Sunday, May 27, 2012

Texas Forestry Museum 4/30/2012

Our coach was in the paint shop so we planned a day trip to Lufkin south of here. Peggy & Kent went with us. They also have a Foretravel and we met them here at Camp Foretravel. We got down there early so we walked around the grounds looking at the different logging type equipment they had on display. Of course we had to look at the train and pose inside.

Texas Forestry Museum Rockey Kent & Peggy Speers (2)

Engine # 3 even had a caboose to look through.

Texas Forestry Museum Rockey Kent & Peggy Speers (3)

We toured the museum and watched a video about Texas logging.

Texas Forestry Museum powered bow saw

Powered Bow Saw.

Texas Forestry Museum unusual power saws

More unusual power saws.

Texas Forestry Museum

It was a great little museum. We were on the way to find a Taco Bell for lunch and came across a place called the Lunch Box. We should have known something was not right, no cars in the parking lot. They were mainly a bakery but they did have sandwiches and they were pretty good. Kent bought a couple of the small deserts to sample. They were delicious.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Update 5/24/2012

Hooray our Aquahot unit has arrived in Nacogdoches and Jeremy called to let us know it was here and that we have an appointment for 7:30am on Tuesday. We are leaving Lake Conroe TT tomorrow morning and will spend Memorial weekend at Camp Foretravel.

Summer and Oregon here we come.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

High Island & Sabine Woods 4/23/12

Today our coach went to the fiberglass shop and to speed things up we elected to go to a motel for 3 days. I got on the internet and found a reasonable place to stay in Baytown east of Houston and near East Galveston Bay. From there we will visit High Island again.

Baytown, TX motelI brought with us a crock pot of stew I had fixed yesterday plus lunch goodies, Super 8 serves breakfast. The next morning we are up early and off to High Island.

High Island, TX (2)

It was fairly quiet here in terms of what birds were around and what birds we could see.

High Island, TX

This is Prothonotary Pond.

High Island, TX  water drip

In the back of this clearing in the shade is a water drip feature that draws the birds in to bathe and drink. The trees in the foreground are Mulberry Trees and the birds love the fruit so they come to eat and drink.

HIgh Island, TX

They have built small bleachers so you can spy on the birds and rest at the same time. They must have spotted something at the water drip. While here we were told that at Sabine Woods a rare bird has been identified. It is Tropical Mockingbird, looks much like our Mockingbird but is darker and has a much longer tail. Since it was quiet here we decided to drive over there and see if we could find it. It would not have been much of a drive if we could have taken Hwy 87 but during hurricane Allen in 1980 the road disappeared and they have never replaced it. 


We arrived at Sabine Woods which is managed by the Texas Ornithology Society.

Sabine Pass, TX

There is a covered area with picnic tables and as we talking with a man there, in flew the mockingbird and sat still long enough for us to get good looks.


This is the water drip feature at Sabine Woods and this White-winged Dove is trying it out. We had lunch then drove back to High Island where we stopped at Smith Oaks Sanctuary.

High Is, TX Smith Oaks Rookery

This is the rookery where there are hundreds of birds nesting. This is an island in the middle of Claybottom Pond. In 1994 Amoco donated this pond and adjacent acreage to the Houston Audubon. Once they took over the land and made it a no hunting area birds began nesting on the island. In 1995 50 heron nests were found and birds were flying in to roost every night. By 1997 332 pairs of birds nested on the island and the first pair of Roseate Spoonbills arrived. The number of pairs grew to 1,083 in 2003, and now it is unbelievable. They say that at sunset year round thousands of birds arrive at dusk to spend the night on the island. The most birds observed in one evening was 13,000.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Big Thicket Nat’l Preserve 4/6/2012

The Big Thicket totals over 100,000 acres, within 15 units. 5 of the preserves have hiking trails. There is 4 major plant associations, bottomland hardwoods and cypress sloughs. Palmetto hardwood flats. Wetland pine savannah and a slope forest. With this preserve being so big the logical thing was to drive to the visitor center first. We watched a video and looked at the exhibits. We next drove south to the Roy E Larsen Sandyland Sanctuary. It was a quiet day for birds but we did find a Northern Parula and that is a new bird for us. The next stop was back at the Headquarters to walk around the Kirby Nature Trail. The trail consists of several loops ranging from 1.7 to 2.5 miles. The trails pass through several plant communities, from baygalls to cypress sloughs to the riparian along Village Creek. A portion of this trail is still closed due to recent flooding.


We came across this little guy and when he would pump up his throat it was a light salmon color.


Dick on one of the many trails we took today.

We went to a covered area and had our picnic.


Spanish Moss hanging from the trees at the picnic area.

Our last stop for the day was the Sundew Trail it is only 1 mile long and the loop passes through a small bog that supports Pitcher Plants and Sundews, 2 carnivorous plants. The inner loop continues through a savannah that has summer wildflowers, while the outer loop winds through a woodland composed of longleaf pines.

Since the birds have been so quiet all day we went after these carnivorous plants. The first one we came across was the Pitcher Plant. It was easy to see.



The next one was much more difficult to find.


We finally found some, when the sun hits them the little bead tips shine. We couldn’t take enough pictures to show how really small it was.


I took my ring off to illustrate how small it is, if the sun doesn’t shine it is most impossible to see.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

WG Jones State Forest 4/2/2012

We drove down to Conroe to the WG Jones State Forest to see if we could identify the Red-cockaded Woodpecker. This would be a new bird for us and they are on the endangered list. It was cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms. When we got there the weather didn’t look too promising but we went inside and the receptionist told us where we could park to walk around the trails.

The forest here is protected for the woodpeckers and a favorite place for them to build their nests. We parked and watching the weather and turning on weather alerts on our phone we started out to find these birds.

 Red Cockaded WG Jones SP Texas (2)

Along the trail they have marked the trees with a green band that have known nesting activity.

Red Cockaded WG Jones SP Texas (3)

We had been walking along the trails and about to give up when Dick spotted a pair of woodpeckers. We both got good looks at them. It made our day.

Texas Bluebelles

Texas Bluebells are gorgeous this spring.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Lake Conroe 3/28/2012

We have been at Foretravel for 3 weeks some of the repairs are done. The shades and TV, the slide bladder, the holding tank valves. What is left is the roof and the Aquahot. While waiting for the Aquahot to get here we decided to drive to Lake Conroe TT and spend a week.

Lake Conroe TT Rockey

This is the site we chose. A small tree for the bird feeder, 50 amp, and level and the shower was fairly close by. It did feel good to have a hot shower again.

Lake Conroe TT (4)

Boat ramp and fish cleaning station. The water level is up but the lake isn’t full yet. At least you now can launch your boat and tie it up to the docks.

Lake Conroe TT (3)

The docks here are not floating docks so for awhile there was quite a leap to your boat.

Lake Conroe walk2TT

We would go for a walk everyday around the park. This building is the sales and administration offices. They have a nice view of the lake. At this park there is a section that has park models, called Hidden Cove. It is very well laid out and would be a nice place to settle down if it wasn’t in Texas and if you didn’t live in a motorhome.

Lake Conroe TT walk(3)

This is Catfish Cove. Our Aquahot was not delivered to Foretravel in a week so we extended a couple of days at a time. In the end we stayed 3 weeks. I want to say the rangers at the gate were fantastic extending our stay with a smile and concern we still didn’t have hot water.

We did explore the area and went on some day trips to come later.