Saturday, 28 March 2015

More Afterthought Heels

(If you're looking for posts about birds, scroll down to the previous posts)

The closest yarn shop is about 5.5h away by car in San Antonio so I am forced to shop at craft or discount stores for yarn. I had planned to buy some online while we were here but we had a real snafu with an Amazon order so I was mail-shy.

I did have big success with Kroy sock yarn purchased locally and these afterthought heel socks so I went out and bought two more colourways of this yarn - neither of which has the same kind of striping.

I'm almost finished the second sock.
I continued the 3 x 1 ribbing down the instep and front of the foot. I used 2.5mm needles on the leg and switched to 2.25mm needles on the foot for more durability.  It may take a bit of adjusting to get the toe of the second sock to match that of the first one. Then I have to decide which colour to do the heels and exactly where I'll insert them in each sock - probably right in the middle of the darker grey stripe below the green stripe.

Back Again

Skip and I are trying to cram in as many visits to the Birding Center as we can before we leave next week to go back home.

It was SO nice there yesterday - sunny with not a cloud in the sky and only a slight breeze.

Just as we got out of the car in the parking lot, Skip spotted this female ruby-throated hummingbird flitting around. Then she landed on the barbed wire fence to rest - and stayed there long enough for me to dig out my camera, turn it on and get several shots.

 Out on the boardwalk, we noted that there are still some redheads in residence and a couple of royal terns
that seemed to be having a deep conversation of some kind.
I wanted to get a photo of the Eurasian collared dove for my archives.
This willet was also wandering around the bank along the waterway by the boardwalk.
A tricolour heron landed close by.
Over by the gator pond,  the mama was keeping an eye on her offspring on the far shore.

There are many schools of blue tilapia of all sizes in the waterways.
The males  make these round 'nests' by digging out the sand and spitting it out onto the sides, creating 'craters' under the water. There are several of these along one of the boardwalks. The males have the red colouring on their tails.
 Blue-wing teal.
In this group shot is a little blue heron, two snoozing black-bellied whistling ducks, a black-necked stilt, some snoozing blue-wing teal and a great egret.
Back at the centre, I'm taking a few scenic shots for my memory bank. We won't be back to SPI for at least 10 months and possibly years.
These will make great pics for my desktop slideshow.

Friday, 27 March 2015

A Foggy Morning of Birding

We met our birding group at the SPI Birding Center this morning. It was very foggy. We spotted several interesting species.

I had to enhance most of my photos because the fog was very evident in the originals. The colours are more saturated than normal.

Stepping out of the Birding Center, this green heron flew onto the branch of this dead tree right in front of us.

 I think it was just shifting its stance here.
Nearby, the papa gator and a great blue heron were having a staring match.
In this photo, is the same great blue heron, a tricolour heron (hard to see but it is reflected in the water) and the green heron in the dead tree. A pretty cool combination in one shot.

Near the usual place where we have previously spotted a Wilson's snipe, we spotted this one (possibly the same one?) right out in the open.
It seemed really intent on feeding and really didn't seem to pay much attention to us at all.
This is the first time I've seen a purple gallinule here.
It gave us quite a good show before hunkering down in the reeds.
 We spotted several clapper rails
Then another green heron flew by and landed on the railing. We saw at least 5 or 6 different ones today.
It then flew down and spent at least the next 45 minutes in this position by the water.
The water was very clear - clear enough to see this blue crab on the bottom.
Two black-necked stilts were evident today. A few days ago we saw a pair mating, then performing a very interesting synchronized pas de deux after the act.
I just had to get a shot of the epaulets of this redwing blackbird as he fluffed his feathers up.
We retraced our steps to return to the Birding Center and encountered this least bittern. I had seen it earlier from above for about 1/2 a second just ducking under the boardwalk and mistook it for a clapper rail.
This was the best I could do getting a picture of a common yellowthroat.
 We then spotted what we think is the resident long-billed curlew.
Back at the pond in front of the Birding Center, papa gator had exited the water and was snoozing on the bank beside it.
Two flocks of white ibis flew in - one landing on the mangroves in the background and the other on the flat to the west of the mangrove. There were approximately 50 in each flock.  Also in this photo are the remaining 5 redheads (3 male and 2 female), a yellow-crowned night heron, nestled in the mangrove to the left of the flock of white ibis, a wigeon or two, a couple of laughing gulls, etc.
I counted 57 white ibis in this photo.
Other birds we spotted that I didn't get photos of were: many moorhens and coots, soras, a marsh wren, roseate spoonbills, blue-wing teal, mottled ducks, cormorants, willets, little blue herons, sandwich and royal terns, and a broad-winged hawk.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Curlews and Herons and Snipes, Oh My!

It was a gorgeous day on the island today. We sat by the pool and read and I knit. Later on we visited the Birding Center.

The first one we saw was at the water feature - a spotted sandpiper.
Walking down the boardwalk we noticed people looking at something in the water.
It was the papa gator who has come over from the more northern pond.
We were fortunate enough to see the Wilson's snipe again. It is very hard to spot amid the reeds.
The markings on its back are quite distinctive.

Here's a better view of its back and the little rusty tip of its tail.
Then we saw this swallow in the air. It landed right on the railing about 20 yards ahead of us. We believe it's a rough-winged swallow. Another life bird for me. He stayed there for quite a long time, probably resting after a busy afternoon of feeding.
We finally saw the baby gators today
with mama not too far away.

At the big pond, we saw this yellowlegs walking around.
We're not sure if it's a greater or lesser yellowlegs but the legs are definitely yellow.

Speaking of yellow legs, this moorhen is in that club, too.
This female grackle was lying in the sun with her feathers fluffed out and her mouth open.
Retracing our steps, we noted that three of the little gators were out of the water sunning on the edge of the pond.

Their sibling was snoozing in the water.
The curlew didn't disappoint us. It was putting on quite a show for us.
It was being quite successful getting morsels of food out of the ground.
This little crab must have been a tasty treat.
 Another profile shot.
A second curlew flew in noisily announcing its arrival. It and the other one made their way towards each other. Skip and I thought we might to get to see them mating but it appeared to be more of a territorial dance, as if the original one said 'there's plenty here for both of us'.

Then 8 redknots flew in. They were very far away and the light was not right but this is the best I could do of them.
Then I saw this yellow-crowned night heron in the mangrove. He walked right out in the open.
It looks like it has yellow legs, too. The stiff, white plumes from the back of its head are clearly seen.
The colours of the bills and feet of the black-bellied whistling ducks are so distinctive. Today we heard their 'whistling' as they flew overhead and landed on the railing.
Back in the parking lot, Skip saw some movement on the ground. On closer inspection they appeared to be ground squirrels.
They are very cute.
Back at the condo, Fred spotted this scissor-tailed flycatcher on the wire across the street.

It truly was a great day for birding on the island.