Sunday, March 18, 2012

North Padre National Seashore, Corpus Christi & Magnolia Beach on Matagorda Bay in Texas

Wed, March 7th - Sun, March 18th

We camped five nights at Padre Island National Seashore just a few feet from the beach. This was a rainy, windy day. I took this picture thru the windshield while laying in the bed in the back of the camper. Great day to curl up with a good book.

Remember that Alfred Hitchcock movie "Birds"? This place reminded me of it. Birds everywhere. Lots of Laughing Gulls and little bitty birds called Piping Plovers. They chased the waves out and ran back ahead of them when they came in again, their little feet running as fast as they could. They tap their feet to make it sound like it is raining, so their food will come out of the ground to them.

I don't know what kind this one is, but I bet my granddaughter does, and she will probably let me know. I think it's a sandpiper.

These guys are called Least Terns, the smallest of the terns in America. In the late 1800s they were hunted by the thousands to use their feathers for ladies hats. They are endangered, but there doesn't seem to be any shortage of them here.

Lots of herons and egrets here and this is where the whooping cranes come, but we were a couple weeks late to see their big migration.

While we were there, they had warnings out about the Portuguese Man-of-War jellyfish. Their sting is extremely painful. They are not a single creature, but a colony of smaller animals. The gas-filled float catches the ocean wind. Tentacles poison anchovies and other small fish. Feeding tubes digest the prey. Man-of-War Mackerel are immune to the poison and live within the protective tentacles. The common purple snail preys on the Man-of-War by floating on a bubble raft until it can attach itself.

Fortunately, the only jellyfish we saw were cannonball, sometimes called cabbagehead jellyfish. They don't have tentacles, but can occasionally sting and it's not too serious

There were quite a few of them washed up on the beaches here and at Magnolia Beach where we stayed next.

Here we were taking one of the ferries that connects the highways across to the many islands.

This one is Hwy. 316 to Port Aransas, Mustang Island and North Padre.

There are many causeways like this and ferries to connect all land areas over the mud flats, bays, etc. Notice the RV Park right on the beach of the bay. There are RV parks everywhere down here.

We didn't do much in Corpus Christi, but drive around the city a little. These were replicas of the Nina and Pinta built in Spain in 1992 for the 500th anniversary of the Columbus voyage. They toured American ports and now have a permanent home in Corpus Christi.

This is the USS Lexington Museum.

This is the beach on North Padre a few days before spring break. You can drive on the beach for something like 60 miles and camp free anywhere you like. We saw a few campers here and there, but it was pretty much deserted.

We came back on Monday afternoon and the scene was quite different. It looked like these pictures for miles and miles.

This was only Monday afternoon and they were just getting started. "Bottle of wine, fruit of the vine, when you gonna let me get sober..."

Ah, to be young and crazy, footloose and fancy free! It makes me tired just to think about it.

Tuesday we moved further north to Magnolia Beach on Matagorda Bay, near Port Lavaca. It is free camping on the beach here, also.

We parked right on the beach along with lots of other campers. Wildflowers in the grass, just like most of the highways in Texas, thanks to Lady Bird and her beautify America campaign.

We hadn't even been here a half hour when a big ship went by out in the bay. When the waves came in from the ship's wake they washed right up under the RV. So we moved back about six feet. After that, they came right up to our front step everytime a big ship passed by, several times a day.

I took this picture from the doorway of our mobile beach house.

Life is good on the beach. Can somebody bring me a margarita?

We were out for a walk, but John stopped to watch a big ship go by, while I was taking pictures. Down the beach in the background, you can see the beach campers, mostly Canadians speaking French. Way over half the snowbirds are Canadian.

We drove over to Port O'Conner for the Friday Shrimp and Fish Fry. Fresh seafood, yum! The barges were coming and going at a steady pace.

We watched the shrimp boats coming in with their day's catch. It reminded me of cows coming in at milking time. There was just a long line of them coming in from the ocean. The semis and smaller trucks were lined up waiting to be loaded with fresh seafood.

This is a pile of oyster shells next to the marina.

These brown pelicans and the dolphins just hang around waiting for the scraps.

I picked up shells at each beach that we stayed at. There were completely different kinds of shells at each beach. These are from South Padre.

There were hardly any shells at all at Padre Island National Seashore, just these little bitty ones that were only about a half inch or so across.

At Magnolia Beach, there were just millions of shells, but they were bigger and thicker and a totally different kind. I have a couple of buckets of shells stashed out of sight in the RV. I don't want John to be calling me Lucy (like Lucille Ball in "The Long, Long Trailer). If you've never seen it, it's hysterical!

One last picture as we leave the beaches. We left for Houston today. We are at a campground in League City for a week and will be sightseeing in the Houston area, before heading further north.

Looking forward to connecting with family and friends again about the first week in May.

Over and Out,


No comments:

Post a Comment