Warm and Cold or is it Sunny and Cloudy?

Yesterday was a magnificent day. The sun was out and if you could get out of the breeze, it was quite warm.  So, you can imagine we spent the majority of the day sitting in front of the RV, sheltered from the wind, basking in the sun.  It was wonderful.

Our neighbours at the end of the block (Greg and Vanessa) who are also from Ontario, were celebrating that evening.  It turns out it was Vanessa’s birthday and Greg had arranged to have   a surprise dinner at Pirate’s Landing Restaurant. We were all to arrive around 5 P.M. and would sit at the “Big” table.  They have a huge round table with a stuffed pirate hanging above the centre.  Of course there is another, somewhat smaller table that spins, suspended above the main table.  It is used to pass things back and forth to your table mates. It is required because this Big table seats 20. The meal was excellent and the birthday girls was surprised.

Now today, what a change in weather.  Last night we drove home under a clear and starry night and a heavy thick fog rolled in soon after and it stayed all night.  This morning was overcast and cool.  We didn’t feel like getting out and doing anything special, but today is South Padre Islands Kitefest.  We had to go.

We didn’t get out to the “flats” until later in the afternoon. The crowds that I expected weren’t there.  I think, partly because it was so late in the afternoon and the weather wasn’t that great.  I think if the sun had been out there would have been many more spectators.

We were able to park out on the flats and get a good place to park and see the action.  The area for flying was divided into two.  One side had all the kite flyers, in the kite circle they are called pilots.  This side held the static kites anchored to a stake in the ground or to a car bumper. There were also the kites that danced around.  On the other side of the field were the demonstration flyers.  These were quite interesting to watch with the accompanying music.  It looked like the kites were dancing to the music.  I was able to capture some photographs, enjoy.



Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge

The Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge was on our To-Do list last year, but we never made it out to this wildlife refuge.  We didn’t make it for two main reasons.  One, we ran out of days and two, we couldn’t find it.

This year, we talked to a couple we met last year, Fred and Jill, who showed us a brochure they had with all the birding places in southern Texas. Laguna Atascosa was included with detailed driving instructions. Jill had warned us to make sure we had lots of time to get there.  It wasn’t that far away from the RV Park, but the road conditions were very bad and slow speed was required.  Or you might damage your vehicle.  With this knowledge and the fact I know the street signs are sometimes non-existence, I obtained the GPS coordinates before we left.

Well the roads weren’t all that bad, until we came to the section that was closed and under construction.  As we sat in the truck in front of the barricade that was preventing us from proceeding, we are both thinking that we weren’t going to get to our destination today.  However one of the workers that were standing by some equipment at the barricade, sauntered over and asked if we were going to the Wildlife refuge.  We answered yes and he told us to proceed around the barricade, go slow and go around the barricade at the other end of the construction zone. After missing our next turn, turned around and corrected our error, we were at our destination.

The soul purpose of the trip was to get detailed information on the tram ride they offer through the refuge that is otherwise closed for public traffic.  We got our information and will return in the near future to take the tram.  But while we were there, we hung out at a couple of bird blinds and I took to a few of the hiking trails.  Here are some of the pictures we captured.

There were a number of these flowering Yuccas on the way into the Refuge.

This little guy was on the side of the road when we entered the refuge and was in the same place when we left. I was able to get quite close. The volunteer at the Refuge Welcome Centre mentioned that the armadillo has poor hearing and eyesight and that was probably the reason we could get so close.

There wasn’t all that much to see on the hiking trails, except if there was a bird feeding station.

I hike in the friendliest areas

Green Jay

Green Jay

Green Jay

Green Jay

I think the Green Jay is the most colourful bird I have ever photographed.  We are looking forward to the guided tour of the other part of the Refuge. Stay tuned for more pictures.

Sun and Wind

No fog today, yea!  The sun was actually out and it felt quite warm.  But, if you happen to be out in the wind, that feeling of warmth quickly faded away.

Because the sun was out and the sky was clear, I could see the gulf was angry. From the RV you could hear and see the surf crashing onto the beach.  I had to get out and try to capture the angry ocean.

From this video you can hear and see the ocean crashing against the jetty.  Well everyone here calls it a jetty, I would describe it as the breakwater that protects the opening on the Brownsville shipping channel.  Its windy and cold, but there are still people out fishing.

It also wasn’t cold or windy enough to dissuade a snowy egret or a tri-colour egret to abandon their post, as they wait for a quick meal.

Tri Colour Egret

Snowy Egret

The weather also didn’t stop the Segway Tours or people out walking the beach.

Segway on the Beach

Two Lovers on a Stroll

There was also one, lone kite boarder out on the water.  There was no way he was going to be deterred by the weather. He really liked getting air underneath his board.  I think he spent half the time in the air. Boy, it looked like he was having so much fun.

You can see in the last photo, little white spots in the sand.  Those are shells that have been washed up by the rough sea action we have had over the last few days.  In places on the beach, the shells are so plentiful, you couldn’t help but step on them.  You had better have shoes on or you might cut your foot.

All in all it was a pretty good day.  Windy and warm.

Who Has Seen The Wind?

The weather here seems to be ever-changing.  The weatherman is constantly forecasting a cold front moving in, rain and wind is on the way, below normal temperatures. We really don’t know what to expect. Yesterday was a relatively nice day and today was supposed to be cool, rainy with a slight chance of seeing the sun. As it is back home, we would just have to wait and see what we would get.

Boy did the weatherman get it wrong.  We saw the sun in the morning with a nice south wind.  By noon the sky had clouded over and at times a fine mist developed.  We still saw the sun at times, as  the fog rolled in. The fog and sunshine played hide and seek all afternoon. While tending the grill at supper-time the cloud formations were just crazy exciting.

This photo is looking west. The south horizon was clear and the wind had switched to coming from the north.

The next two photos are of the Pearl South Padre. The Perl is a high-rise hotel/condominium just 1 Km north of our RV site.  Through out the day it would disappear and then reappear. It was really quite interesting to watch. At times you could see the bottom but not the top. At other times you could see the top but not the bottom.

As we were sitting out under the nose of the RV this afternoon, enjoying the sun and sheltered from the breeze we were entertained by the constantly changing cloud formation.  And if you were lucky and looked low across the parking lot you could see the fog actually rolling in.  We have seen the wind.

Fifteen Day Followup

Fifteen days ago we posted the activities of a green sea turtle release on the beach at Isla Blanca Park in South Padre Island TX.  Today there was another scheduled release of more cold stunned turtles that were rescued after the latest cold snap.

Speaking of a cold snap, wholly cow! You haven’t heard from us in the last fifteen days with the reason being we have been shored up in the RV either escaping the rain or trying to stay warm.  For the last couple of weeks we have had days where the temperature hasn’t gotten above 5℃ with accompanying freezing temperatures at night. Basically there hasn’t been anything to share with you.

The sky has been mostly overcast and accompanied with either wind or rain, or both.  We have had an odd day, here and there, where we have seen the sun. The temperature has gotten up to 20℃ on occasion.  These warmer days are appreciated and has allowed us to get together with our neighbours in what has become known as “Happy Hour”.  The beauty of happy hour is that you get to catch up with your neighbours and discuss things of interest.  Participation is voluntary and you decide what beverage you what to enjoy.  And it seems to have become the norm that someone will bring a snack to share and often there is more than one snack to choose from.


When we are not stuck in the RV trying to keep dry and warm we venture out, mostly in the afternoon for coffee and a treat or we find an excuse to travel into Brownsville or Port Isabel.  Yesterday we spent the better part of the afternoon in a quaint little coffee shop on the Port Isabel side of the Laguna Madre.


Today we also drove up the island and walked out at a couple of the public beach access points.  The city has done a really good job of improving the boardwalks that help you get out and over the sand dunes.

Looking out toward the beach. Words to live by.

Looking back from the beach. What a great boardwalk.


Oh, and you are probably wondering what happened with the turtles.  Well I can’t tell you. We forgot all about the event. We were sitting out in front of the RV having lunch when we noticed a lot of people walking from the beach, and the lightbulb went on.  Oh, I guess the turtle release is done.  The first time we were able to witness a release it was a pretty big deal. The second time it was still exciting but not as much.  The third time, we obviously could take it or leave it.  Don’t get me wrong, the work Sea Turtle Inc. does is very important and if you get a chance to witness or participate in one of these event, I strongly recommend you take part.

But we were out enjoying the warmth and sunshine, having lunch on the patio.

More On The Run

Today was a turtle release day. As I mentioned on the previous post, the Sea Turtle Inc advertised on their webpage they were going to release more cold stunned turtles today.

We headed out of the RV shortly after noon for the 1 o’clock release which was going to be just down the beach from our spot.  Boy I am glad we did as there were a LOT of people already on the beach.  So many people, we didn’t even try to get close to the barrier that separated the public from the volunteers carrying the turtles. We actually sat up by the sidewalk and were able to get a few pictures as the turtles were moved from their transport.  Sea Turtle Inc is located up the island and it would be a 15 minute ride to the release location.  They arrived in suburbans, ½ trucks and vans.

We new things were getting ready to begin when trucks started driving down the beach and were ushered through the crowd and into the restricted area.  I counted 7 trucks lined up with their tail gates facing the ocean. These were used to transport the heavy patients.  By putting the trucks close to the water, the turtles wouldn’t have to be carried as far.  You can see a video from the water’s edge here.

It was mentioned by the staff at the release that during the last cold snap there were approximately 1500 cold stunned turtles rescued on the Texas coast.  The ones today mostly came from Boca Chica beachWe also heard that there were about 150 turtles being set free today, however the local news reports it to be 300.

All we know is there were a lot of turtles as well as a lot of people.  Here are a few pictures I was able to capture.

Another great day in paradise.

Warm Weather Update

You have heard me telling you that the weather has been rather cold the last couple of days.  Well it probably has been a week or so since we have had any nice weather.  Bev and I were thinking that someday soon, we should head over to the turtle rescue place. They probably have a lot of cold stunned turtles that they are warming up and they may be having a release soon.  We were at one of their public releases last year and it was quite interesting.  You can read all about it here.

This morning I was sitting at the kitchen table reading when our neighbour came over.  She had just came back into the park and the fellow at the guard-house had told her there was going to be a turtle release today and she wanted me to know.  I thanked her very much, put on my shoes, grabbed my camera and out the door I went.

A short walk down the beach and I was in the action.  There was a pickup truck on the beach, backed down near the water’s edge.  It’s tail gate was open and the box was full of turtles. There were a number of vans and SUVs parked on the road near the beach access with people carrying turtles down to the water.  It was quite something to see. It looks like there is going to be another release on Monday.  I think will take that one in too.

Here are a few pictures from this morning.

We are letting him go for good behaviour.

Wait for me.

Let me go, I can see the sea.

Will you people hurry up, I really got to go.

One last hug for you and then you have to go.

I’ll smile and you can take my picture.

I really liked my hospital stay, now it’s time to go.

I can see my brother. Please put me down so I can say Hi?

Which one of you is next?

OK, if you put me down I won’t flap my fins anymore.

As you can tell from the pictures above, the sun was out today and it had warmed up.  It was also the day they lifted the fishing ban.  Over the last few days there has been a fishing ban in parts of the bay and around the jetty so today the fishers were out. It seems fish can get cold stunned just like the turtles.  Families were out enjoying the beautiful weather. I suspect they were getting the last bit of family time in before the kids go back to school.  It was nice to see everyone out enjoying themselves.

On that last picture you might have noticed a white bird.  We think it is a snowy egret. It hung around for quite some time, hopping up and down the jetty.  Looking for food.  The same food the fishers were aiming to catch.

Most of the poles were cast on the other side of the jetty, the channel side, where there was some boat action.  There are always boats to be seen going into and out of the channel. This channel gives access to Brownsville as well as Port Isabel.  From Port Isabel there will be dolphin tours and party tours, as well shrimp boats come from Brownsville.  Today there was a Coast Guard boat tearing up the water.  I am not sure where they were going or why they were going so fast.  But they were certainly flying.

Since we have been here we have notice some objects on the horizon. They look like long poles sticking out of the water.  They don’t move and are to far away to get a good look with the binoculars.  Well this afternoon after all the turtle excitement, I noticed one much closer to shore.  In fact it looked like it was going to go through the channel.  I had to get a closer look and snap a few pictures.  It turns out it was the “Lift Boat” Dularge. A little poking around on the internet tells me it is an offshore support vessel. Which really doesn’t tell me much. I was really interested knowing what support it actually provided.  I guess it will remain a mystery.

That’s all for todays update.  Stay tuned for more pictures, maybe, of Mondays turtle release.