Wednesday and Thursday, February 5-6—Yet Another Cold Front

Wednesday means golf at Meadow Creek, and we were anticipating a great golf day.  However, the forecast never panned out, and it was cool and quite breezy as yet another cold front is moving into the RGV.  Al had a great game, and I enjoyed some good holes and suffered through some bad ones.  A couple of the negatives about playing golf this winter has been either really slow play or the group behind us hitting into us—perhaps there is no happy medium—and both of these get to me psychologically.  Regardless, I am really enjoying playing golf, and Al is a great golfing partner.  Kay agreed to model at the annual Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort Women’s Luncheon and Fashion Show, and the clothes were from one of her favorite shops here in the RGV, Well’s of Westlaco.  The luncheon was well attended, and all the women had a great time.  With cool weather moving in, no one was at the palapa for our afternoon gathering, but the Club House was packed for Margarita Hour.  (Cool weather to us—temps in the 40s— is VERY COLD for locals here in the valley, and since we have been spending parts or all of winters here 5 out of the last 7 years, we find the temps to be cold as well.  This has been the coldest winter anyone down here can remember.  However, we know folks back home and points further north are really cold and we don’t want to rub it in!)  After Margarita Hour, we went to Wallbanger’s for a burger and salad; it was our first time to eat there and the food was really good.  A large salad and 2 huge hamburger sliders cost less than $9 and was plenty of food for the both of us—we’ll know next time as Kay and I both ordered a salad this time.

It was cold, wet, breezy, and gloomy Thursday morning as we awoke, with temperatures hovering around 40°.  This weather pattern, and temperature, remained all day.  After a hearty breakfast, I dressed in 4 layers, donned the backpack with binoculars and camera with 150-500 mm zoom lens, walked to Bentsen Rio Grande State Park, registered and picked up the entrance “bracelet”, and walked the remaining mile or so to the Kiskadee blind in the woods.  There was already another hardy person there, a young man from Wisconsin who flew to the RGV for a few days to “bird”.  After a few pleasantries, we both concentrated on the birds who were readily posing for photos.  The weather was such that the birds came in for feeding often, and would remain relatively still.  Another gentleman, from Charlottesville, VA, came into the blind about mid-morning, and was lucky enough to immediately see most of the species of birds feeding in the area.  The overcast skies and long lens required raising the ISO to 2000 in order to get a decent shutter speed with the 500 mm lens setting, and allowed getting some good shots of the Orange-crested Warbler, the Yellow-rumped Warbler, and of course the Altimira Oriole, Great Kiskadee, and the somewhat rare Black-headed Grosbeak.  One of the unusual things that occurred today was the swooping entrance of almost a dozen Great Kiskadees, occupying several branches, feeders, etc.  One didn’t have a tail, and had difficulty hovering around the suet feeder.  After 3 hours of sitting in the cold and drinking a couple thermos’ of coffee, I loaded up all the stuff and headed back into the cold and light rain for a short walk to an open area for a photo of the Vermillion Flycatcher.  Finally spotting it flying near and landing on a large tree, I crept close enough to flush it to another smaller tree, and another, etc.  It looked bedraggled after having spent the morning in the rain chasing the “few and far between” insects.  After a long walk back to the motorhome, Kay greeted me at the door and had a great hearty skillet dinner ready for our main meal of the day.  As I downloaded photos, she went to the Crafts Room for Swedish weaving, and then to the Club House to work on hats for Derby Days.  Oh, there is so much going on around here, even on rainy days.  After working on the photos for an hour or so, I walked to Brian and Shar’s to practice Karaoke, then back to the motorhome for more work on photos.  Being cooped up in the small confines was relieved by a phone call and great conversation with close friend, John Simank, and our discussion of fly fishing got me all pumped up for the upcoming caddis hatch in late March—are you ready, Ed?  Late in the afternoon a knock on the door from the UPS driver indicated that the new Tailgater satellite dish had arrived, and during the evening newscast, it was connected and worked flawlessly—umm!  We’ll try to salvage the old one, and perhaps resell it, either as a repaired unit or a salvage unit.  Kay picked up the mail, and a new 1 TB external hard drive had been delivered; we quickly unpackaged it, connected it to Kay’s computer, and began the lengthy process of backing-up all her data, a long overdue task.  She played bridge in the evening, and I enjoyed a short, quiet time at the RV before going to bed at 8 PM.

The photos below show, in order, a Yellow-rumped Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Greater Kiskadee, Black-headed Grosbeak, Altimira Oriole, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, and a Vermillion Flycatcher, all taken today, Thursday.

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