Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Oh, My Goodness...

Our last week at SPI arrived so quickly, we had to stuff a lot of things in before our departure date, Friday the 7th.  First on our list was the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center right up island from us.  It is a fairly new facility with a five story observation tower, an auditorium, and 1600 yards of boardwalks with bird blinds along the way. 
It's setting is on the Laguna Madre bay but has freshwater ponds, brackish and saltwater marshes.  This guy was warming his tail in the sun while enjoying a dip in the freshwater pond. 
Everybody congregated in this pond.

There was some wildlife out, but my only new bird was a marsh wren with a pretty song.  A Common Moorhen sailed by.  We feel kind of related to these guys.
The beautiful Blue Heron.
And a Little Blue Heron. (I love his green legs)
And the blue winged teal, also a first for us.
This is also the site for the Andy Bowie Wastewater Treatment Plant, processing 1.5 million gallons of water a day.  The cleaned water is directed into freshwater wetlands. 
There was a convention of Red-Winged Blackbirds in the tall sea grass, and even though we heard them all talking at once, they were well hidden.  A few flew in and out of the meeting, but we couldn't get a shot that fast.
It was a beautiful day of nature again, and we looked forward to the Sea Turtle Rescue Center on Thursday.
Sea Turtle, Inc. is a nonprofit rescue center founded by Ila Loetscher in 1977.  All species of sea turtles are endangered or threatened, and five of those are found in the Gulf of Mexico, including the rarest, the Kemp's Ridley.  This little guy's left flipper was damaged by a predator.

Here's Fred, the little hawksbill, also under nursing care.

Below is Merry Christmas, found 3 years ago on the beach.  She has a deformed shell and a missing left flipper that makes it impossible for her to navigate.  A retired Air Force pilot took it upon himself to make her a navigational device that will grow with her and allow her to swim in the hospital for the rest of her life.  She is allowed one hour in the big pool with her friends, and then three hours rest in her small pool. 

Lady Bug is not allowed to swim, but scoots around on her shallow pool on blankets.  She was found a couple weeks ago stranded on the beach with a severe skull and eye injury due to a boat.  Her eye has been removed, and she is in critical condition.

Seeing these poor animals makes you so want to pet them, but it is against Federal law to even touch sea turtles, their babies or eggs and nests.
It was very crowded with huge tanks and many unreleasable turtles, or waiting to be released.  Due to the kindnesses of many patrons, a new facility is being built three times larger to help these creatures.
The sea fog can roll in very quickly and on our way back home, the buildings were disappearing fast.
Spooky, huh?

Well, that's enough for this entry.  Tomorrow we leave for San Antonio for a couple of days before heading to our big job at the oil wells.

It's a good life!

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