Archive for October, 2008

Roseate Spoonbill

Friday, October 31st, 2008

 As we drove down highway 35 business between Rockport and Aransas Pass we were treated to the sight of a small flock of Roseate Spoonbills wading in the drainage ditch alongside the road.

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We have never seen on before.  The Roseate Spoonbill is the only spoonbill found in North America.  Looking like a genetic mistake, they stand about 30 to 40 inches tall and a wing span of 50 to 53 inches.

Lake Trip

Monday, October 27th, 2008

Well, we haven’t dropped off the face of the earth.  We just haven’t done much lately except read books and lay around the pool.  I know it’s a tough life.

Anyway, we took a little road trip to take a look at a couple of lakes that are located northwest of Corpus Christi toward San Antonio. 

Lake Corpus Christi and Choke Canyon Reservoir are relatively “young” lakes.  As with all but one, Caddo Lake, the lakes in Texas are all man-made reservoirs.  These two lakes were created by damming up portions of the Nueces and Frio rivers, respectfully.

Lake Corpus Christi was completed in 1958 and provides drinking water for the city of Corpus Christi.   The reservoir covers 18,256 acres (73.9 km²), and has a capacity of more than 269,900 acre feet (332,916,748 m³).  The reservoir also provides good fishing opportunities, especially for largemouth bass and catfish. Lake Corpus Christi State Recreation Area provides camping and picnicking areas and two fishing piers. 

Choke Canyon Reservoir was completed in 1982 and also provides drinking water for the city of Corpus Christi. The reservoir also provides good fishing opportunities, especially for largemouth bass and catfish.  The reservoir covers 25,670 acres (103.9 km²) in Live Oak and McMullen counties, and has a capacity of more than 695,000 acre-feet (0.85 km³) of water.  

Both lakes have been stocked with species of fish intended to improve the utility of the reservoir for recreational fishing. Fish present in Corpus Christi Lake and Choke Canyon Reservoir include alligator gar, white bass, white crappie, catfish, and largemouth bass, sunfish, and bluegill. Plant life in the lake includes American pondweed, coontail, water stargrass, rushes, cattail, and hydrilla.

Each lake has areas set aside for Texas State Parks.  They are appropriately named Lake Corpus Christi State Park and Choke Canyon State Park.  On Choke Canyon, the park is located in two places on the south shore of the lake, and provides access to the lake and a number of other recreational activities.

Choke Canyon is surrounded by the state park and some large game hunting ranches.  There are no houses on the lake.  As you can see by this photo, when they make a new lake, you have to watch where you take your boat. 

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As with most Texas state parks, the parks at these lakes have are well kept and beautiful.. The camping and RV facilities are extremely nice and spacious.  In the background of this shot you can see one of the recreation area buildings along the lake.

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We stopped at this area and thought it would be a good place to take a swim.

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Then we saw this sign and changed our minds.

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They actually had swim areas on other parts of the lake.  No thanks.

We drove completely around both lakes.  As I mentioned, Choke Canyon has no housing areas, but Lake Corpus Christi has numerous, economically diverse, residential areas.  You’ll find many areas with run down trailer houses on one end of the spectrum and a few areas with high end housing at the other.  The nicer homes were near the town of Mathis.

In a residential area that was not directly on the lake, we spotted this trampoline.

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Either they have a hole under it or have the toughest kids in the neighborhood.

These lakes are probably not going to be future locations for our eventual homestead.

Beach Follow-Up

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

One week after our last beach visit we returned to see what changes we could find.  The tide was quite a bit down from what we had seen the week before.  Over the weekend there had been beach cleanup efforts for the first mile or two of the National Seashore.

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It sure looks considerably better.  Even areas that were not part of the cleanup effort looked better because of the scavengers.  The old adage, “one man’s trash is another’s gold”, is alive and well here on the Texas coast.

a-sailboat2.jpg Remember the boat that had floated in from Galveston?

Well, this was 5 miles down the beach.  They were able to drive this huge construction crane down the beach for the extraction.

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They were able to load the boat on this truck and away they went through the park gate.

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The extraction left quite a hole in the beach.  When the tide comes up, it will be gone.

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There were a few types of oil rig rescue pods found along the beach.  This one was more boat-shaped than the one we saw last week.  We located it about 15 miles down the beach.

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 The condition wasn’t much better.  I don’t think I’d like to have been strapped into those seat belts for the bumpy ride this craft obviously took.

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Hmm, I wonder how much of this house there is buried here.

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Maybe the Wicked Witch of the East is under there.

We were impressed with the trash removal on Mustang Island. (Just North of Padre Island) Sections of the island are governed by Corpus Christi, Port Aransas  and the Mustang Island State Park.

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The dunes and many of the little bridges and ramps over them sustained some damage from the high tide and waves.

It looks like things are getting back to normal.