Thursday, April 14, 2016

Vacation!

After a crazy 28 days that included deciding to sell the house in the country, preparing the house to sell, putting it on the market, selling it, selling all the contents, and closing, Breck and I decided we needed a vacation.

Taken from the ferry to the Bolivar Peninsula from Galveston Island
Originally it was going to include our sister and two of our nieces, but at the last minute (pretty literal statement) they needed to cancel their trip.   We stayed in a nice condo at the far west end of the island and could not have been happier with our choice.

Brown Pelican 
The area was teaming with birds giving me many opportunities to practice using my new camera.  Not every shot was crystal clear.  Shooting in the open is one thing, but focusing through branches and leaves is significantly more difficult.

Scarlet Tanager
Even the pictures that were not "wall worthy" still had value when it came to trying to identify all the different species we saw.  And we saw plenty with so many wintering birds in the area.

Gray Catbird
I didn't do as much reading the manual as I should have, but there wasn't time.  I'll do some studying before we go out on our next trip, but I can already tell the potential for some great photos is there.

Yellowthroated Vireo
Of course my picture quality would jump if the darn birds would just stay still.  Very few do.

Kentucky Warbler
But that is okay.  I like a challenge.

Hooded Oriole
Orchard Oriole
The real treat on this day was going back to the Smith Oaks Rookery to see the Great Egret chicks that have hatched since our last trip.

Great Egret with 2 chicks
With their green faces and feathers like wedding gowns, they are easily one of my favorite birds to photograph.

Great Egret
Great Egret
Breck, however, is partial to the Roseate Spoonbills.  Their eggs haven't hatched yet, but I would love to go back when they do.

Roseate Spoonbill
Snowy Egret
The Snowy Egrets were still collecting sticks for their nest.  How about those feet?

Snowy Egret bringing in a stick for the nest
Snowy Egret nest building
There were other birds at the Rookery like Neotropic Cormorants and Common Gallinules.


But it's Texas so there were also alligators.  Funny thing about them here.


They keep predators off the island where the birds nest every year.  Things like raccoon, fox, and rats can't swim to the island without becoming lunch for a hungry gator.  The trade off is that occasionally a bird will venture too close to an alligator and become lunch himself.  Great spot.