Bird Brain Chronicles, Bird pics and story

Return of the Bird Brain Chronicles!

I began a series of articles on birds in Corpus Christi, and anywhere I visited last year that I called the Bird Brain Chronicles. When my mother died, I put things on hold, and never got started again. Today, I decided I needed to get back to taking pictures of birds again, which I did at the Suter Wildlife Refuge in Corpus Christi. Then, I did a bird brain thing and didn’t realize that I had changed a setting when I too full moon pics a couple of weeks ago. So, these pics aren’t as sharp as I expected they would be. If you were to talk with my wife, she would tell you I whined about the pics the whole time I was picking the best of the bad lot I took. Still, I’m posting these because the birds are beautiful and I’m trying to document the birds I see. Be gentle as you look at these pics!


Northern Shoveler
Northern Shoveler

As you enter the the walkway over the wetlands, there’s a holding pond and outlet to the bay. I’ve seen a number of different birds there, but I almost always see this beautiful bird, known as a Norther Shoveler. This one was swiming in the outlet area after leaving the holding pond earlier. The Shovelers were flocking in the holding pond. I had the chance to talk with a couple from Fort Worth as we both watched. I enjoy talking with other birders, although putting myself in the class of a birder might be overstimating my ability as a birder. I saw a few Northern Coots mixed in with the Shoveler flock, but didn’t get a good picture of one.





Black Necked Stilt
Black Necked Stilt

I love black necked stilts. Their legs are so long that they do look like they’re on stilts. There’s an elegance to their awkward walk that makes me smile. This was the first bird I really noticed when I got to the farthest end of the boardwalk. He was slowly walking through the shallows looking for his brunch. (Brunch, of course, being served after ten and before noon.) I looked away some other birds when I heard a couple of real bird watchers talking about them, and when I looked back, he had disappeared. I usually see a stilt or two any time I come to this refuge and quite often in other parts of the city. I think they’re beautifu birds.





Green Wing Teal
Green Wing Teal

These are the birds that I overheard a couple of real bird watchers talk about. They’re beautiful green wing teals. They must have been doing lunch because they swam together, ducking their heads under water for whatver food they could find. (No pun intended.) I took a lot of pictures trying to get a good view, and I won’t continue to beat myself up by saying that I messed up the settings on the camera. That bothered me because this was the first time I’d ever seen a green wing teal. I am reminded though, that even more important than a great picture is seeing the beauty of God’s creation in person. I continue to be amazed at the beauty and diversity of God’s creation.





Brown pelican
Brown pelican


If you know me, you know that I’d have a brown pelican in the picture mix somewhere. I love watching white or brown pelicans, but I’ve come to realize the beauty and variety among brown pelicans is amazing. I’ve often said that Steve Spielberg must have been thinking of these birds when he designed the flight patterns of the pteradactyls from Jurassic Park. This one was a little farther out in the water, but in some places they’ll walk around within a few feet of people.






As we were looking at the birds spread out in the bay, these little birds cae running up the shallows looking for food. An old guy like me got tired just watching them running around. They don’t look too small in this cropped picture, but they were tiny little birds. They were so fast that when I looked away, they disappeared and I saw them later way off in the distance. These were new birds for a life list, if I kept up with one. If you think about diversity and variety in the bird world, you have sea birds like pelicans and great blue herons who are large, and then you have small birds like sanderlings – all of those beautiful birds playing an important part in our amazing ecosystem designed by God. I have a few other pictures that I could share, but I’m going to stop tonight. I plan to share more pics, and I hope that I get the settings right in the future. Look around as you walk about this amazing world and enjoy the beauty of God’s world.












Bird Brain Chronicles, Bird pics and story

January 17 – A Few Surprises

I still do some volunteer work for our school district and today was one of the days that I had to meet for a committee I’m on. I brought my camera, in case I had time after our work to go down to the Bayfront and get some pics. I chose to go to Cole Park, one of the more popular places for activities in Corpus Christi. There’s fishing off the sea wall, walking and biking trails, a kids playground, a skate park, and an amphitheater. I didn’t expect much in terms of new birds, but, I figured I’d get a few pictures I could use. Was I surprised!



Well, not at first. The first birds I saw were the grackles all over the ground. I had to laugh at the picture you see here, because I imagined Jimmy Cagney as the gangster boss with his hands clasped behind his back as he was addressing the thugs under his command. While there was a flock in the grass, I was happy that I focused on this grackle.





I turned my attention towards the water, where, beyond the man fishing, a few cormorants were out searching for food. I considered them a whole heard of mini loch ness monsters. There seemed to be some interesting interplay between them as they worked together and then moved off on their own, only to work with the other one. Definitely shifting allegiances for these three.




The seagulls gave me a few smiles. The still pics don’t show the battle for the perch on the light, but these two guys got disrupted a few times and eventually there were three on the light. Then, when I tried to get a picture of the three, they all flew off.




I didn’t mention the fishing pier out at Cole Park, because it’s been condemned. I normally wouldn’t have two pictures of gulls, but, there are some pigeons here two, so this is a pigeon picture. It’s hard to tell from this pic, but the gulls were on the top rank of the railing and the pigeons wee on the bottom. I can’t imagine living downstairs from the gulls in a situation like this. The pigeons didn’t seem to mind in general, but there were a couple who tried to move on up to the top floor.


As I moved along the Bayfront, I saw these ruddy turnstones. While I had seen them before, they were a pleasant surprise. I found them in a couple of places along the way. This pic with the two of them appeared to be both of them moving away from threats – one being me. I’m sure when they met here, they warned each other about the danger ahead of them. One of those dangers was me.


Then, I saw the willett. While I had seen these birds in the past, I hadn’t seen any this year. It was a nice surprise.





Next, I saw this little bird that I thought was a ruddy turnstone at first, but when I focused on him, I realized that it was something different. When I got home, I looked him up and discovered that he was a spotted sandpiper. This was a new one for me, or a lifer, and it was a great surprise. But wait…there’s more!





I still haven’t figured out what this one is. Google images caught it as a common sandpiper, but they’ve been so far off that it isn’t funny. It looked to me like the sandpiper feet were claws and this one’s were webbed. I could be wrong though. But, if I don’t know what it is, obviously, it’s new to me. Another nice surprise.





My son called while I was walking back to the car and we discussed some of the arrangements for my mom’s memorial service. As we were getting ready to hang up, this pelican came flying by. I had to get this picture.




Finally, one last surprise. This bird, I didn’t have time to identify him was swimming along the way to my car. I’ll be looking him up and identifying him in an edit when I can.

I had far lower expectations for this trip than I had or any of my other excursions so far this year. There were four new birds for the year, with three of them new for my career as a birder. The day was full of surprises and left me in a great mood.

Bird Brain Chronicles, Bird pics and story

January 9 – Birding and Fishing About the Same

I grew up doing a lot of fishing. When you asked the guys in the bait shops about the fishing, they’d be sure to give one of two answers. “Well, good luck to ye. You shoulda been here yesterday, though.” or  “This ain’t exactly the best time to go fishing, next week is when the fish start running here.” I thought of that today when I decided to make Wednesday my “Wandering Wednesdays” where I travel a bit farther away from home than normal. I went to Indian Point Park which is on the bay between Portland and Corpus Christi. I’ve talked with guys who’ve gotten amazing pictures there. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve driven by there and looked at my wife, wondering why I didn’t have my camera. So, today I went expecting multitudes of birds and great picture taking opportunities.


The first bird I saw was this sparrow. This feisty little bird saw me trying to steal his soul with my camera and skedaddled across the path and out of the way, but not before I got a few good shots in. Then, I walked down a boardwalk that’s set up to allow you to view the wildlife without harming the ecosphere. There are lots of little “pond” type areas, perhaps large tide pools, that draw the birds in. On normal days. But today was not normal – I was there to take pictures. I saw a flock of gulls a little beyond decent picture taking range and snapped a few shots to see if I could find something worth editing later.





As I was walking along though, this beautiful bird flew in. I don’t normally do two pictures of any type of bird on this blog, although they can all be seen in my Facebook Photo album, but after doing a few minutes of fashion modeling after he landed, this tri-colored heron  began hunting. While this was just my observation from this one tri-color, they spread their wings before grabbing at the critters in the tide pools that they see. Perhaps this is meant to strike fear in the hearts of their intended prey. I just thought it was kind of cute. I had high hopes for the day when I saw this tri-colored heron.



As I walked farther along, I saw an egret off in the distance. I took a shot, but it was too far away for it to  be much of a shot. I walked back, took a few more shots of the heron, and then looked around this park that I’d never visited before. There was nothing interesting in the pier area so I tried to walk down the road past the pools of water, hoping to see something. I saw one bird that was so far away that for awhile I wasn’t sure it was a bird! I’ve decided it was a heron of some kind, great blue or (more likely) a tri-colored. It was so far away that even enlarging it with Photoshop didn’t help. Walking didn’t yield any good shots, so I walked back and decided to drive further up the road.



I did see another tri-colored heron as i was driving so I pulled over and took shots through the open window. They came out ok, but I liked the shots I showed earlier better. After taking those shots, I tried a different place in this area, but those areas that are normally full of birds were empty. I still wanted a few more pics, so I headed back to the T-heads and my go to spot when I absolutely have to get some bird pictures. I didn’t take any pictures of the grackles, but there were some cormorants, seagulls (surprise!), pigeons, and brown pelicans. Most of the pelicans were sleeping, as if they were enforcing the Corpus Christi siesta. The guy in the pic below, I call him Peligandolf. He’s telling us that we will not pass. I’ll just leave the other types below the last paragraph without any further comment.

Even on a low volume day, Corpus Christi has a wide variety of birds and I love the opportunity to see God’s creation here.


Daily Work

First Short Story Has Been Released

I am excited! While I have a couple of my non-fiction books available, my first fiction story in an anthology has just been published! It can be found by clicking either the front cover or the back cover of the book below. The title is One Last Performance and it’s the story of an aging actor’s last performance. I had fun writing it and I hope you have fun reading it. The cost is $8.99 for the paperback and $2.99 for the Kindle. It’s also on Kindle Unlimited, so it’s available at no extra cost there.


And…if there’s a first, there has to be a second, right? I have another short story coming out August 7. More on that later.

Daily Work

March 29 – A Long Day, And Do I Owe People!

I finished my devotional a little later than I should have today and had to leave almost immediately to go to tutoring. This being the first day of baseball season, I wore my Cubs jersey. Living in Corpus Christi, the location of the Astros AA team the Hooks, I’ve become an Astros fan in the American league, but my first love is still the Cubs. After tutoring, I got money from the bank for the first half of April since we didn’t know when they would close. Then I went grocery shopping. It took me an extra 30 minutes because people wanted to talk about the Cubs. One of the workers pulled out her phone to show pictures she’d taken at Wrigley Field a few years ago. Then, I began some editing while watching a replay of the game. That evolved into cooking supper when my wife came home, and then more editing to get my quota for the day.

I owe people because a lot of you have stopped by and I haven’t returned the favor. I’m planning on doing that tomorrow. I do appreciate you stopping by.

This morning’s devotional – 501 words: March 29 – Fishing on the Other Side of the Boat

I only edited 4 days of devotionals today due to the busy-ness of the day. I’m up to May 23. I would like to finish May before the end of the month and get June done the first week of April.