A highlight of my summer visit to Padre Island National Seashore a few years ago was the opportunity to photograph a public Kemp’s ridley sea turtle hatchling release into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. If you are thinking of attending a public viewing of the releasing of these nacho-sized little guys, however, you’ll have to wait until 2021, as all public viewings have been canceled for this year due to the coronavirus. As you can see in the last photo, there is definitely NO social distancing of the 700 – 1200 participants who attend these viewings. On that particular day I took the photo, there ended up being 900 people.
It’s Trivia Tuesday, folks! Did you know that the ocotillo, found all over the Chihuahuan Desert in Big Bend National Park in Texas is a shrub and not a cactus? Those spindly, evilly-thorny branches can grow up to 20 feet tall! In the spring, at the tips of each branch grow a cluster of little bright orange-red flowers, the nectar of which attracts carpenter ants and hummingbirds.
The view along the Lost Mine Trail, Big Bend National Park, in Texas
Hey folks, it’s Fun Fact Friday! Here are some interesting facts for you about Big Bend National Park, in Texas.
There are over 60 species of cactus, 450 species of birds, 1,200 plant species, and 3,600 insect species found in this national park.
The name Big Bend comes from a bend in the Rio Grande River, which runs along the park boundary.
In 2012, the park was named an International Dark Sky Park, which means it’s awesome for star gazing.
I first visited this national park in 2013 and made 4 more trips there before moving out of Texas. I visited during the winter and spring, when the temperatures were at their most ambient. Late spring was awesome for blooming cactus. And, speaking of visiting, Big Bend is entering it’s busy season, so if you are planning to travel there anytime soon, you’d probably better have alternate lodging plans in case you can’t find an available campsite, according to an article published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler.
To read more of that article, click on the image at the top of this post.
A strawberry pitaya bloom, Big Bend National Park, in Texas
I’m up early because the inside of my cheek is killing me. I had a back molar implant put in this past Wednesday and my cheek got the brunt of some burring work on the cap and the upper back molar. Bleah. So, I can’t sleep. I’ll take an aspirin after I have something for breakfast later. Whenever I can’t sleep, I get up, turn on the laptop, and work on photos. I’m still (and will be for months, I’m sure) cleaning up my photo website and I happened upon this image in my Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge gallery. It was an awesome morning on that June day. Sometimes, going to the refuge was a hit or miss prospect. I either saw lots of birdlife, like here, or no birdlife. On this stormy morning, not only were there large numbers of egrets and spoon bills, but the clouds were awesomely dramatic. Out of all the images I took at the refuge, this photo numbers as one of my favorites.
How about a nice, peaceful, beach scene colored by the blush of “rosy-fingered dawn” to start your weekend? I have a feeling dawn won’t be as pretty where I live – it’s been overcast with a low cloud ceiling for the past few days.
Padre Island National Seashore in Texas is a great place to watch the sun rise. I got there at dark-thirty a.m. and just watched the play of colors over the sky and Gulf of Mexico, as the shore birds pattered along the water’s edge looking for breakfast.
One year ago, today, I watched the movers load up my stuff and leave to put it in their temporary storage. I, in turn, hopped into my little car and began my almost-3-week road trip adventure to central Washington, stopping at 5 national parks and 1 national recreation area before finally arriving at my destination. It took me 2 days to get out of Texas (the drive from Houston to Amarillo was long, hot, humid, and boring, and all my Hershey chocolate bars melted, but I was glad it was interstate). When I crossed into the New Mexico border, I burst out crying from happiness.
The road to the desert, Big Bend National Park, Texas
And just where will that road take you this weekend? Perhaps some of you have taken Friday off to make it a nice, 4-day weekend? Certainly enough time for a short visit to a national park like Big Bend National Park, in Texas. It’s in a remote part of southwest Texas, but it’s definitely worth a visit, with great landscapes, interesting desert and mountain ecosystems, neat birdlife, and wonderful geology. Just take plenty of water with you.
I’m headed off, myself, to Stehekin, WA, this weekend, for a few days exploring Lake Chelan National Recreation Area and North Cascades National Park.
Big Bend National Park is out in a remote portion of southwest Texas. But if you can get there, then you won’t be disappointed with what you see. This national park is full of interesting volcanic geology and gorgeous landscapes of the Chihuahuan Desert and the Chisos Mountains. Sunrises are lovely here. This shot was taken right off the side of the road, not looking toward the rising sun, but instead, toward the mountains and desert which the winter sun gilded.
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