Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring in Texas . . . and other pretty things

My trip back down to Corpus Christi and North Padre Island brought me into the spring zone of Texas. With springtime, and enough water, the desert blooms. I don't know how much of a lot of these flowers is native wildflower, but they are treated as such regardless. Large areas have been seeded over the many years in various beautification efforts. As I drove I saw a field full of the small blue bonnet that flowers here . . . . so much smaller than the tall lupine I witnessed last summer at the north shore of Lake Superior, but the same kind of flower. Notice the blue haze at the top of the above picture. Yes, it is a field full of the Texas Bluebonnet, the state flower. Click the picture for a closer view. I don't know what all these flowers are, but they are pretty, and a delight to see after winter. Soon the bloom will make it further up into my area of Texas, but I don't know how much Abilene blooms. I do know the Metroplex of Dallas and Ft Worth have lots of bluebonnets on the freeway system. At one of the locations that I stopped to take pictures I saw hummingbirds sipping the nectar of the wildflowers. They have made it back to South Texas, and will continue their migration as the flower bloom proceeds. I heard red-wing blackbirds in some trees in a little community nearby where I stopped overnight to camp. They bring spring with them on the backs of their red wings. Even the yucca is blooming! At the beach, here is one of the black-faced gulls hanging out at the water's edge. It is possibly a Laughing Gull, based on their call, or even a Franklin's Gull . . . I don't know which. I didn't bring my bird book and didn't look close enough. A crowd of them gathered when I tied my hawk out, crying their alarm call. I put Cimarron into his box, ending his weathering session, when they started to dive bomb him. The beach was littered with seaweed. There were also a lot of Portuguese Man-O-Wars . These are a hazard of the beaches on Padre Island, and the seaweed was full of them, of various sizes. Very interesting looking creatures . . . dangerous to touch. I linked to a description of them. It was a nice weekend trip . . . a bit sad considering why I was there . . . but I think for the best in all things. This was a last look at the beach, which I may not visit now for a good long time, if ever again. I traveled and camped in a quiet State Park north of San Antonio, returning home on Sunday. I had done quite a lot of camping in the past few years, getting spoiled by having a travel companion last summer. Those days will come again! There are lots of parks in Minnesota and the surrounding states I'd like to see. Put it on the agenda Rich!

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