Thursday, June 19, 2014

Still More Texas? There's a lot of it!

Stopped just across the Texas-Louisiana line in the town of Sulphur. (Appealing, no?)

We left Corpus Christi a little after 7:30 this morning and headed north along the Texas Gulf coast toward Houston. Along the way we stopped at the Aransas Wildlife Refuge to do a little birding. Very little as it turned out. Being the heat of summer, most of the birds have long since moved north. The best times would be the fall, winter and spring. Fall and spring bring the migrants moving along the central corridor, and winter brings some birds that stop here rather than move further the whooping cranes.

We did get to view some of the mammals that inhabit the place. Lots of white-tailed deer wandered about in the late morning and some had their spotted fawns in tow. Three wild hogs (feral crosses between Russian boars and domestic pigs) were feeding on the marsh grasses along the gulf and two javalina or peccaries briefly popped out of the brush. Terry was very happy not to see any of the snakes and the only alligator I wanted to see was on a platter.

We did see plenty of Northern Cardinals, Mourning Doves, Great Blue Herons, Red-winged Blackbirds, Wild Turkey, Turkey Vultures and Black Vultures and one Red-tailed Hawk--all species we can see back home in Pennsylvania. Snowy Egrets, Great Egrets and Cattle Egrets were also abundant, The first two we can see on the New Jersey coast. Other species that we won't see back home appeared in just one or two individuals and included Painted Bunting, Bob-white Quail, and Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. Terry also claims to have seen a Roseatte Spoonbill while we were driving along. "Had to be," she says. "Big pink bird with a weird, flat bill." I was busy paying attention to the road *ahem* so I didn't see it.


We skirted southeast of Houston before reconnecting with I-10 and heading east toward Louisiana.

I will never complain about the 312 miles of I-80 in Pennsylvania again. Used to be you'd hit the western end of that highway and think you were almost home to New Jersey but three hours later you were still only at mile post 300 and hadn't yet reached the Delaware Water Gap. Well, I10 in Texas is 880 miles long! Granted, it crosses the state by making a V, but still...! We didn't travel the whole thing having dipped northward to New Mexico for Carlsbad and then southward from San Antonio to go to Corpus Christi, but we were on a good deal of it over three days. (I-5 in California is about 790 miles from the northern border to southern and is nearly straight.)


We got our fix of birding and cajun food today so all is right with the world. Tomorrow we head east on I-10 for just a little longer and then we'll turn north on I-59 to head homeward.

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