Sadly, my winter visit with my daughter has come to an end. She has been so very accommodating, making sure I had my time in nature. She claims that she is not a birder, but she is the best non-birder there is! She spots them and hears them often before I do! If I keep to the bigger birds, she'll remain engaged for hours. She drove me down country roads, hiked trails, arranged for a cruise in a glass-bottomed boat, wandered the wetlands, cared for me when I had the flu, and brought me bird books from the library.
The New Braunfels area lies on the Balcones Enscarpment, the dividing line between the Coastal Plains and the Hill Country, but only a few hours away from the Piney Woods of the Houston area, and she made sure I experienced it all, with the support of her 'intended', a young man any mother would be proud to call "son-in-law".
I will certainly miss my time with her, although I'm sure she's heaving a big sigh of relief knowing that my plane will be taxiing down the runway tomorrow morning. Next stop, the Dallas/Ft. Worth area for a few days reuniting with some teacher friends, then back to New England.
A ride on a glass-bottomed boat, you ask? Oh, yessiree, and what an interesting tour of the springs of the San Marcos River, at the Aquarena Center, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX.
Ever wonder what a 'spring' looks like? I, for one, had no idea!
Here we have springs.
Tiny, sandy spots on the bottom of the river where water flows out, sometimes so rapidly and at such volumes, there is no vegetation for several feet around the perimeter.
And, just for fun, check this out:
We weren't the only ones enjoying the tour.
Reflected from the water.
Another glass-bottomed boat just like ours, built in the 1960's
and very well maintained.
Located on the site of an old, 1940's theme park, the Aquarena now plays host to scuba enthusiasts, underwater archeologists, and biology students, as well as providing nature and geological history at it's best for visitors to the center. The theme park closed in the early 1990's when diving pigs in an underwater theater could no longer compete with parks the likes of SeaWorld in nearby San Antonio.
We met the most delightful, elderly gentleman birder who visits the wetland daily, and helped us locate and identify a Swamp Sparrow, new to my lifelist! He told me that the Zone-tailed Hawk I had seen a few days previously was on all of his birder friend's wish lists, and that he'd only seen one once. Imagine that. And it was flying right over my daughter's backyard one afternoon!! I almost blew it off as 'just another vulture', but boy was I glad that I kept my eye on it!!
It was a fun day and after a little picnic lunch, we wound it up by taking all back roads home, stopping along the way at every opportunity - but that's fodder for another day's post.
If you ever find yourself in the San Marco area, be sure to find time to visit the Aquarena Center. There's even a little aquarium, featuring some rare and endangered species, like the Texas Blind Salamanders.
The welcome mat is always out!
The winners of my give-away have been notified and their books are on their way!
I've been making quilts for well over thirty years now. Even before I actually started piecing, I was fascinated with quilt blocks, and would take books from the library and pour through them. From there, I started copying them into a sketch book and playing with color. I never dreamed I'd be where I am today!
"Each of us harbors a homeland, a landscape we naturally comprehend. By understanding the dependability of place, we can anchor ourselves as trees.
Terry Tempest Williams/An Unspoken Hunger