Up in the trees

While walking the dogs this weekend we heard quite the racket coming from the trees around the marina. There was an incessant chorus of what I guess I’d describe as a croak-squawk mixed with regular squawks and a bunch of wing-flapping and branch rustling. We had to go investigate.BlackCrownedNightHeron01

Black crowned night herons were everywhere in the trees, and as we stared harder, we discovered the source of the croak-squawking.

BlackCrownedNightHeron03

Nests with very large baby black crowned night herons were everywhere. Most nests had two chicks, and some trees had up to four nests. They were all demanding to be fed while their parents hopped from branch to branch nearby, nervously wondering what we were doing under the trees.

BlackCrownedNightHeron02

It was hard to capture a good photo due to all the leaves and branches, but the chicks seemed comically large for the size of the nests.

BlackCrownedNightHeron04

When we walked back by on Sunday, we actually saw the adults starting to coax the chicks out of the nest for their first flying lessons. Of course, not all of them looked happy about being evicted.

BlackCrownedNightHeron05

I’m sure that in another week or two we’ll see these little guys balancing on dock lines and grabbing fish out of the water, just like their parents.

Photo Essay: From Kemah to Galveston and Back

We had planned to attend the Keels and Wheels event Sunday — we really did. But when you’re offered a beautiful afternoon on the water, how do you say no?

Sunday afternoon we jumped aboard the Tina Marie Too and took a ride from Kemah to Galveston and back. I brought along my M9 rangefinder with a 1960s vintage 90mm Elmarit lens to document the voyage.

Enjoy a slice of life from Galveston Bay, Texas.

L1010067web L1010071web L1010072web L1010073web L1010084web L1010087web L1010091web L1010096web L1010098web L1010105web L1010107web L1010111web L1010113web L1010120web L1010122web L1010123web L1010125web L1010127web L1010132web L1010133web L1010134web L1010135web L1010142web L1010143web L1010145web L1010147web L1010149web L1010152web L1010156web L1010161web L1010169web

Saturday Morning Sunrise

For the first time in forever, we finally had a weekend of nothing but sun. Not that I mind the rain, but it was nice to be able to open all the hatches and just enjoy the spring air. I couldn’t resist getting up early Saturday morning to sip some coffee and watch the sunrise.

L1009925web

Momma duck brought all the babies by to say, hello as they started their morning routine.

L1009949web

And even this sleepy head got out of bed earlier than usual for a walk around the marina.

L1009942web

Rainy Days

It rained every day last week, but it especially rained all day Saturday. And when I say all day, I mean ALL day. We did nothing but sit inside the boat and watch the flash flood warnings on TV.

20150321_174135

We had planned to christen the new grill, but we resorted to picking up fried chicken at lunch and then cooking burgers on the Origo for dinner.

Of course, the rain didn’t bother everybody. This guy thought it was quacktastic.

DSC08528

Every time we had to walk the dogs, he was just puttering around letting raindrops fall on his head.

However, the fire ants definitely did not enjoy the rain. In fact, as water started pooling up in different places it created floating fire ant swarms. I tried to stay far away from them, but I think the dogs must have picked up a swimmer as they bounded around. Somehow I ended up with the first fire ant bite of the year.

20150322_094002

If you’re not familiar with fire ants, their bite is a bit like a bee sting, but it creates a little blister white head in the middle. Then you pop it, and the bite oozes for days. They’re especially fun when you accidentally stand in a mound and get 30 or 40 bites on your feet at once. I’m sure this was just the first bite of many in 2015.

Eventually the rain did stop. By Sunday evening the sky had cleared, and we were treated to a spectacular view of a new moon with the planet Venus shining nearby. (Well, sort of nearby, I mean it all comes down to perspective, right?)

DSC08554

Our new feathered friend

Last weekend we had a new bird take up residence near Gimme Shelter. Every morning this snowy egret was walking the shallows just the other side of the breakwater.

L1008513

While he kept an eye on us and refused to eat while we were watching, he never flew away. I left him to catch his breakfast while I went to eat mine. I was excited to see him again the next morning when we got up to walk the dogs.

L1008521

Rarely are birds and animals close enough to shoot with the rangefinder, but he (or she, I have no idea how to tell the gender) was close enough that I managed to capture these shots with the M9 using the 135mm f2.8 Leica Elmarit lens.

All of the rocks in that area disappear under water when the summer tides and south wind return, but hopefully our new egret friend will stick around and have breakfast with us for a few more weekends.

L1008533