Located on the south side of Beaumont is a wonderful wild life sanctuary that serves as the tertiary sewage treatment area for the city. This always sounds rather off-putting but it is quite wonderful. there are three large watery areas filled with marsh plants of various kinds, and an abundance of water birds. There is a wide gravel road around the area with plenty of room for bicycles and pedestrians. A boardwalk extends into one of the ponds allowing for a closer look at spoonbills, egrets, herons, coots, ibis, and an assortment of other birds along with the occasional alligator, raccoon, and snake.
As members of the local orchid society that met in the garden center building once a month, we would usually arrive sufficiently early to take in a walk around a portion of the cat-tail marsh. Last year, the city convention center proffered an early morning view of the park along with coffee.
Since quarantine, we had not been out to the marsh; but late last week with beautiful weather and a lovely breeze, it was the perfect small excursion. I’ve posted a few pictures fo the flowers and the scenery there. A raccoon wandered along the side of the marsh deliberately weaving between the reeds so we could not get a good photo. Birds flew overhead and a bull frog sounded like a warning buoy.
It was a good day.
I’m enrolled in a photography challenge with weekly challenges. I read them all but some of them involve a lot of fancy photoshop techniques…..not something I really enjoy doing. But other challenges are fun exercises as each of us tries to figure out something that no-one else has done. I don’t look at the photos until after I post mine but too frequently the week gets away with me and I haven’t posted anything at all.
During the first real week of quarantine/pandemic and cancellations of various gatherings, the challenge was resilience. The next week’s challenge..Best Shot..was posted underneath the Week 11 challenge.. I posted Week 11 Resilience under Week 12 Best Shot—
But I think we can all give ourselves a bit of grace here for mistakes like this.
After taking Plaquenil for about six months, I began to notice some really strange visual things—sparkly colors, reversing colors of images. After reporting this to my ophthalmologist, I was scheduled to see a retinal specialist. He did some sort of fancy scans and it was determined I was one of the unlucky few to have Plaquenil deposits around both macula–the site of our most acute vision. Plaquenil was immediately stopped and very slowly some of my vision has returned. However, not enough to use that tiny little view finder on my camera.
I could be frustrated with having to use the pull-out window on my Canon SX 50 but sometimes the results are rather amusing particularly with the zoom feature.
One of our favorite spots is the tertiary treating area at Tyrell Park here in Beaumont. There are long walkways around each containment area, the occasional alligator can be spotted along with hundreds of birds.
This was an avocet on an overcast day and my attempts to get some good closeups. That camera can take photos of the water droplets on a duck from a considerable distance but that doesn’t mean it can tell I want the whole bird in the photo, not just its legs.
Tell me what you think!
Here is my subject.
First attempt with actual bird parts visualized. I omitted the ones of the just the water.
And another try.
so I back up the zoom and find that silly bird again.
my best effort—and I decided it was going to have be good enough.
Whooping cranes posed for us and for several other locals including a couple from Corpus Christi who had lived there for over 30 years but had never seen the whooping cranes. They have a festival in late February early March but by the second week of March, the cranes are headed north.
I took a few more photos and of the sun rise that morning–and it was time to head home.
Houston traffic is always iffy but we were there slightly before lunchtime.
We arrived home in time to collect Toby and Dora, take them to the dog park, and attend the monthly bee meeting.
New adventures await us.
Goose Island State Park is surrounded by water and suburbia. Along the banks facing the intercoastal bridge were two large areas of picnic shelters and two really nice bath houses. Unfortunately, Hurricane Harvey left these areas in what can charitably called disarray–and funds to repair have been slow in coming.
The road has large pits and is very uneven but a few fishermen were out including one with a fishing kayak.
We strolled along the banks of the levee—noticed the jelly fish floating near the shore.
The day was cold and windy–and we quickly retreated to our little cabin—by now we had figured out the optimum arrangement of the small electric heaters.
Mustang Island is the northern island of the Padre Island complex ranging from Corpus Christi to Brownsville. The beach is a long white sandy one—and the day we picked to visit had perfect temperatures.
We were mostly by ourselves on the lower portion of the beach and there was some wind–enough to keep us moving but not so much as to make it unpleasant. We strolled the beach, picking up a few shell fragments here and there–that urge is irresistible for Midwest natives—although we have quickly grown accustomed to thinking 50 degrees is COLD and required heavy coats–and definitely no water play.
Near the levees we found fisher people and lots of these little birds pecking away at something that must have been quite tasty amid the moss covered rocks. There were quite a few kites out–they are so fun to watch and so hard to get decent photos.
There were some Hispanic men with their children–tossing footballs, digging in the sand, playing with Tonka dump trucks, and eatimg barbeque sandwiches set up on a table underneath and small tent shelter—no girls except those under six were visible–a guys weekend out—and all were having a blast—their music was a nice selection and quite lively.
My step count for the day was nearly 16000 and my feet and back agreed.
Late in the afternoon on our arrival and nearly every day while we were there, we walked down to the harbor–actually the Intercoastal Waterway. On the first night, a flock of pelicans flew in and swam across the small harbor. They were so elegant in the water and resting for the evening. Later we found them resting on one of the piers.
Some piers have been rebuilt but others are still in disarray.
I don’t know if this is the result of Hurricane Harvey or whether this one was just one maintained but I enjoyed the graphic quality of those piers jutting out at various angles against the backdrop of ocean and barrier island
The day promised to be very chilly, windy, and rainy…not a good day for these arthritic bones to enjoy hiking. The cabin did not have central heat and we finally wised up and put one of the small space heaters in the bathroom so we did not have to work to soap between the chill bumps.
We drove about half an hour or a bit more to the Texas State Aquarium. Glen had been there when it first opened, thought it to be smallish and not to be compared to Shedd Aquarium in Chicago–the first aquarium I’d ever seen and full of art deco details.
We were very surprised when we got to the Aquarium. There is a lot of road construction (isn’t there always) but some of it was repair work due to Hurricane Harvey.
The place is quite large with large glass domes. The ticket price was also a surprise ($35 each and that might have been the senior discount). But inside—-there is a Starbucks and a restaurant inside. We toured the Caribbean area first and were entranced by the 12 coral flamingos.
There were sloths, scarlet ibis, a screamer bird, macaws, not to mention deep tanks of fish you could see from on top and then from the side.
Lion fish are so dramatic but they have taken over and are at the top of the food chain elbowing (if fish have elbows) other creatures.
We tried to identify the dolphins as they swam round and round in their tank; the otters came out to play–they are always so delightful, watched part of a bird show, and finally watched a 4 D Planet Earth movie.
It was a full day—and there were docents everywhere—all ready to explain the creatures and answer questions.
It was well worth that $35 dollar ticket.
Some years ago, I had the misfortune to slip and fall breaking the patellas on my left leg. I was fortunate enough–or dumb enough to work while on crutches. Having a standard vehicle meant I could not drive myself to work; husband drove me to work and while I was at work, took his motorcycle to various nearby places to photograph some of the wildlife. This wildlife refuge was one of his favorite places.
it had sustained some damage during Hurricane Harvey but had two large very tall lookout areas. Whooping cranes could be seen in the far distance and according to the rangers, there were several pairs.
It was windy and chilly up there but a great view.
This was labeled the alligator pond but none had read the brochure stating they would be available for photo ops that day.
We did find this young fellow crossing the road—there will be more about him much much later
And another BIG TREE—-I can’t remember how many we did see and we wondered if perhaps some of the ones we saw with multiple trunks within a very small area were a community instead of individual trees.
Forgot to mention the best part of our trip. Because we both qualified and did buy National Park Senior Forever Passes and then a Texas State Park annual pass–we didn’t spend all that much money on entry fees—except for tomorrow’s entry.
LIve oaks are known for their longevity along with sequoias. When we toured the western states retracing the footsteps of Lewis and Clark, we..like everyone else was stunned by their size—and took dozens of photos with one of us standing in front of a tree with our arms spread wide–to give an estimate of their size.
These trees are not as tall but they are equally large. Each area seemed to have a ‘Big Tree’ for us to admire. These trees have huge branches that lean down to the ground, some of them requiring props. One tree was thought to be over 500 years old, sprouting from an acorn when Coronado was looking for gold.
It is hard to see just how big they are as this one on Goose Island was fenced off but they are huge. In Beaumont our street is lined with them and in the McFadden Ward House museum there are two trees, brought back as saplings from a battle near San Antonio by a McFadden.