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Old 01-13-2009, 08:24 PM   #1
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1996 Sportsmobile sighting, Atascosa Wildlife Refuge, TX

What an idiot I am, I forgot to get their names!
Bought new from Fresno, driven THREE times to Guatamala.
California tags, birders headed out (on foot) into the thorny brush.
Anyone on the forum?
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Old 01-13-2009, 08:54 PM   #2
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Joanna, I LOVE that phrase "into the thorny bush!" What's the preserve there like? And how are things on Padre Island these days?
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Old 01-14-2009, 01:13 AM   #3
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Hey, Psomaki,

We're kitty corner to each other geographically and meteorlogically too, I bet.
Atascosa Wildlife Refuge has been a real find for me, the perfect antidote to the tourism of South Padre. There's much less easily accessed public land in Texas as compared to California where I'm from, and while the refuge is not an off road experience, it's over 45,000 acres, room enough to be amazed. The land is spectacular: coastal plains, meandering resacas, marsh, impenetrable scrub and lakes. Also, it all borders the Laguna Madre.

Here's what I've seen while biking: a 5' rattler stretched out, crossing the road, indigo and coral snakes, mama ocelot with her kittens, an escaped-from-the-King Ranch exotic breed of antelope, the nilgui, which is huge and the males blue-ish. Many alligators. Birds everywhere. Roseate spoonbills, curlew, green jays, ibis. It's jaw dropping for a West coast girl. Plus Atascosa is only 25 miles from the island. I can bike there (in winter when it's cool.)

The island itself has recovered about 80% from the hurricanes. Some hotels are still boarded up but new businesses are being established. Condos are marching North to the sand dunes.

Have you been here? Has anyone?
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Old 01-14-2009, 10:50 AM   #4
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Joanna, thank you! The Preserve sounds awesome. Thanks for the detailed description. No, I haven't been there. My wife, an Army brat, was born in Paris, TX, but neither of us has spent much time of late down your way. Interesting though - you'd find some aspects of the climate in eastern WA, over the Cascades from us, not too different from what you are now used to. Over here west of the big mountains it's a whole different world. We've found our "best place to be," and it sounds like you have too. We've yet to try a really long trip in our "classic" SMB but just may do so sometime soon.
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Old 01-14-2009, 11:14 AM   #5
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I've been on North Padre a few times, and checked out South Padre but the tourisim drove me back to the North Island. This was pre-SMB and nearly 10 years ago.
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Old 01-14-2009, 07:06 PM   #6
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Joanna,

Have you seen that new little bird that has arrived in Texas? The Pine Flycatcher?

I figure it must have flown right by your area to get up to the Choke Canyon where it has been sighted for the first time in Texas....
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Old 01-14-2009, 10:46 PM   #7
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Greg,
I'm a rank beginning birder with new binoculars. I'll Google the Pine Flycatcher and see if it's something I'd be able to recognize.

Jage,
Don't come back to the island.
It's wretched with tacky, short term distractions. However, I'm trying to find authenticity elsewhere in the Rio Grande Valley. Since my Spanish is muy pobre, I'm concentrating on the natural world. Thank the goddess for the Mansfield cut, or the condos would head to North Padre.

Psomaki,
All my grown children live in the Pacific Northwest, so I know all about your beautiful world.
I grew up in the Navy, coast to coast; the only reason I'm here is to care for my mother. My best place to be is in my Sportsmobile, BIG BRN, somewhere on public land in the Western states. When my mom goes, that's where I'll be.
P.S. I'm a retired bureaucrat, too!

Mea maxima culpa for getting so off-topic. I still feel like a jerk for not getting the names of those folks with the 3x to Guatemala SMB. Their 1996 van looked well loved, they looked happy.
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:29 AM   #8
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Joanna, immo! Non est culpa! Gonna send you an e-mail.
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