Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Getting Back into the Groove

It seems like when we get home from a trip, I have a transition time before my productivity starts back up.

We took our time coming back from Florida touring areas of Biloxi that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina and driving around parts of New Orleans.

When we got back into Texas we explored Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Boy Scout Woods at High Island, and the Atwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge.

We drove around Anahuac Tuesday afternoon to get an idea what all was there. I got a few shots of this young alligator in one of the ditches.

We spent the night at an older motel at Crystal Beach - the closest operating motel to High Island. We got up fairly early, but not the predawn that I envisioned. Grabbing breakfast items I headed over to Boy Scout Woods and lugged my big lens into the photo blind. Not too much activity, so I tried a couple of other spots. While I did have some birds come and check me out, my best photos were of some turtles sunning themselves. My first photos have some blurred grasses that annoy me, but I waited patiently and this turtle began to move forward giving me a stronger shot.

I was amazed at how the spring green growth in the water coated their shells.

I spent a couple of hours hoping for some bird shots and then we headed back to Anahuac. While we missed the best of the early morning light, we did see several groups of alligators. There were three alligators sunning near each other and Henry proclaimed - yes this is a shot - so I got out the big lens and played.

We started heading in the direction of home but using a route that took us by the Atwater Prairie Chicken NWR. While we did not see any prairie chickens I learned about an upcoming event where visitors are driven out to watch the last of the displays of the season. It is not disruptive to nesting because the nests are well established. These amazing chickens are highly endangered - less than 50 chickens are currently found at this refuge.

We made the loop a number of times. Right before sunset, a bittern made his appearance. He was so comical as he stretched his neck out and tried to stay perfectly still hoping that we would not notice him.

We knew it was close to sunset and we would be finishing up near the water. We came across the last rays of sun and I knew I had to have that picture. So . . . picture me scrambling madly to get out the proper tripod - change the lens and get set up just as quick as I could because I knew if I was not very fast, I would miss it. You can see how close I came, the sun is almost all the way down. While I took more that may work, this one is my favorite as the sun is still visible as it sets on the horizon.

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