Bullet Holes in the Telescope?

Luckily the wind wasn’t too bad this morning so the bird walk actually happened. There was some wind so there weren’t as many birds around as we would have liked so the walk turned into a drive as the group checked the local hot spots for birds. An added bonus for Ed and I as we hadn’t driven on some of the roads we went on.

This evening was the “dinner and 107" telescope viewing” which we had based our visit around. After dinner everyone headed up to the observatory for a talk on spectroscopy by one of the visitor center staff and a talk by a Phd student who was scheduled to use the telescope tonight — both were very interesting. The dome cannot be opened if the wind reaches speeds above 50 mph in the previous 30 minutes and as the wind was gusting to 57 mph the dome didn’t open so no viewing for us. Plan B was to put the telescope into maintenance mode (i.e. lower it and make it parallel to floor) so we could look down the telescope at the mirror. This was actually really interesting. When you looked down the telescope you noticed a couple of marks on the glass about the size of a dime. Turned out that a year or so after the telescope was in operation (late 60s) one of the astronomers had a melt down and shot at the mirror, he also hit it with a hammer or some other heavy object which explained some of the “scratch” marks. The mirror is more than a foot thick so I guess it takes more than a bullet to shatter it. The only effect of the “flaws” is to make the 107" telescope equal in power to a 106" ---- pretty amazing. We also went into the control room where the Phd student showed us how the some of the equipment worked.


Loggerhead Shrike

The Hobby Eberly Dome was sparkling in the sun.

The tour guide and his "spectroscopy" equipment.

Spectroscopy is about splitting light into the colour spectrum --- this is what we saw when we looked through a glass reflector. Astronomers use spectroscopy to determine the composition of an object, the direction it is moving and probably other things as well.

The Phd student in the control room --- he has 4 computer screens in front of him.

Looking down the telescope at the mirror --- the bullet holes are the three dots on the right side of the photo.

Starry, starry night --- a view as we were getting ready to head home.



Zaph's Pick

As we had been leaving Zaph alone a fair bit we decided that we would do things with him today. After a morning of bird watching we decided to go for a hike so it was up the mountain then down and back to the campsite for a rest.

Probably a Lesser Goldfinch.

The owners of this vehicle have a couple of opinions.

A House Finch.



Observatory Tour

Beside the Star Party, the McDonald Observatory also offers a day time program that includes a talk on the sun and a tour of two of their telescopes — the 107" (2.7 meters) and the 9.2 meter. The 9.2 meter telescope (Hobby Eberly) is actually made up 91 individual mirrors that are aligned to act as one mirror. Very interesting stuff.

The 107" telescope --- the floor moves up and down so people can access parts of the telescope.

The dome for the 107" telescope.

The Hobby Eberly Telescope. It doesn't have the conventional tube but is a metal frame. The mirror is sitting on the blue frame near the bottom of the photo.

This gives you an idea how the mirror looks.

The dome for the Hobby Eberly Telescope



Scenic Drive

There is a section of road in Fort Davis designated a “scenic drive”. It goes past the state park and the observatory eventually swinging south then east and back to Fort Davis. The drive was nice but I thought the drive from Fort Davis to Balmorhea was more spectacular and so was the drive from Study Butte to Presidio.

The domes from the 82" and 107" telescopes.

Pronghorn --- he/she has true horns not antlers and really big ears.

One of the views we saw --- we liked how the moon was over the hill.

Some of the many cattle we saw --- this guy has one horn pointing up and one pointing down --- I think there was a joke about that.

A mule deer beside our trailer at the park.



Star Party

There was a bird walk scheduled this morning at the park. Even though it was very windy — you had to hang for dear life when you opened the trailer door — we decided to walk over and see what was happening. The birds were all hiding, trying to stay out of the wind — the freshly filled feeders had very few takers — so the bird walk was changed to a bird talk. The volunteer at the park is very knowledgeable about birds so we learned a lot of interesting things. When the talk was breaking up we found out that the other park volunteer in the room is from Port Elgin (retired there from Toronto) and another attendee is from Burlington — it’s a very small world.

The winds died down a bit by mid afternoon so we hiked one of the trails in the park. The trail led us up to the top of one of the mountains where we had good views of the surrounding area and led us along several ridges till we descended near Indian Lodge. Built in 1933 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), Indian Lodge is a pueblo style hotel and restaurant that is part of the state park.

After supper, Ed and I headed up to the McDonald Observatory to attend a “Star Party”. We were able to look through a number of different telescopes and see a variety of “space objects” — the moon, Saturn, a pair of stars, a nebula, etc.

Female Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Cedar Waxwings

Lesser Goldfinch

Ed and Zaph on top of the world.

Looking down on Indian Lodge.

Some of the interesting rock formations around here.

The dead flower stock of the "century plant", an agave



Brown Air

We needed to run an errand and the closest town to run the errand in was Pecos so off we went. The first half of the drive was through stunning mountain scenery, while the second half was through very flat land. On the way back from Pecos we stopped at Balmorhea State Park which is known for it’s huge natural spring pool. The spring water naturally sits between 70F and 75F degrees ---- not warm enough for me but it would probably feel refreshing on a summer day when the temperature reached 100F.

The winds picked up this afternoon and about 5pm I looked out the windows and thought it looked sort of foggy but a light brown instead of the usual greyish white of fog. Later we found out that there was dirt in the air — apparently a normal occurrence for this area. If it rains during a “dust storm” everything gets covered in mud — I was happy we only had the dust.

Spotted Towhee

Western Scrub-Jay

Cactus Wren

Acorn Woodpecker

House Finch

The pool at Balmorhea --- it covers 1.75 acres --- now that's one big pool.

A view from the lookout on "Sky Line Drive"



Davis Mountains

After one last walk around the golf course, we packed up the trailer, loaded the dog into the truck and headed for Davis Mountains State Park. As we drove along a high plateau I commented to Ed that this was finally the Texas I’d pictured in my mind after growing up watching westerns. There was more grass and less cactus, more plains and less desert.

The main reason we came to the Davis Mountains was to visit the McDonald Observatory but now that we’ve seen the state park and brochures for the area we realize that there is a lot of other things to see and do here. There is a large population of mule deer in the park, a lot of different birds and by the smell a fair number of javelinas though we haven’t actually seen any. Javelinas have a musky smell much like a skunk.

The visitor center at the McDonald Observatory. The 10 meter by 11 meter telescope is in the dome at the top of the photo ---- now that's one big telescope (4th largest in the world!)

One of the many mule deer in the state park.



Big Bend Ranch State Park

Big Bend Ranch State Park is 10 miles outside of Presidio and yes it is a working ranch — they run cattle on it and you can stay at the ranch and help out during the cattle drive .... for a fee of course. It is about 25 miles from the main gate to the last view point on the main road and it takes about 1 hour to drive it — the speed limit is 25 mph and you really don’t want to drive any faster. Along the way you can hike to a spring and waterfall (need rain to see the waterfall), hike to Cinco Tinajas (Ed counted seven), stop and enjoy some great views and stop at the ranch house and check it out. The ranch house was about 20 miles in from the gate so they probably don’t get many unexpected guests.

This area called Las Cuevas is full of caves.

Hey Zaph, whose hiding in the bushes?

Don't want to tangle with this Texas Longhorn!

Interesting rock formations.

Zaph and I enjoying the view.

And this is what we're looking at .... the Cinco Tinajas.

The ranch house.

This area is called Solitario and is very interesting geologically speaking



The Big Hill

We had two nights before our reservation at Davis Mountain State Park so we opted to drive the trailer to Presidio and spend the two nights there so we could visit Big Bend Ranch State Park. As we had driven the road a couple of days earlier there were no surprises but looking at the state park map (it included the road to Presidio as part of the road is inside the park) and seeing the name “Big Hill” gives you pause for thought. It is a decent hill with 15% grade but we had done equally as steep hills in Alaska and BC that were much longer.

The RV park in Presidio (yup we only found one RV park) also has a golf course though I wouldn’t call it challenging — well except for someone like me who hasn’t played golf. The holes appear fairly flat and straight, no woods, no water traps. I guess if you are going to park your trailer pretty much in the middle of nowhere you need something to do.

The golf course with the trailer park in the back of the photo.



Play Time

Ed and I have always talked about renting a jeep and driving some of the back roads in the desert so we decided that today was the day and River Road in Big Bend National Park was the place. The road was actually in pretty good shape as a road grader had been run down it recently but it was still a lot more fun to drive in a jeep than it would have been in the truck. The long wheel base and it’s large size makes it a little tricky to take the truck off road in hilly country with narrow roads.

A Yucca in bloom.

One of the buildings at the old mercury mine in Big Bend.

Old and rusty --- what's left of a car at the mercury mine.

More old buildings at the mine

One happy jeep driver.

We had seen the front of this mountain many times .... but is was a first to see the backside.



Fantastic Drive

We had been told that the drive from Lajitas to Presidio has been rated as one of the most beautiful drives in the United States so it was a must do. The drive wound through the mountains following the river .... I think whoever rated it was correct. Near Presidio is Fort Leaton State Historical Site so we stopped for a visit and had a tour of the fort. Zaph really liked this place as we was allowed in the buildings and on the tour. Presidio is a town of about 4,200 people with it’s main feature being a border crossing into Mexico.

A Big Bend Blue Bonnet ... these can grow to over 5 feet tall.

A view of the river.

These buildings are part of the Contrabando movie set. A couple of made for TV movies were shot here in 1995 and 1999.

Some very interesting rock along side the road.

The Yucca plants are starting to bloom.

A yucca in bloom.

Some wildflowers by the side of the road

One of the scenes along the road.

Fort Leaton

Ok, Zaph start pulling.

One of the many rooms in the fort.

Zaph decided to check out the oven.

A mural on a building in Presidio.



I Thought No One Lived in a Ghost Town

This morning we headed out on a jeep tour to a privately owned ranched with 2 other people and a driver. It was a beautiful sunny day but unfortunately it was a little chilly and there was a cool breeze blowing — luckily the woman at the outfitters gave us blankets. We drove about 15 minutes north of town and then turned onto a privately owned ranch road .... well maybe trail is a better description. We stopped to look at fossils, desert plants and an old mercury mine.

In the afternoon, Ed and I headed to the Terlingua Ghostown. Terlingua had been a prosperous mercury mining community until 1942 when the Chisos Mining Company went bankrupt. All operations ceased permanently in 1944 with all the equipment being sold off. All that was left of the town were empty buildings. In 1967 the first international chili cook off was held in the ghost town and a homes were begining to be rebuilt and occupied. Our jeep tour guide is one of approximately 120 people who currently live in the ghost town and the town is also home to several restaurants and bars, a general store and a guest house. After our tour of Terlingua we headed to Lajitas about 15 miles west along the Rio Grande. The Big Bend Ranch State Park begins in Lajitas and continues north about 50 miles to the town of Presidio. The Barton Warnock Environmental Education Center and Museum presents an archeological, historical and natural profile of the Big Bend Region — lots of good information as well as a wonderful desert garden. Lajitas is also home to a large vacation resort .... I guess this is the place you go when you really want to get away from everything.

This is a Button Cactus.

The metal tubes are condensers used in the refining of mercury from the ore. Just to the left are 2 vertical shafts going down hundreds of feet.

A view from the mine site.

Willow mountain an example of columnar jointing --- jointing occurs when a thick body of magma cools slowly underground, contracts and splits into pencil-shaped columns.

One of the many ruins in Terlingua Ghostown.

Some of the ruins have been repaired and additions added making them livable. The one in the front is used as the reception area for the guest house.

Take me to your leader .... interesting decoration on this home.

Terlingua cemetery.

Is this a Yucca or an alien?

Yeah, Ed really is on the trip.

A pretty flower

The resort in Lajitas

One of many buttes along the road.

I guess the locals are in a hurry for their beer --- Speedy Drive Thru Beer.



Study Butte (pronounced stoodybyoot)

It was time to leave Big Bend National Park and we were doing the “big drive” — 55 miles to Study Butte. There are a number of sites outside of the national park including Big Bend Ranch State Park that we wanted to visit and it was a lot more convenient to do it from Study Butte besides I had a mountain of laundry to do and the laundry facilities were limited at Big Bend. You can guess what I did for most of the afternoon.



Hike to the Hot Spring

The hot springs is less than 2 miles as the crow flies from the campground, the hike was 3 miles first winding up the side of a limestone cliff then following the trail up and down the ridges until finally descending by the river near the hot spring. Definitely deserved to soak our feet when we arrived and deserved the ice cream when we got back to the campground. The views made the hike worthwhile.

A Roadrunner

A House Finch

A view from the trail looking up the river.

Another view of the river from the Hot Springs Trail

Another great view.



Hanging Out with Zaph

Zaph had been feeling neglected (dogs aren’t allowed on the trails in national parks so he’s been left in the trailer a lot) so we decided to take it easy today and hang around the trailer. What that really meant was walking around the campground and down to the picnic looking for birds as Zaph is allowed in these areas. Ed was happy as he was able to photograph some of the birds we’d seen earlier in the week when he was without camera.

Red-napped Sapsucker

Gold-fronted Woodpecker

Cedar Waxwing

A couple of Ravens hanging out in the campground

A female Vermillion Flycatcher --- not flashy like the male.



Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive

Another beautiful day and another day when the weather forecast was wrong ..... hurray!! Today’s adventure was a drive down the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. We stopped at a number of lookouts and walked a couple of the trails. One of our new favourites is the Burro Mesa Pouroff. After walking for about 1 mile through the desert we arrived at the pouroff — a curved vertical wall that can be a waterfall when it rains. We also hiked into the Santa Elena Canyon — an absolutely beautiful spot especially when the sun is shining.

Cerro Castellan --- the white stuff isn't snow, it's tuff (compressed volcanic ash).

Santa Elena Canyon

Another view of Santa Elena Canyon.

Tuff Canyon

Mule Ears --- a landmark you can see for miles

Another great view.

Is this the Javelina Highway? As soon as the Javelinas noticed the truck they dove off the side of the road.

Another beautiful sunset.

This coyote was wandering through the campground. Ed was able to take some photographs as it stood across the road from our campsite.



Looking for Birds

Ed joined Zaph and I on our morning walk in hopes of photographing some birds. The beginning of the walk was pretty quiet and when we spotted a Red-Shouldered Hawk sitting in a tree we understood why. A short while after the hawk flew off we started to see a number of smaller birds, lots of white-winged doves, robins, a red cardinal, a Crissal thrasher singing a very pretty song and lots of house finches. After breakfast we headed to Dugout Wells in hopes of finding more birds .... no luck there. It was a wet January so there's enough water around that the birds don’t need to visit the watering holes. Last year we didn’t make it outside of the park to the small town of Study Butte so we decided that we would this year. Definitely a small town though it does have a bank branch, a post office, motel and several campgrounds. I stopped by the post office but it was closed for lunch — sure sign of a small town. On the way back to the campground we decided to take a detour and head to Chisos Basin in the Chisos Mountains. Interesting to see it after seeing the old CCC slides from beginnings of the park.

A Crissal Thrasher

Our first siting of a Javelina at Big Bend. Last year there was a band touring through the campground every day but they were not as evident this year.

A view in the Chisos Mountains.

A view from a trail in the Chisos Basin.

An interesting cactus.

There is a tunnel on the main road heading to the campground. The view you see as you go through the tunnel.



Dog Canyon and the Devils Den

We decided to head to the north end of the park to hike into Dog Canyon. This is an area we have driven through entering or leaving the park but we’ve not spent any time here. It was an easy 2 ½ mile hike into the canyon, the 1st half followed a path through the desert and the 2nd half was in a wash that led into the canyon (the sky was clear and no forecast of rain so it was safe to walk in a wash). The canyon is a split between two sets of mountains, Santiago Mountains and the Sierra del Carmen.

On the hike out of the canyon we saw a sign for the Devils Den so we decided to hike that as well. This hike was a little tougher and we did lose the trail a couple of times but we found some cool looking tinajas and some great views. Oh it added about 5 miles to the original hike. I’m sure we burned off enough calories to justify the ice cream we bought we when got back to the campground.

Looking down Dog Canyon.

The holes in the rock high on a wall in Dog Canyon reminded Ed of a face.

We found this tinaja as we hiked up the wash towards the Devil's Den.

The cut in the ground is the Devil's Den.

That's me on the ridge looking down into the Devil's Den.

Another view of the the Devil's Den.

As the sun set's it reflects off the Sierra del Carmen. This is a view from the our trailer.



Spring is Here!

Walking around the campground we spotted a number of birds, the usual suspects Road Runners and then a number of red breasted guys .... Robins. Not only are American Robins here but the trees are starting to get leaves so it must be spring.

First adventure was a walk to the overlook by the picnic area, something we hadn't done last year. Second adventure was a walk to the Rio Grande (we seem to do that a lot at many different places). We spotted a couple of grebes, a coot and a Great Blue Heron .... are we really in a desert? Second adventure was a drive to Boquillas Canyon. After a short hike we were having a great view of the canyon.

Looking up at a Ladder-backed Woodpecker.

A female Cardinal having a snack.

View from the overlook.

Boquillas Canyon




Off to Big Bend National Park

It was a sunny and cool when we left Seminole Canyon but as we headed south to Big Bend National Park the temperature began to rise. By time we reached the park it was a wonderful 80 degrees. We had a reserved a campsite so we headed directly to it ... Ed was not pleased when we saw tents were on it. After a quick discussion with the campground hosts we found an even nicer campsite and landed the trailer. We spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out by the trailer enjoying the weather. In the evening we headed to the amphitheater and saw a slide show on the history of the park and the involvement of CCC in the development of the park.



Another Walk to the Rio Grande

The weather turned cold so we spent the morning inside hiding. In the afternoon we went to check out exhibit at the information centre then we headed down the trail to the Rio Grande again. Zaph really enjoyed the walk and as the weather improved so did we.

I was up early .... Ed and Zaph were still asleep .... and saw a beautiful sunrise.

This is an old oven that was used by the workers building the railroad line through this area of Texas in 1882.

Ed took this picture of a pictograph with a telephoto lens as it is across Seminole Canyon. I believe there are trips out here once a month but not during our visit. Binoculars or a telephoto lens were needed to see the pictographs.

More pictographs.

Looking down the Rio Grande. Seminole Canyon goes off to the left.

A view down Seminole Canyon.




We started the day with a 6 mile (return) walk to view the Rio Grande. It was a nice flat trail that yielded some great views of Seminole Canyon. The end of the trail was the meeting point of Seminole Canyon with the Rio Grande. In the afternoon we went to the information center where we joined a tour to see the pictographs — paintings on rock walls. The tour headed down into the canyon and walked down the canyon to a cave-like area where the pictographs can be seen on the walls. In the 1920's a man and woman traveled to many locations in the United States where there were pictographs and made drawings of the pictographs. In the 70 years that have passed since the drawings were made the pictographs at Seminole Canyon have faded dramatically — scientists believe this may be due to increased humidity since the dam was built on the Rio Grande down river from Seminole Canyon.

Ed decided that he wanted to see if he could get pictures of the canyon with the light from the setting sun. This meant another walk on the trail to the Rio Grande ---- happily we only did about half of the trail.

An artists interpretation of Indian lore.

The canyon floor.

This slide and the following two are some of the pictographs.

Many of the pictographs are found high above the canyon floor in a protected cave-like area.

A red tailed hawk soaring above the canyon.

Some of the rocks have weathered in a almost lace-like fashion.

Along the "Windmill Trail" we came across what is left of the windmill.

This little camper really wanted to take a dog for a walk so borrowed a couple who happily obliged.

A small herd of sheep were tromping along the river ... they knocked some rocks loose with scared me and the noise Zaph and I made scared them.

The sun striking the water just before sunset.

Mom, what is that bird?

Zaph admiring the setting sun.

Tonights sunset.



Wow .... What an Incredible Sunset

After approximately 6 hours of driving we arrived at Seminole Canyon State Park near Comstock, Texas — basically in the middle of nowhere. As we neared the park we only saw vehicles occasionally and at least 50% of them were RV’s and the cell phone service disappeared. As the name of the park implies there is a canyon running through the park where there are pictographs. The campground sits on the high ground in the area resulting in a marvelous view and providing a constant breeze. Today was a beautiful clear sunny day which turned into a fabulous sunset followed by a dark sky filled with stars.

That's our trailer in the middle --- the sun is starting to set.

A metal statue near the park headquarters.

The sunset.



Only Birders

Nancy and Dennis picked us up and we headed for Salineno, a popular birding spot about 15 minutes south of the park. There are two birding locations in Salineno — a park by the river and the Dewind Tract. Pat and Gale Dewind drive their motor home south each winter and stay on a piece of land that they purchased many years ago. They have set up a number of bird feeding stations and invite birders to pull up a lawn chair (that they provide) and enjoy the show. And what a show it was ---- especially for us novice birders. Brown Jays, Altamira Orioles, Hooded Orioles, Audubo'sn Orioles, Green Jays, Great Kiskadees, Yellow Rumped Warblers, Olive Sparrows, Lincoln Sparrows, House Sparrows, Bewick's Wren and more. I think we sat and watched the birds for a couple of hours before we headed down to the river to see what was down there. The highlight there was a Red-Shouldered Hawk.

Next stop on the birding tour was Roma Bluffs. This birding center is in the town of Roma and overlooks the Rio Grande River. It was pretty quiet there with only a few ducks, a Couch's Kingbird and a couple of egrets following a pig around.

On the way back to the park we stopped at a community RV park to look for sparrows — White-crowned sparrows and lark sparrows were spotted — both new birds for Ed and myself.

It was great going with experienced birders as they were able to identify a lot of the birds for us.

An Altamira Oriole

Audubon's Oriole

Hooded Oriole on the front of the feeder and an Audubon's on the back

Juvenile Brown Jay --- definitely not as colourful as it's relatives the Blue Jay and Green Jay but much large by approximately 5 inches

Is this a double headed cow? We were impressed with thickness of the horns.

Couch's Kingbird

Egrets following or is it chasing a pig?

White-crowned Sparrow

Orange-crowned warbler

When we arrived at the park we saw this gas well drilling rig.

When we left the drilling rig looked like this. I guess they were finished drilling the well and were moving the equipment elsewhere.



Sad to Say Good-bye

We hitched up and headed west today — destination Falcon State Park about 60 miles from Mission. We’re looking forward to this part of the trip as we will visit many new places but it was sad to leave Oleander and all of the wonderful people we met there. As an interesting co-incidence the neighbour we canoed with on Friday (the 2nd) left for Falcon on the 3rd so we’ve arranged to go birding with them.

Falcon State Park is on the shores of Falcon Reservoir which was created when the Falcon Dam was built across the Rio Grande River. It is a very popular bird watching location, though we didn’t see a lot of birds on our walk along the nature trail.

There were some wild flowers and shrubs blooming --- I guess spring is coming to south Texas

Pyrrhuloxia --- the "desert cardinal"

Walking through the campground you saw a lot of side mirrors with plastic bags on them. The Pyrrhuloxia loves to attacked his reflection. Here he's attacking the chrome bumper of a van.



Hello and Good-bye

Today was a busy day as we are leaving Mission tomorrow --- we did one last bird walk at Bentsen State Park, filled the truck, ran a few errands, cleaned the trailer and met Colin and Margaret for dinner. Colin and Margaret just arrive in the valley for the month and we decided to get together and catch up before we head out.

The Clay-colored Robin posed for us. The valley is the only area in the US where this bird is found.

The Rose-breasted Grosbeak --- a rare winter visitor to Bentsen State Park.



Canoeing Down the Rio Grande

When we visited the Santa Anna Wildlife Refuge a few days back we saw a sign indicating that you could go on a canoe trip down the Rio Grande River so we signed up. And today is the big day — it wasn’t raining and the road to the drop off point was accessible so off we went. By co-incidence a neighbour across the road from us (that we met on a bird walk) signed up for the canoe trip as well. They are much better birders than us as they have been birding for about 20 years so we were happy they were on the trip and could identify birds for us. A full load headed down the river — 6 canoes with 3 people each. As we were going with the current and weren’t in a hurry as we wanted to look at birds, I thought it was an easy float — Ed, who was the tail gunner, said there was more paddling involved than I thought — knew there was a reason I sat up front. It was a wonderful experience and a great way to see birds from a different perspective. We saw three green herons, a black-crowned night heron, all three types of kingfishers (ringed, belted and green), cormorants, anhingas, a least grebe, yellow-rumped warblers, a ruby-crowned kinglet, ducks, hawks, a great kiskadee and several other birds. The day would have been perfect if it had been a bit warmer.

Back at the campground it was fresh cinnamon rolls baked by Rosetta — they were oh so good. Then 17 of us headed out for dinner. The excuse for dinner out was “hello” and “good-bye” — we are leaving and heading west on Sunday and two couples (one of the couples went to college with one of our neighbours 40 or so years ago and have kept in touch) arrived today. Mexican food was the choice and we went to a place called Panchos. The restaurant is fairly large and has several rooms and we got a one to ourselves. The food was excellent especially the Charro beans, a spicy Mexican pork and beans style soup.

It was a little foggy when we set out.

floating down the river

A Harris Hawk was spotted in the campground sitting on a pole ---- Ed caught the hawk as it was leaving.



Men’s Chorus

Spanish class was really good this morning ---- the teacher brought samples of Mexican breakfast foods ---- yummy! Another birding place on our list to visit is the Edinburg Scenic Wetland Trails so we decided to hit it today. There is a community park, a butterfly gardens, and trails around 3 ponds. (A water treatment plant provides the water for the ponds.) This is a really nice place to either go for a walk or look for birds and butterflies. We saw the usual assortment of water birds, lots and lots of yellow-rumped warblers and managed to find a black-throated green warbler ---- very exciting for us.

In the evening we went to see the Senior Ambassadors Mens Chorus at an RV about 15 minutes away. Bob, one of our neighbours, is in the chorus and Rosetta, another neighbour, plays the piano for the chorus. There are 40 some odd gentleman in the chorus ranging in age from 65 to 82. We thought the show was great — Rosetta was happy that they didn’t goof up a song they had been having trouble with and Bob thought they did OK.

Zaph ready to hit the trails

The Senior Ambassadors

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