‘Tis the season of the Audubon Christmas Bird Count! I met up with Doray and a team of birders at Reimer Ranch yesterday. We hiked all day and saw so many birds. The first half of the day was cold, but by 4:30pm I had shed 3 layers. The former ranch, now a park, overlooks the Pedernales River. It’s a beautiful place to spend the day.
As Lake Travis’ level continues to drop, the water in the cove where Cupholder spent the last year is getting too low and the dock it is tied to will soon be aground. So yesterday, Monte and I took a drive upriver and sailed Cupholder back down to our marina, soon to be hauled out and parked at home.
It was a very windy day. A front had just passed through, so the winds were out of the north, which is what we hoped for to make for an easier sail 25 miles down river. Northerly is good, however, it was blowing 15-30 knots, with some gusts in the 40-knot range. So, it was a nice, but exciting, sail. The scenery that far up the river is always pretty, and the autumn color is finally showing up.
After a 6-hour sail, we arrived safely at the marina right before sunset. Kurt met us and helped us tie up in the strong winds. Another mission accomplished on the lake.
I enjoyed my Saturday to the fullest. I got up early to go birding for a few hours at one of my favorite spots – Commons Ford Ranch Metropolitan Park. I watched the sun rise above the prairie.
I headed down the path to the river, as the mist lifted. Everything was very dewy.
It was nice to be out looking for the birdies.
After returning home, I cleaned up and we headed to the lake. Monte and I enjoyed a long sail in mild-ish winds. As soon as we got into the slip the winds really picked up (of course). So, when Kurt and Kevin stopped by a little bit later, we all went back out, in more sporting wind. It was another great sail, though with 4 people in the cockpit, we wore masks.
We were tied back up in the slip in time to watch the sun set on a very nice day.
Rachel and her friend Becky are visiting this weekend. We didn’t think we could keep up with a couple of vivacious 30-something’s in downtown Austin on a Friday night, so I dropped them downtown tonight for an evening of fun. I was treated to a view of tonight’s lovely sunset on the way home.
We enjoyed floating and fishing with Lori and Mike and four of his grandkids today on Nirvana, anchored in our favorite cove on Lake Travis. It was a fun time. The kids were great, and they caught 4 fish between them!
We checked out Brick Oven’s Jazz night for dinner. The patio was full, though, so we had to sit inside.
Another good day!
It was a good day on the lake. No wind. But lots of sun, it almost reached 100 degrees. Lake water temps are perfect right now, 83 degrees. We floated all day to beat the heat. Air conditioning at the slip sure helps, too.
Camelot and Nirvana rafted up last night after going for a nice long sail. It was the first raft-up of 2019, and the first one in quite a long time before that. It’s nice to be at anchor, and we were tucked way up in a creek where the only wakes being thrown at us came from kayaks. Perfect.
The lake is rising and is above full, due to recent rains. We’ll see how high it goes in the next week or so.
I kayaked up to the end of the creek that we anchored in. Lake sailing in the Texas Hill Country doesn’t suck.
A mallard duck came out to greet me.
Pretty view of a lovely anchorage.
We took a drive out through the Hill Country this week; out Highway 290 towards Fredericksburg. It was a beautiful day. We left early to beat the morning rush hour and stopped at Pedernales Falls State Park to visit their bird blinds. We stayed for less than an hour, but saw canyon wrens, ladderback woodpeckers, yellow-bellied sapsuckers, lincoln and field sparrows, ruby-crowned kinglets, black-crested titmice, cardinals, spotted towhees, and more.
Along the way we stopped at the Pedernales River several times and saw wild turkeys, buffalo and longhorn cattle.
Then we stopped at Wildseed Farms to buy fresh flower seed to plant after the last freeze.
Our last stop, Hye Rum, was a new one for us, having opened only a few years ago. Monte especially enjoyed their barrel-aged dark rum. Check them out.
We made it back home before the afternoon rush hour.
On Sunday, we went to the lake to sail in the weekly regatta – the “beercan” race. We crewed for Kurt & Kevin on Camelot, and we came in first! It was a beautiful day on Lake Travis.
A view forward…
and a view aft…
I’ve been home for two weeks, catching up on the homefront. Noreen and David visited for a week, and we got out for a sail on Lake Travis with them. I’m enjoying watching the last few weeks of Winter happen in the Hill Country. This is the tail end of last night’s sunset, through the trees in my back yard.
I participated in my 3rd Christmas Bird Count today. Our small group of four birders hiked for over 6 hours and logged 45 species. Our counts will be rolled up with the other teams’ results.
A foggy morning over the Pedernales River….
turned into a beautiful day above the Pedernales River.
What a lovely day!
It’s hard to believe that 2018 is half-lived already, this first day of July.
The Saharan dust has arrived, making the Hill Country very hazy, this is one view from FM 620 looking out over Steiner Ranch.
And it is HOT! Lake Travis water temp is 83 degrees F, and the air temp is 20 degrees hotter. The only way to beat the heat is to get out on and in the water.
We enjoyed a fun weekend on the lake. Saturday, we floated and visited with Sue, Marty, Kurt, Gordon, and Margaret, and slept on the boat. This morning we gathered below to watch Spain’s loss to Russia in the knock-out round of the World Cup, and then went for a sail in nice winds.
We’re back home and worn out. I’m looking forward to more Fourth of July lake fun next week.
With no commitments until Easter dinner with Julie later in the day, we headed out to visit Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. It is a beautiful place to see in the spring, full of gardens teeming with wildflowers, and several miles of lovely trails to explore.
I don’t think the wildflowers have peaked yet in south Austin, based on what we saw here, so there’s still time to get out there and see them!
There is a great-horned owl family roosting in a wall ledge just inside the entrance. There are two owlets, but they are not sticking their heads up in this shot.
I love this time of year in Austin. The hills look like broccoli.
And the golden-cheeked warbler returns for nesting season.
I wish it lasted longer, but I’ll enjoy it while I can.