Since mosquitoes and the avoidance of them are a main focus of life here on the refuge, one of the first new things that I learn while volunteering at the Refuge Discovery Center is that a mosquito cannot fly faster than 2.5 miles an hour. A Master Naturalist shared that with me and I made this mnemonic to help me be prepared: Winds below two point five, slather on repellent to stay alive!
While I am not usually a huge fan of constant wind, I have come to appreciate a stiff breeze and am hesitant to step outside the coach here unless I can hear the flutter of our slideout toppers flapping indecisively with the changing currents. Once outside I am learning to study birds and right off I discover that contrary to my formally held beliefs, every white wading bird is not necessarily an Egret. I now know that Snowy Egrets have black legs with yellow feet that look like they walked in yellow paint and that Great White Herons look like Great Egrets but have yellow legs instead of the black legs of Egrets plus Great Herons should only be seen in Florida though we did not see one there.
I saw lots of Cattle Egrets in Florida though – they hang out with the cows hoping that while grazing the cattle will stir up some tasty insects for them to eat without the egrets working so hard to chase their food down. So in conclusion, many of the white wading birds are Egrets of some type, but they could be Herons or Ibis or something else… obviously I still have a lot to learn!
I thought you might enjoy a ride to the grocery store with me so you can get an idea of how the Texas landscape here differs from where you are. The refuge itself is the one area that reminds us of the coastal areas of NC with its cattail covered freshwater estuaries and cord grass filtered salt marsh. The areas outside the refuge are either cattle covered or covered with piping, powerlines and enormous petroleum product plants, something we never saw at home. I believe that the train passing me in the video below is leaving a nearby plant as it crawls by me at about one car every 4 seconds. The time stamp on the video tells me the train took 12 minutes to pass by. This means that 180 cars pass me (at 50′ length railcars according to a webpage I found), for a train length of almost 2 miles if I did the math right – of which there are NO guarantees!
Here is a ride to the grocery store here along the Gulf Coast of Texas: