Monday, May 5, 2014

Breaking news, part 2

May 1, 2014

First stop this morning was the bird blind. There I met Josh and Warren.

Haven't figured this one out yet and Josh turned me on to a field guide that
seems like it is halfway user friendly so I'm waiting for my copy to arrive.
Warren is the volunteer that is currently taking care of the 8 AM feedings at the bird blind as well as general maintenance and Josh is a very interesting young man. After various sales jobs, including selling and installing home theaters in some very fancy houses, spurred on in part because his father spent 45 years at a job he wasn't very passionate about and now is limited in what he can do by health issues, he has opted out of a traditional career and will be starting an internship at Bastrop State Park in a few days. He is currently a volunteer docent at the West Cave Outdoor Learning Center not too far away from here. He also has been awarded a fellowship which will take him to Yosemite National Park, all expenses paid, for a naturalist's course later this summer. He hopes to gradually translate his experiences into a park services job.

Painted Bunting
Warren, Josh and I spent more time at the bird blind than I was originally intending but it was all good. Nobody expected me to be anywhere at any particular time, so I hung around soaking up what I could.

Apparently this Ladder-back Woodpecker was quite a catch but I was alone
in the blind when it came by.

Maybe an American Dipper but I have my doubts

After finally leaving the blind I headed out on a trail at the north end of the park

Turkey tracks. Maybe out enjoying the trail this morning too??
Deer butt

Think she's pissed that I was looking at her butt??

Bluebonnet seed pods. These will dry out in a few weeks then burst open
on a spring-like mechanism to scatter the 5 or 6 large seeds in each pod.

Mesquite pods

I don't know for sure but I'll bet this is called fiddle back something

I tried to get a better angle on this twisted cottonwood growing out in the middle of the river but I had to work my way
across a rock field along the bank and, just as I suspected, it was prime snake territory. I disturbed an OK sized one. (By OK sized I mean my thumb and forefinger making the OK sign just might have fit around his body.) I saw him slipping under a rock about 10 feet away. He wasn't a rattler since he had a thick, blunt tail, but other than that I don't know what it was. So anyway, I was limited in my ability to wander freely to get a better angle.

I guess this Black Vulture is either a little camera shy or had drunk his fill just as I snapped the shot 

Today's hike

After my hike I headed on over to Fredericksburg, a town that was founded by the 19th century German immigrants of the area and was the boyhood home of Admiral Nimitz of WWII fame. A nice historic looking town but now days chocked full of touristy shops and high end gallery's, though there is a really cool herb garden on the west end of town. At any rate it was worth wandering around town a bit.

The photo doesn't do it justice but I really like how they present this WWII submarine located just outside the National Museum of the Pacific War. The bow is breaking the surface over on the right and waves sweep back towards the conning tower over on the left.

And since I was in the area I stopped by the Lyndon B Johnson NHP. The family cemetery is just to the right of this photo. As a naturalized Texan, Ladybird Johnson has a place in my heart and has been here along side her husband since 2007.

Had to take the above photos for my brother and nephews. This is the plane the president used to get into the small airstrip on his ranch.

And I had to take these last three because back in the dark ages I had some small part in presidential communications. In fact, though he was no longer president, Lyndon Johnson was still alive when I was doing my communication-sy thing and the equipment and facilities weren't all that different than seen here.

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