Archivos de Diario para enero 2019

05 de enero de 2019

Coast, caves, and Mammoths 2018

Well I finally have time to tell you all about my trip to the coast. It may have been a short trip but man was it a good one. I got to see several different things I have never seen before down there. The last couple of times I have been to the coast I have overlooked things. This time I was not going to let anything escape my viewfinder. On the first day we just went to some roadside viewing areas. It was pretty late when we arrived at our hotel so we couldn't get too many observations but I did manage to get an Osprey, Killdeer, Great Blue Heron, Double-crested Cormorant, Snowy Egret, and Brown Pelican all in one night. We went to the hotel to get rested up. I got up early and soon we all got up and left on the second day of the excursion. We got up and ate breakfast and were out the door by eight in the morning. We made an unexpected stop at a very cool area called Indian Point Park. My aunt had seen some Roseate Spoonbills feeding and some American Avocets in the same area. I got out of the car and started to notice White Ibis, Black-necked Stilt, and Tricolored Heron feeding in that same spot near the entry way of the roadside park. I got back in after getting my shots of the feeding groups and watched them as we made our way to the parking lot. There was a lot of birds feeding there. In some of my photos there is a flip book effect of a Roseate Spoon Bill feeding in a straight line. My Nikon could never do that but this camera is faster with the shutter so it can manage shots like that. My camera did really well in this setting. Nearly all things I spotted got a decent photo. When we made it to the parking lot we were surrounded by rocks. I got out and walked over to them and saw a Long-billed Curlew one of many that I would see on the trip. He was watching me just as I was watching him. He would bend down to feed every now and then but he was kind of on the alert because I was a little close. He didn't fly away when I moved on. I walked down the rocky shore and saw a Willet walking around and through the rocks. It was kind of hard to keep up with and I only got a couple of decent shots. He was kind of tricky to spot because he was on the move looking for food. There was also a Ruddy Turnstone that was nearby that I lost sight of when the Willet came and hogged the camera. I saw the Ruddy Turnstones before we arrived at Indian Point Park. I also saw some Sanderlings all in a feeding group at the other beach as well. I walked around and saw some other things like shells of oysters and other forms of sea life. My mother spotted some Barnacles on a rock and I was able to see them for myself which was really cool. I was hoping to see Barnacles on the trip and I did. Soon it was time to see what was at the pier. It was kind of catercorner to the car and there was a wooden staircase that led up to the main deck. I walked up and then walked out on the pier. I looked off the side and in the shallows I saw some Texas Lightning Welks which is our state seashell. There was a whole bunch in the shallows; I estimated about fifteen around the bottom of the pier and all around the area where we were watching. Onward I went to see what was in the deeper water. I was able to find my third Jellyfish encounter. A Sea Nettle was swimming very close to the surface. His dome was moving and in some of the shots there is another flip book moment. I have seen three jellies. The one on this trip and the ones on my last trip here. He was swimming really close to the top of the water but you could see every part of him clear as day and my camera was able to pick it up very well in amazing detail. My aunt and my brother stayed on the deck and I went back down to the rocky area to see what else I could find. I soon went back up and just in time. My aunt and my brother saw something bobbing up and down in the far reaches of the water. It was a diving bird and not just any bird it was a Common Loon. I wasn't sure what it was at first until I looked at the photos more carefully. He was out there looking for food. I had not seen one of those before. I was really excited to add the Avocet and the Black-necked Stilt on to my life list. I was also able to add the Sanderling and the Ruddy Turnstone to my life list as well. I would find even more lifers as the trip progressed. We soon wrapped it up at Indian Point park. We had to make our way to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. So it was back on the road. After a quick gas trip were back on the road. We made it to Refugio county and at one point we arrived at a roadside park with Picnic tables. My aunt stopped cause she saw two Crested Caracaras on some of the outlaying fence posts. I was able to get shots of one but the other one flew off when it saw us coming. After that we soon made it to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. We stopped by and got our admission before heading to the gift shop so I could get my patch. I went and saw they had patches the first time I went out here but something happened and was unable to get it. I have a vest I add patches too. I collect patches from national, state, and local parks if they have them. The last time I went I was unable to get the patch so this time I made sure that I was able to get it. I was able to get it and after I made my purchase I went back to the main station and donated a little money to the relief from Hurricane Harvey which struck a year ago and left a lot of damage to the main visitors center. It was just a little early Christmas gift for one of my favorite parks. We soon got on our way down the trails. I was able to spot a Common Green Darner one of the very few insects I would see on the trip. We also saw an American Coot bobbing up and down at the Alligator pond that seems to be pretty void of Gators when we are there. After leaving the gator pond and boardwalk we moved on to another walking trail and on that trail we saw a whole bunch of grasshoppers most of them were Spur Throats with a few exceptions. Up in one of the trees was a really neat bird called an Anhinga. I had not seen one in the wild before and I thought that it was just a cormorant. It was not until I posted it to iNaturalist I was proven wrong. We went around to the observation tower and we looked around near the parking lot for a while and I saw a Spiny-backed Orbweaver making its web right a above me. I was in between the bathrooms outside. It was an amazing color and had different patterns than other ones I have observed. We didn't see any whopping cranes but we did see a bunch of other birds. Willets, Great Blue Herons, and Turkey Vultures seemed to be the main birds around there. We soon went on the auto trek and found a Yellow Rumped warbler in a tree. I tried to get the shot as best I could but the sun was interfering with the lens so I have this yellowish photo but you can still make out the bird. The auto tour soon came to a close and it was time to go to the next spot. We ate lunch at the Whataburger by and after we ate lunch we went over to Oso Bay Wetlands Center where I would find even more cool Spiny-backed Orbweavers. In the distance on many parts of the walk we could hear the calls of Sandhill Cranes at their roosting site across the way. There was several interesting plants that looked so much like tropical flowers. I saw some really cool plants on this hike I made sure I didn't pass up a single thing on this trip. All the other times I have been here I have got a few observations but not as many I did on this trip. I am trying to better my spotting skills and get all the stuff I can to boost my life list and my observation total. Pelican Porch seemed to be very still with the exception of the Scarlet Ibises that flew through. Pretty soon it was time to go back to the car and head over to Suter Wildlife Refuge. That place was really cool and we got there at just the right time. We went to the board walk after we looked around at the front of the park. I got pictures of many plants one being a huge palm tree. Then we went on the boardwalk just as the sun began to sink. The sky was a reddish color with a purple hue. The moon was full and the water was calm. On the shore were many birds like a few American Avocets, Black-necked Stilts, a few Brown Pelicans, Long-Billed Curlews, a Reddish Egret, and a few Tricolored Herons. I love the shots I took of the place. There is one shot on my facebook and instagram that was mainly a landscape of the sky, shore, water all with the Texas A&M Corpus Christi college in the background. That is one of my favorite photos in my collection. I the coast and I love that memory. The air was not chilly but very pleasant and warm. It had a certain poetry about it. I sure was sad the day was over but I knew that more adventures would come my way and that one day I would come back again to the beautiful Texas Coast. We made it back to the hotel and I was just in awe about all the animals I had photographed on the trip. Sometimes that is just the way I am. I get very easily excitable when I see new things or experience new things I get all giddy as a school boy or like a kid in a candy store or a Nerd in a comic bookstore. I couldn't stop talking about the observations I made while I was eating my snack before we went up to our room. We turned in for the night after we ate dinner and then began our trek back up but not before making a stop at the National Seashore. We arrived pretty early after we ate our breakfast and we went to the beach to see what we could find. We went down to the beach and there was a lot of grass, and many other plants. I was surprised to see a whole bunch of Indian Blankets still blooming down there. We soon got down to the sand and one of the first things we saw was a Gray Sea star. I took a few shots and didn't know if it was alive or if was dead. Luckily I had my shovel and I scooped him up. As I did that he began to move his arms and I knew what I had to do. I went to ocean and waited for more water to come on shore and as it came up I put him in and it took him out to sea. I knew that the guy wouldn't survive out there for very long it was supposed to get warm and I didn't want other beach goers to hurt him. He was missing an arm and I didn't want anything else to happen to him. I love to save animals who are stuck in a rock and a hard place. I use my best judgments to aid in the situation. I have saved a few turtles and things but this was my first oceanic rescue. I didn't even touch him because I didn't want to make him get sick or anything. I used my shovel to put him back. Still it was pretty cool to see a Sea Star that was still alive which is a first for me. I went down with the rest of my family and we walked down the beach. On the shore there were a few Terns flying around and some were sitting on the sands. One set was a group of Forster's Terns which were flying into my view. Then I saw the Royal Terns sitting on the shore before they took off. I got one Royal Tern on my facebook and instagram that is a beautiful in-flight shot. My new camera takes some great in-flights. It is much easier to use the view finder rather than the screen to do things. Maybe not so much with insects I still use the screen for those but birding is so much better for me now since I have the view finder and my zoom can pick them up better. My Canon Rebel also seems to make them stand out more than my Nikon could. Sometimes I would take a bird and it would kind of blend into the background and it would be hard to edit. These are just some of the things I am now noticing the more I use my DSLR camera. I am thinking on adding some of my trip photos to a file for Photo contests. I have several photos that I would love to enter. My new years resolution this year is to not pass up a photo contest. Anyway on the shore there were a bunch of little Sanderlings. In between shots I would watch them feed. I love watching sandpipers feed. It is kind of cute the way they walk they look like little marshmallows on toothpicks. Along the way I was on the look out for crabs and things but didn't find a single crab. I saw one the last time I was at this beach but this time I had no such luck on finding one. Well it was time to head back to the car but on my way back I saw another Long-billed Curlew up ahead of me it was the last shot I took on this part of the trip. We went back to the car and headed to a little shop to buy souvenirs and then we headed back up to go and find something for my brother to do. We made it all the way to George Town and we stopped into Inner Space Caverns and got some information one when they opened the next day since the last tour had already left. We decided to head back home and go back down the next day. We also decided to add Waco Mammoth site to our list of things to do since my brother is really interested in extinct animals. He is working on ideas for a video game that is based on extinct animals. We made it back home and got some sleep and then headed back down the Inner Space Caverns. We made just before the place opened. We got in and signed up for our tour. It didn't start until 11:20 so we stayed in the gift shop looking at the cool fossils and things and things we might want to buy after the tour. Our tour soon started and it was really cool. The trek down the huge entry was easy it was coming back that was hard work. The cave is still growing and is one of the most beautiful caves I have ever been in. Even though I am still kind of partial to the Cave Without A Name. This cave did have some pretty cool stuff in it don't get me wrong. There was a huge mineral deposit that looked like a big Sumo Wrestler. Then there was my personal favorite area called the Imagination Station. There was a really neat story that involved a formation that looked like a cave shark, a formation that looked like the Titanic with Jack and Rose doing the "I'M KING OF THE WORLD!" scene. There was even an Ice burg looking formation and several other cool formations. It is kind of like looking for pictures in the clouds as we do when we are kids. It is kind of fun to see pictures in the cave crystals and formations. The prettiest room though which I have two pictures of on my Facebook and Instagram was the place called the Lake of the Moon. It almost has a Pokemon Sun and Moon reference but my goodness the place was just gorgeous. The whole cave is pretty neat and some of the formations remind me of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom or cartoon world areas form like the Roadrunner Cartoons. That was not all we would do on the trip. When we got back I bought part of a Megalodon tooth and a patch for my vest. My brother bought a trilobite and we got some other stuff too. Then it was time to head off to Waco and we went to the Mammoth site. We arrived around two or so and got our tickets for the tour. I bought a patch while we were up at the visitor station. I love to collect patches for my vest. It is coming along quite well. Still looking forward to getting that all filled up with patches. Need to go out of state and get some more out of state ones. I am also collecting pins for the pockets as well. Anyway the Mammoth site was really cool. They are still digging at the site but they are on halt right now until they hire on a new paleontologist. The wildlife around the place is just as cool as the fossils. I saw a new kind of succulent called a Christmas Cholla. I found it on one of the few trails at the Waco Mammoth National Monument. There were some fungus and other plants. It was getting late so not many birds were out but still what a trip. I got to go to the coast, travel underground, and got to the Waco Mammoth site all in one weekend. It was a whirlwind of a trip but heck it was worth it. That weekend was great I am sad its over but something tells me that more adventure is going to lay ahead in the new year. Have a happy and healthy 2019 Live Long and Proseper. This is your pal Zachary and I will see you on the trail.

Publicado el 05 de enero de 2019 a las 11:55 PM por galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

06 de enero de 2019

Plans for 2019

It is the new year and for 2019 I have a lot of stuff to look forward too. I have a few big things that I am wanting to do this year. One of which is the City Nature Challenge 2019 in April. I am so looking forward to it. Last year I found a few new places to go and travel to so I can get some big numbers. One place I have on my radar is the Village Creek Drying Beds. As a dragonfly fan and just general insect nerd I would like to find as many insects as I can at Village Creek Drying Beds. I went there twice in a row in 2018 and thought that would be a great place to do some bug hunting. I have a few more parks on my CNC list but I still have to refine it. The Monday of that challenge is going to be hectic because we have school. Guess I will have to do what I normally do at school after class and study.

In May I am looking forward to the State iNaturalist gathering. I have not been to a state gathering yet but this year I am going to give it my all to go to this one. I may not be able to stay the whole duration but heck a weekend is more than enough to get some big numbers. I was able to make over 90 observations on my trip to the coast which was the weekend right before Christmas. I have to remember that I made 211 observations in one night at @kimberlietx's birthday bioblitz. I hardly get to go out to hill country unless it is to go to Enchanted Rock or the surrounding areas. I have only been down that way a handful of times. To add I have been there twice in the last seven years of my life. I love to go out there when I have the time and the chance to go. There is a ton of cool things out there. I would love to meet some of the birders and do some mothing while I am down there as well as do my own exploring. I normally stay with the pack but I do find some pretty cool stuff when I go solo. So I will be doing a little bit of different things. For both events I will have to take the Beat Sheet and the stick AKA "old net hilt" may do some sweep netting too just got to prioritize and make sure I don't carry too much with me. May switch out tools for different days. Definitely doing Saturday and Sunday. I am going to get down there Friday. It is going to be so much fun. I can hardly wait to do this. I know I have to wait a while for it but I can only imagine what is down there around that time of year. Hoping for a lot of moths and other insects. Saturday will be the day I do the mothing since I will be pretty much zonked on Friday getting down there.

Then there is one thing that I need to wait unit summer for and that is to down to the Austin Bridge where the bats are; and go down to Hornsby Bend sometime. I need to do that this year since I was not able to get down there last year due to family matters and things. 2018 was a very hard year for all of us. I hope this year is much better. Still on the search for that Dragonhunter Dragonfly. I want to see one so bad. I know Hornsby Bend has seen a few and so has Caddo Lake. @sambiology @brentano is it Gus Englin where they have the majority of them in Texas? correct me if I am wrong. I am going to try and go for all three places just to check them out and see what is out there. I want to go and find even more bugs this year. There is just so much I want to do and so many places I want go to. Most of these areas are day trips but it would be nice to spend a night or two down in Austin to also go to Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center. That would be amazing!

Other than that I got a lot of things up in the air just waiting for something to come down. I will have to play most of the other stuff by ear but yeah National Moth Week and the Oliver Nature Park BioBlitz are further away. I predict a very full year of iNaturalist and who knows I might even get a full month put in to iNaturalist. I have been pretty dang close on filling up one whole month of observations but I have not done that yet. This year that is one of my main goals. The sky is the limit and for me more hiking, nature exploration, trips, travels, and a lot of fun. Hoping 2019 will be better year for me and my family. We had a lot of ups and downs last year. It was a good year in parts but with my mom dying so suddenly it took a lot out of us. We are back on track though and days seem to get easier the more we spend with each other and the more time we spend outdoors. Until next time I will see you on the trail.

Publicado el 06 de enero de 2019 a las 12:44 AM por galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario