Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Our Visitors from the North to the Valley

The temperatures soared here in the Valley today.  It probably reached 100 degrees, and strangely enough it is still winter, it would be that hot in St.Louis only in the summertime!  Our son Daniel checked the weather for Washington D.C. before he and Amanda left this morning- 43 degrees was the prediction for today.  That leaves us wondering how soon we should head north, our plans are to leave here in two weeks.
We also had other visitors this weekend- Amanda's brother Josh, wife Ashley, and their 4 children also came.  It was necessary for them to leave on Sunday morning.  Just before they left I took their picture.
I had just opened the door to their trailer when suddenly all four children showed up to greet me with big grins on their faces.  What delightful children, and over the couple of days they were here I did not observe one quarrel between them.  Most of Saturday afternoon they played in our park's pool.  Their Great-Grandpa and Grandma Lana were also here with us (Great- Grandpa lives in Mission,Texas).  On Sunday, after the children and their parents left, John and I took Daniel sight-seeing to places in the Valley which we thought he would enjoy.  Amanda stayed behind to spend time with her Grandpa recording family history.
John and I took Daniel to Roma, as he enjoys American history as much as we do.  John and him are inspecting the building above, a commercial/residential structure built in1853.  During the Civil War it served as a military hospital.  While in Roma we stopped at a birding center, and were encouraged to do some birding in an area northwest of town down by the Rio Grande River, and were also given a map of the town of Salineno where a variety of orioles could be found in the palms by a church.  We were successful in finding a variety of local birds to show our son. And it was fascinating for all of us to see the residential areas located in the small borders towns which we traveled through.  Beautiful mansions with colorful and lush vegetation could be seen located close to shacks with yards of scrub brush, and livestock.
Near the house pictured above was another residence with a horse in its backyard.  Daniel wanted to take a picture of the horse, as well as give the animal some petting.  What a beautiful horse!  Behind the horse was a large satellite dish for the home.
This morning, Monday morning,  John and I returned to Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge hoping we could show Dan some more birds of the Valley.  Fortunately when we arrived a birding group was headed out,  led by a park guide.  She did an excellent job in locating birds for us, as well as identifying a wide variety of bird songs.  At Willow Lake we saw numerous shore birds as stilts, solitary sandpipers as well as long-billed dowitchers and a variety of ducks.  In the riparian forest John and I saw some birds which we never seen before as the flycatcher and gnatcatcher. The latter bird is so cute, with a blue-grey body measuring only about 41/4 inches in length.  We were unable to continue with our birding group for the entire time of their hike as Dan and Amanda had to leave for Austin by about noon.  As we stepped off the trail and headed back for the car a bird (we think it was a long-billed thrasher) burst into a long melodious song.  What a perfect ending for our morning in the wildlife refuge! 

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