park. As I drove past the park entrance, Maggie snored softly in her co-pilot seat. She reminds me of my kids when they were young. They either slept or stuck their noses in comic books when we traveled long distances. Some of my grandkids, sad to say, do the same, except instead of reading comic books they play games on their cell phones. .

This morning, while scratching my head over a blog subject, I decided to explore online what I missed seeing personally.

What I discovered was that Bastrop State Park was closed after this past summer’s Texas wildfire damage. Only yesterday, according to the online news story I found on the park’s web page, were parts of it actually opened again to the public. For more information about what I would have missed I checked out a video of the park on You Tube, You can, too. http://tinyurl.com/3mxnywq

In addition to pine trees, peaceful lake, golf course, hiking trails and camping opportunities, Bastrop State Park is also home to the endangered Houston Toad.

Darn it! A rainy day might have been the perfect toad-watching day.

Read Full Post »