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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bentsen Rio Grande Vallley State Park, Texas

Today we went to Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, headquarters for the World Birding Center network which is made up of several state and national parks along the Rio Grande Valley area.

The grounds of the state park are really quite pretty.  There use to be a huge campgrounds in this park until it was decided to return it to its natural state.

The park borders Mexico.  The trail leading to the Rio Grande River was closed. 

More border patrol...yes, they are placed throughout the state park.  Kinda makes us wonder if we should be taking a hike in the state park after all.

Besides the welcoming border patrol ...two cardinals welcomed us to the park.  Click to enlarge.  Luckily, on the following shots, you won't have to click to enlarge to see the birds.  Wayne's new camera has a great zoom!

Green Jay

Altamira Oriole

A large bird. Chachalaca 

Great Kiskadee

Some variety of redwing blackbird

Some of the wetlands
 Kayaking is popular on this inlet. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Padre Island

About 30 miles southeast of our campsite lies the beautiful island of San Padre. The water was crystal clear, the sand clean, and the temp 82 degrees.  This is January in south Texas, which is why we are here as well as people from Wisconsin, Minnesota, and half of Canada!
View of South Padre from the causeway
Nice day at the beach...sunny and 82F
Jeanette likes the beach....always has
Thar be rumors of Pirates.....Aaarrgghhhh
and here is ther ship!!  located in Port Isabel ...
On the road between South Padre and Harlingen, you come across this business establishment out in the middle of nowhere.  All we can say is good thing we did not have our grandkids with us!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mission Nuestra Senora del Espíritu Santo de Zuniga

We decided to do some Texas Trompin' during the winter months.  To escape the cold, rainy days of the Houston area during January, we choose to venture into South Texas this year.  The mission is located within Goliad State Park .  The enitre area around Goliad was quite interesting. This mission was moved to Goliad from Lavaca Bay in 1749.

We took a tour provided by the park ranger that was very informative. 

We had a perfect day for picture taking.

 During our educational tour, we learned there were particular entrances into the church for specific people.  If you were a member of the church, you could enter through the front door; however, if you were not, this symbol marked the door you had to to enter.  You could not use the front door until the Spanish converted you, and you learned your lessons well.

The entire inside of the church was renovated according to historical records.

This symbol marked the wrong door to enter; it also marked the 'funeral' door exit.  Upon passing, when the body was carted out, it came through these doors.  

Workshop and the "technical training" area for converting those indians to be civilized.

Loom  in the workshop area showing cottons of loom of different natural dyed material

The upper window of the church was oriented to allow sunlight to line up directly to alter on Easter.

Presidio La Bahia

This military/church compound was used to protect the Spanish colonists and their indian allies in time of conflict. It was taken by others on more than one occasion.

 Col. Fannin was sat in a chair outside this building and executed on Palm Sunday 1836. He gave his old watch to the officer  in charge of the execution in promise of three things: 1) he would not be shot in the face, 2) his possessions would be returned to his family, and 3) he would be given a Christian burial. He was shot in the face, his personal articles were stripped and stolen from his body, and his body was piled on top of the others and burned.
View from the ramparts

A musket porthole

Flag of the Republican Army of the North which captured the fort in 1813.

Among the fallen at Goliad

Alfred is reportedly from South Carolina. For those of you not familiar with Texas History, Col. Fannin had been asked several times  to reinforce the Alamo. He and over 400 men were encamped at Presidio La Bahia (an old spanish fort outside of present day Goliad, Texas). Sam Houston ordered Fannin to return to the Texian army but he was caught by General Urea and the Battle of Coleto Creek ensued. The next day, Fannin faced a bad situation and due to the mexican cannons being brought up, asked for surrender terms as Prisoners of War. Urea informed him that the ultimate terms would be up to Santa Anna. On Palm Sunday, 1836, nearly 400 men were marched out of La Bahia, executed and their bodies burned. Some men were spared because of their professions (doctors and carpenters), some were saved by brave mexican citizens and soldiers and some were able to escape when the firing started. Alfred was not among those fortunate.  At San Jacinto, the decisive battle of the Texas War of Independence, the Texians charged the Mexican breastworks shouting "La Bahia".

New Camera Test

Male Cardinal

Doves foraging

Turkey Vulture in Flight

Those Vultures have spotted me!

Turkey Vulture at roost

Jeanette got me this camera for Christmas. I don't know how much it cost but I'm guessing around $30 because it seems to work so well. This is the moon shot with the new Canon.