Gulf Coast of Texas

16 Apr

All along our route as we journeyed from P1120454San Antonio following the 181 towards Corpus Christi the array of wild flowers continued, we had thought they would slowly peter out as we left the Hill Country behind but much to our delight as mile passed mile the colours flowed by too. We stopped for lunch in a    picnic area near Beeville and this was the verge between us and the main road! So many flowers, when you look closely the tapestry is compiled of a variety of different, similar coloured, flowers which from a distance merge to give the impression of a solid colour.
At Aransas we used the free ferry to cross onto Mustang Island. I was delighted P1120460to receive a fly past from my favourite sea birds, six brown pelicans slowly glided in front of us as we waited to start our short passage. So unexpected was it the camera did not get a chance to capture the view. The State Park is 13 miles from Port Aransas,  the campground tucked behind the dunes does not give a view of the sea but was sheltered from the strong wind.
I was disappointed that the sun was not shining but even more so when I discovered the forecast was for grey sky and a chance of rain most of the week! Thankfully as is the norm, the actuality was some broken cloud for the sun to P1120517 peer through while we walked on the beach on Tuesday morning. Not the best beach we have been on I have to say but it feels good to be by the sea again. As we walked the almost deserted sands the sea birds were busily poking in the weed for whatever it is they like best and once again my friends the Pelicans put on a fly past, first in two or threes then several flocks of ten to twenty birds slowly glided, occasionally flapping their wings, lazily making there way down the shore line.

Our afternoon stroll, the opposite way along the beach, bought even more pelican viewing. A breakwater of huge stone boulders not only made a bay forIMG_3860 the peli’s to gather and fish in, it gave us a viewing platform to watch them at close quarters without bothering them. They seemed to be having quite a feast constantly filling their beaks tipping there heads back and going in for more! The stiff wind blowing up the waves also allowed us briefly to get Roberts kite in the air however we cut the flight short as threatening black clouds seemed to be heading our way. We later discovered that around six inches of rain had fallen in areas south of us, we did not see a drop!

P1120536 Leaving Mustang Island State Park behind we crossed and re crossed the  water taking the Ocean Drive Road through Corpus Christi. Alongside the road are some very grand homes with wonderful views out to the ocean. There are several huge bridges and two long causeways which connect Mustang and Padre Island to the mainland with the ferry crossing making the final link, having used the ferry to get onto the island, we eventually completed theP1120545 full 360 degree circuit. The traffic was light thankfully although I guess at other times the roads would be like any other city we have travelled through.

Another Island, this time Goose Island (not a real island but a promontory of land) and its State Park was our next stop. We checked in for two nights and set ourselves up in a site overlooking the water. It was however blowing stronger than ever, we may not have had any rain but it certainly is very windy and also very humid, the daytime temperature is around 76 degrees Fahrenheit (night time around 63) but with 75% humidity it feels warmer and everything feels constantly damp and sticky.
P1120557Apart from Pelican and sea bird watching we decided to take a walk to visit an elderly local resident. About 2 miles along the road is the home of a live oak said to be over 1000 years old. Zoom in on the photo below for the full statistics but it certainly is a big tree. I like the bit to the right of the stats written as if from the tree! 
P1120551

We walked back via the coast road alongside St Charles Bay, very few cars passed us, it was exceptionally quiet giving us chance to observe the water birds out looking for P1120558lunch. With a slightly lighter wind today they will probably have more success. Last night I watched for around 5 minutes a seabird constantly flapping its wings and not move one inch, I am not sure if it was enjoying the exercise (bit like a static exercise bike ride) or just too dumb to realise he had not moved, who knows!

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