Texas was a big surprise for me. I expected the big trucks, the hot weather, the endless miles to cross the state, but what I didn’t anticipate was how friendly and open Texans are. Every place I stopped people wanted to chat and find out about my life story. I had fun conversations with the visitor center staff in every town, the maintenance staffer at the hipster encampment I stayed at in Marfa who was born in Sacramento, the librarian in Valentine who told me about her son who is in the high school travel club and was traveling to Italy in a few weeks and the ladies I met on the wetland walk who joined me for lunch and invited me stay in Corpus Christi “anytime”. I could be a Winter Texan.
|Prepping for the Big Day of Giving by visiting a privately owned public library with a family link to Karl Rove|
Marfa is a neat little town in far west Texas that felt like a rural ranching community with a good dose of Davis funkiness mixed in. I planned to spend more time exploring this area, but I came though on a Monday and unfortunately Marfa resembles a ghost town in the early part of the week. I would love return for a weekend when all the galleries, beer gardens and restaurants are booming.
|Wall tent accommodations in Marfa|
|Wildflowering while waiting for the Marfa lights|
|Presidio County Courthouse|
Port Aransas blew my mind. Port A has a reputation for being a mecca for birders and because I was arriving at the tail end of spring fallout I didn’t want to get my hopes up about seeing a ton of new species. My first morning in town I went out thinking I would poke around the wetlands for a few hours and before I knew it 9 hours had passed! I joined up with a bird group that tours the wetlands every Wednesday morning and it was great to be surrounded by such a knowledgeable and excited crowd. There was sooooo much to see. I gasped with delight when the first pair of Roseate Spoonbills flew over and they didn’t get any less impressive as the day wore on. They were in their full breeding plumage and looked like flying cotton candy.
|Who am I?|
Here are some of my Port Aransas favorites. Photos are by the professionals at The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
|Black-bellied Whistling Duck|
My friend Karen summed this up pretty well, “So lucky to be alive in this world where those [painted buntings] exist”.
For the past 10 days I have botanized and birded to my little hearts content. Now I’m ready for some great food, farmers market, live music and a little toe tapping.
Next stop……New Orleans.