April 24, 2015

  • Baby Doves

    BMDvs 1r

    ~ baby mourning doves ~

    BMDvs 2r

    BMDvs 3rs

    They were right below our office window, under the feeders;
    the two babies were not getting very far from their mama,
    but she gently tried to put a little distance between them after a bit.

    BMDvs 4rs

    "Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?"
    Isaiah 60:8
    TGBTG

April 12, 2015

  • Red-Winged Blackbird

    RwBb 1

    Yesterday afternoon, this handsome gentleman paid a call to the feeder outside our office window.

    RwBb 2

    He squawked quite a bit ~ I'm not sure why ~ no one was paying attention except me.
    His scarlet epaulets were quite striking ~ brilliant red in the bright sunlight.

    RwBb 3

    Every time he opened his mouth, his red shoulders flared out to better show them off.

    RwBb 4

    He made quite the racket ~ very distracting ~ they actually have a trilling song
    that is much more pleasing to the ear, but he was just all about squawking yesterday ~ ;)

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    These harbingers of spring don't come to the feeder often ~ they feed
    mostly on insects ~ although in winter, they switch to seeds and grains.

    RwBb 9s

    I think, on this particular afternoon, he just wanted to be noticed ~ and he was ~ :)
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    "And all the people took notice of it, and it pleased them . . ."
    II Samuel 3:36
    TGBTG

April 5, 2015

  • Happy Resurrection Day!

    Lunar eclipse 040415rs

    I took this photo of the lunar eclipse yesterday morning with my old camera
    since the "sensor debris" would not show up on a dark photo.
    My new camera does not do as well with photos in the dark, it seems like;
    but that could just be because I don't yet know HOW to operate it correctly ~ :-/

    Rd 15 3

    Just thought I would share a few house sparrow photos with you;
    these nuisance birds can still be entertaining and sometimes even pose a bit ~ :)

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    This one was exploring one of my wren houses ~ the hole is supposed to be
    too small for sparrows, but they have chiseled away at it until they can now get in ~ :(

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    RD 15 1s

    Hoping your day is especially beautiful ~ have a blessed Resurrection Day!
    "Fear not . . . ye are of more value than many sparrows."
    Luke 12:7
    TGBTG
    Hallelujah!  He is risen! He is risen indeed!

April 3, 2015

  • Pileated Woodpeckers

    LL PW 1rcs

    This pair of pileated woodpeckers has been visiting my aunt's home nearly every day this spring.
    They can measure over 19" in length ~ enormous suet-eating birds
    which can peck humongous chunks out of fallen logs or rotting trees.
    They especially like to find carpenter ants in those dead trees.
    I think they look almost prehistoric ~ such a striking look about them.
    She gave me permission to share the photo which was taken by her husband.  Enjoy!

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    "The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad."
    Pslam 126:3
    TGBTG

March 30, 2015

  • New Camera Tryout

    My camera ~ which I dearly loved ~ developed a "sensor debris" problem which could not be fixed ~ :(
    So, I'm experimenting with my new one here ~

    Ap 15 1r

    This chap is looking for spring ~ hope it is just around the corner ~ :)

    Ap 15 3r

    Ap 15 4r

    So, what do you think?  Will this camera do okay?

    Ap 15 2r

    Since it is a different "brand" than I have had for my last three cameras,
    it is going to take a bit of "getting used to", but am hoping to figure it all out soon.
    Give me your opinion ~ :)
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    "Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth . . ."
    Isaiah 43:19
    TGBTG

March 5, 2015

  • 3 Days with 2 Dears

    PWTM 15 1rd

    A few weeks ago, we took my mother and her sister for a little getaway at Pokagon State Park;
    we stayed in the gorgeous Potawatomi Inn in northeastern Indiana ~ known for its popular toboggan run.

    PWTM 15 1a

    This painting in the inn portrays the entrance to the park.

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    PWTM 15 3

    ~ antique toboggan in the entry ~

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    So many of my photos taken in the dimly-lit inn were a tad blurry ~ :(

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    They still had a few Christmas displays here and there.

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    Some of the sculptures had me and my aunt drooling ~ gorgeous!
    She loves birds even more than I do, I think.

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    We loved this antler transformed into an eagle.

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    They have several old boat motors on display ~ Clayton was pleased to find one like his grandfather used to have.

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    For two days, we played endless games of Qwirkle, Michigan Rummy, 42 ~ and one mandatory game of Scrabble
    that I told them they had to play ~ just for my sake ~ I love that game, but the rest of them don't ~ ;)

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    A warm fire blazed in the lobby fireplace, night and day.

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    There must have been a dozen jigsaw puzzles strewn throughout the lobby
    and down the long, picture-windowed hallway ~ several people were enjoying them.

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    ~ loved this lobby window ~

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    ~ native American quotes ~

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    A window in our room looked out over the frozen Lake James.

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    The front lawn must be a beautiful place to sit in the summertime.

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    ~ that famous toboggan run ~
    The quarter-mile run features a drop of 90 feet over the length of the course;
    the rails are refrigerated and the thrilling ride down the run usually lasts less than one minute.

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    ~ fireplace in the dining hall ~

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    Now that is one giant eagle! ~ the carving stood in the corner of the dining hall.

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    Upside-down boats and canoes are hung from the dining hall ceiling.

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    ~ luscious breakfast buffet ~

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    Clayton and I walked downstairs to see what the pool area looked like;
    they also have a large game room down there with an air hockey game and a ping-pong table.

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    Caricatures on the wall were fun to see.

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    The squirrel station drew a lot of chuckling onlookers.

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    ~ white-breasted nuthatch ~
    Birdfeeders were really busy since the weather was so very cold and snowy.

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    We just really enjoyed gazing out at the frosty landscape while staying toasty warm inside the inn.

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    A few brave souls shoveled a place on the frozen lake to do a bit of ice skating.

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    Our lovely time away ended all too soon ~ Mother and her sister ~ ready to brave the cold again.

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    I think this place could quickly become a favorite for us ~ it was absolutely wonderful.
    The food, atmosphere, setting ~ everything was fabulous; we would like to enjoy it with our children sometime.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    "My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest."
    Exodus 33:14
    TGBTG

March 2, 2015

  • Texas Trip ~ Take 6

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    Our last day on the island, we took one more very slow, long-drawn-out walk on the boardwalk
    at the convention center ~ we were slightly sad, as it was most likely the last time we will visit there.

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    ~ beautiful redhead ducks ~

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    ~ American wigeon ~

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    The ten roseate spoonbills were taking a nap.

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    But to cheer us up, the reddish egret was back on his perch . . .

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    . . . and in the brisk breeze, I must say, he was having a very bad hair day.

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    I could hardly stop photographing him ~ his windblown feathers just made me laugh!

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    Then we stopped at the beach restaurant to watch the waves one last time;
    a hungry willet searched for lunch in the frothy surf.

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    We shared a fish sandwich for lunch, had a fellow tourist snap our picture, then headed south to the bridge.

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    Farewell, South Padre ~ we will miss you!

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    After crossing the bridge, we stopped at a favorite ice cream parlor ~ yes, we were stalling, trying to stretch the sunny hours.

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    ~ giant fish sculpture in the harbor ~

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    Clayton nearly got nabbed ~ :D

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    On the drive back to Harlingen, we stopped at a roadside stand and bought some red grapefruit to take home.

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    We flew home the next day ~ a last view of south Texas.

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    When we got home, I turned this picture into wallpaper for my computer for those days when everything is going crazy.
    I shall long remember that silly reddish egret ~ he had personality plus ~ so hilarious!
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    "He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings
    shalt thou trust:  His truth shall be thy shield and buckler."
    Psalm 91:4
    TGBTG

February 25, 2015

  • Texas Trip ~ Take 5

    TX 0131 1

    On the morning of January 31, I walked to the beach in the pre-dawn to catch the sunrise.

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    It turned out to be a glorious one!

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    I changed my camera setting to "sunset" for this shot ~ a whole different tone.

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    During the late morning, we walked the boardwalk at the convention center and watched the kite fliers
    who were having some kind of get-together, further on down the waterway.

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    We told our grandson that we found Nemo ~ :)

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    I enjoyed photographing this reddish egret ~ he had so much personality!

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    In this photo, he was giving the eye to an approaching great egret,
    which was planning to take over his spot in the reeds.

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    The great egret won the contest . . .

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    . . . and the reddish egret pouted.

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    ~ great blue heron ~

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    ~ willet ~

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    ~ little blue heron ~

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    ~ northern pintail and redhead ducks ~

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    ~ American coot and black-necked stilt ~

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    This is as close as I've ever been able to get to a black-necked stilt in the wild.

    TX 0131 36s

    I had to be very patient to get a photo of it with its head out from beneath its wing;
    it only briefly looked out about once every 3 or 4 minutes.

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    We rested at the motel awhile, then walked the beach in late afternoon ~ needed a jacket that day,
    as the wind was brisk and it was decidedly cooler than the day before.

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    That evening, we crossed the bridge to eat at Pelican Station, with a window seat looking out over the bay.

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    I ordered fish and shrimp . . .

    TX 0131 44

    . . . . and Clayton had fish and oysters ~ and then we shared ~ so delicious!
    When we crossed back over the bridge, there were lights flashing,
    warning motorists to watch for pelicans flying across the bridge.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    "Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee.
    Hide not Thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble . . .
    I am like a pelican of the wilderness . . ."
    Psalm 102:1-2, 6
    TGBTG

February 21, 2015

  • Texas Trip ~ Take 4

    TX 013015 1

    ~ sunrise over the Gulf of Mexico from our motel window ~ 1/30/2015 ~

    TX 013015 2

    Our motel's waffle-maker was quite the attraction.

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    After breakfast, we drove down to the birding center to enjoy the boardwalk out over the marsh.
    This great blue heron was enjoying the pool in front of the center.

    TX 013015 4s

    A reader just pointed out something really unusual about this photo;
    the heron has his mouth open ~ I remember he was squawking quite loudly.
    But in the reflection, his mouth is closed!!??
    How on earth does that happen??
    (an optical engineer ~ friend of a friend ~ says it has to to do with the angles;
    the upper beak does not show in the reflection because of the angle, apparently)

    TX 013015 5

    I love the way they rest their chins on their long, curved necks ~ :)

    TX 013015 6

    ~ Queen butterfly ~

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    Anybody know what this bush is called?

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    ~ beginning of the boardwalk ~

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    ~ great egret fishing for breakfast ~

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    ~ Eurasian collared-dove ~

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    TX 013015 11

    At first glance, I thought these were just mourning doves, like we have at home,
    but no, they are the Eurasian collared-doves ~ they are a nuisance at the birding center.

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    ~ common gallinule ~

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    ~ tri-colored heron ~

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    ~ red-eared slider ~

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    ~ great blue heron ~

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    ~ clapper rail ~
    They are so difficult to photograph, because they are not still for long
    as they weave in and out amongst the reeds along the shoreline.

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    TX 013015 24

    The birds weren't exceeding plentiful that morning;
    someone told us there was a flock of roseate spoonbills
    very near the boardwalk over at the convention center,
    so we rushed over to see if they were still there.

    TX 013015 25 collage 4

    Clayton stayed near the center, but I hurried out the walk
    and was fortunate to find 10 of them, just a few feet away from the walkway.

    TX 013015 26s

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    Ten minutes after I arrived, they began to lift off to fly to another location;
    I was disappointed, but felt very blessed to have gotten there in the nick of time.

    TX 013015 31

    TX 013015 31a collage 1

    ~ northern pintail ducks and a pair of American coots ~
    In Texas, the coots are called silver-billed gallinules, for some reason.

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    ~ reddish egret ~

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    ~ "blurry" black skimmers and seagulls ~
    I am disappointed this photo isn't sharp and clear ~ I just love the skimmers.

    TX 013015 38

    ~ tri-colored heron ~

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    ~ green heron ~

    TX 013015 40 collage 3

    ~ sora ~
    These little birds are about the size of a quail ~ so hard to see amidst the reeds.
    I just love their little turned-up tails ~ reminds me of my favorite bird ~ the wren.
    Their yellow feet are huge, compared to their body size.

    TX 013015 41

    Back at the center, I found hubby catching a few winks ~ :)

    TX 013015 42

    After we left the center, we walked the beach for a short while only,
    as a cool wind was picking up and the sky was beginning to cloud over.

    TX 013015 42a

    We did run on to the two men who had dug for the ghost shrimp bait the day before;
    they showed us their catch of whiting they had just caught, using those shrimp!

    TX 013015 43

    Every year, we look forward to eating fried oysters at Blackbeard's ~ our tasty lunch.

    TX 013015 44

    After sitting in the sun for an hour by the pool, while Clayton napped in our room,
    we returned to the birding center for a guided birding tour.
    A snowy egret, with its bright yellow feet, was fishing in the shallows.

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    ~ clapper rail ~

     

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    ~ little blue heron ~
    I really enjoy these very small herons ~ we don't see them very often.

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    ~ willets ~

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    ~ pied-billed grebe ~

     

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    ~ green heron ~

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    On this tour, our guide pointed out a marsh wren that was flitting through the tall reeds;
    it was a first sighting for me and I was thrilled to catch a glimpse of it,
    although it was impossible to get a photo ~ the guide said he had only been able
    to photograph one once in seven years, because they rarely sit still and are so quick.

    TX 013015 57

    We learned a lot on the tour ~ for example, our guide told us that sunning themselves helps an alligator to digest its food.
    I guess that's good to know ~ ?? ~ :)

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    That night, we ate fish and shrimp tacos at Captain Roy's;
    this prayer was on the wall and made us think of our sons ~ we knew how much they and their families
    would have enjoyed being on the island with us.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    "What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
    For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
    Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet . . .
    The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas."
    Psalm 8:4-6, 8
    TGBTG

February 14, 2015

  • Texas Trip ~ Take 3

    TX 012915 1

    On the 29th, we made our way out to South Padre Island.

    TX 012915 2

    Since we arrived early, our room wasn't ready yet ~ we decided to drive down to the convention center
    for a walk on the boardwalk through the marsh, which lies between the intercoastal waterway and the Gulf of Mexico.

    TX 012915 3

    The center has some very interesting displays about the history of the island.
    The middle display tells of the Great Coyote Hunt/Round-Up in the early 1930's ~ quite the fascinating tale.

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    Our first bird sighting was this group of 10 roseate spoonbills and a couple white ibis.

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    Clayton spotted several fish swimming near the surface in one pool.

    TX 012915 11

    ~ common gallinule (moorhen) ~
    The birding area used to have a purple gallinule in residence, but last year, a visitor witnessed
    a great blue heron eating the poor thing ~ they haven't seen any of them in the marsh since then ~ :(

    TX 012915 12 collage 2

    Out near the waterway, there were lots of birds.
    This snowy egret spent a lot of time preening its wispy white feathers.

    TX 012915 15

    Ya just gotta love those yellow boots! ~ :)

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    ~ great blue heron ~

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    ~ tri-colored heron ~

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    ~ American wigeons ~

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    ~ black skimmers ~
    They fly very close to the surface, trailing their bottom beak through the water to catch prey ~ so fun to watch.

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    We then drove northward on the island to a public access to watch the waves;
    however, it was such a perfect day, with almost no breeze at all, so the surf was pretty quiet.

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    We wanted to stop at this place last year, but it was entirely too cold then ~ they have all outdoor seating.
    We shared a fish sandwich and a pina colada ~ ahhhh ~ island life!

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    It was so enjoyable to just sit and watch the ocean and the gulls.

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    After we checked in, we walked down to the beach for awhile ~ just soaked up the warm weather ~ such bliss.

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    About a half-mile south on the beach, we ran across this series of intricate sandcastles;
    someone told us a class of school children had been there and built them in just a few hours.

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    We walked the beach for over an hour ~ we think it was about the prettiest day we have ever seen on South Padre;
    there was no wind, glorious sunshine, perfect temperature, warm water.
    It is a wonderful husband who agrees to carry his wife's sandals while she walks through the surf ~ :)

    TX 012915 45

    These two fellows were digging for ghost shrimp to use for bait;
    fishermen are allowed to collect no more than 20 in one day.

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    Ghost shrimp can burrow as deep as four feet and can survive up to 6 days without oxygen.
    Their burrows look like these little volcanos in the sand ~ this one was under water,
    but since the water was extremely clear, we could easily see it.

    TX 012915 47

    I did not take this picture ~ found it online.  Ghost shrimp are transparent
    and are actually more closely related to a crab than a shrimp.
    They are about 3-4 inches in length and are considered a protected species,
    since they are an important part of the food chain for migratory birds.

    TX 012915 48

    ~ such very clear water ~

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    A group of older folks was playing beach bocce ~ looked like a lot of fun.

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    We drove down to the south end of the island and didn't see much
    except this group of brown pelicans just bobbing around in the bay.

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    In all the years we have visited the island, we had never driven through the residential area;
    so that day we did ~ it looked like a lovely place to live ~ hey, honey, there's a place for sale! ~ :)

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    That night, we returned to one of our favorite restaurants;
    the entire restaurant sits atop a covered pier ~ it is
    only one aisle wide, and in wild weather, the waves literally rock your table!
    That happened to us last year ~ waves were hitting the windows beside us;
    but this year, it was totally calm and peaceful.

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    Fish are painted on the floor and metal fish adorn the walls.

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    We had a clear view from our window of the bridge to the island.

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    The servings were huge ~ we forgot to share and neither of us could finish our meal ~ :(

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    ~ beginning of sunset ~

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    I walked out the back of the restaurant, on down the pier a ways to capture the sunset;
    there were lots of things in the way ~ this is the best shot I could get.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    "Keep silence before me, O islands; and let the people renew their strength . . ."
    Isaiah 41:1
    TGBTG