For the last little while we have had some crazy weather. It has been warm, then it turns cold and then we have periods where it warms up and then back to drastic cold again. I guess that is what you can expect in south Texas in the winter. Especially when you are on the gulf coast.
With this goofy weather, the constant breeze, fog and wispy clouds you can get some terrific sunset pictures.
Often, by the boat launch, the fish would be jumping and there would always be pelicans around waiting for lunch.
Near the south end of the park near the breakwater, at the entrance to Laguna Madre which gives access to Port Isabelle and Brownsville, there is a sculpture dedicated to all those sailors who died in the channel. There are quite a few plaques with the captain and vessel names inscribed. Some of the dates were very recent, as early as 2010.
Not all the time is the sky full of clouds. The recent full moon was clear and bright.
We went to see Sea Turtle Inc. This is an organization that rescues, rehabilitates and releases sea turtles. They also educate the public and assist in the conservation efforts of all marine turtle species. As I mentioned above, we had a cold snap and this negatively affected the turtle population around the island, in the bay as well as the gulf. Turtles are reptiles and rely on their environment for heat, when it turns cold they suffer. We were told that when the ocean temperature goes below 55 degrees they become stunned, weak, disoriented and often wash up on the shore or worse, drown. Something like we experience when we are forced to go out on our coldest winter days. While we were there, they were loading turtles into a van. They had recently been rescued and were being released them back into the ocean. These were turtles that had warmed up and were found to be healthy. The staff was anxious to get them back into the ocean and free up tank space in their facility. They still had a large number of rescued turtles waiting in plastic containers in their garage. These turtles needed to be put in the now vacated tanks so their health could be assessed and then be released as well. While there, we learned there was going to be a public release of more turtles on Thursday at the beach just down from our RV. We were anxious to take this event in.
Later that afternoon we drove up the island, about a block, to the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Centre. They have a large building with an observation tower overlooking the bay. There is also a gift shop, you can never get away from those, as well as a short educational video about the wildlife of South Padre Island. There is also a butterfly garden and a boardwalk that takes you over the tidal flats and out to the Laguna Madre. We were told there was a resident pair of alligators with their babies on the property, so be aware. While there we only spied an alligator tail hidden in the distance cat-tails. While on the boardwalk we were able to see many different types of birds. There were lots of Egret and Herons (Great Blue, Little Blue and Tricolour) as well as Ibis, ducks and pelicans. There were also a flock of the elusive Roseate Spoonbills off in the distance. They are a very beautiful bird and I wish they were resting a little closer to the boardwalk.
We can’t wait for Thursday and the turtle release. Stay tuned for more of what we will learn about sea turtles on South Padre Island.