Days in White Satin

If things go as scheduled in the coming weeks (and that is a big fingers crossed) we should be back on the hunt come April. Last year we received some very sad news at this time requiring us to cancel our plans to catch the bird migration at Dauphin Island, Alabama (link here). To be honest, the loss has yet to transition from the “difficult” stage – every holiday, every noteworthy experience and every milestone that has happened since has been paired with a sour element knowing we wouldn’t be able to share it with her. That trip has now been rescheduled, although something tells me I’ll be thinking less about the Gulf crossers and more about the time spent trying to express the appreciation for all she had done for us. It is what I didn’t get the chance to say that saddens me the most.

With the coming travels, I am trying to stay on top of the posts in between working on the latest batches of images from Texas and now Vegas. I do have a pretty good safety net thanks to a number of really nice features Brad has added to the queue. I’ll definitely be rolling a few of those out this month and then leverage his larger efforts while we are traveling. Found this series of images from last year’s Texas shoot. This beautiful white Duck is what triggered the memories.

I’ve mentioned it before, but I generally refrain from featuring “domestic” waterfowl. That doesn’t mean I do not fill up my digital cards when we encounter them, rather tend to put them to the side assuming our readers would rather read/learn about wilder encounters. Every once in a while, the end products turn out pretty nice and I go ahead and add them to the queue (link here). I think this series fits that select category.

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of our Duck in white satin.

It is always a toss-up when it comes to the hybrids and domestics. For simplicity, I’m just going to put this particular specimen in the Pekin Duck category. If you happen to head down to your local park or urban watering hole, there is a good chance one (likely more) will be slowly paddling away keeping an eye out for any visitors carrying bread sacks. Maybe you will even see some of their friends adorned in whatever colors happen to dominate the intermixed gene pool. This particular specimen had some likely Mallard lines in its entourage.

These three happen to glide by as we were exploring Guadalupe River State Park just north of San Antonio, Texas. I believe it is technically located in Spring Branch. Full credit to Linda who found this particular spot for us to visit. Considered one the most beautiful rivers in Texas, the part of Guadalupe that runs through this state park is breathtaking (link here). Definitely narrower and shallower than the granddaddies that run through Illinois, but the surrounding scenery will bring peace to any soul. We made a point to put this spot on our Texas itinerary this year.

The State Park has a number of campsites and day-use spots, complete with numerous trails, easy access to the river itself and best of all…a well maintained bird blind. That first year we visited, there were not a lot of other people. Felt like we had the entire park to ourselves. This year we arrived on the 2nd and must have bumped up against the New Year’s crowd. A completely different story, the place was absolutely packed. We waited in line at the entrance for over 30 minutes. Thankfully we had campsite reservations which gave us a reserved entry, those that did not preregister or were not staying overnight were being turned away.

The campground was surprisingly quiet this year, but the river area, wow, was that LOUD. Linda is tired of me bitching about this, but ever since we were turned on to the Merlin Sound ID App, it has become glaringly obvious humans are ridiculous noise polluters. In the past I passed it off as random bursts of excited children at play – based on the near blackness produced by the soundmap, it is nonstop – everyone practically screams just conversing with other individuals merely feet away. Merlin also picks up all the plane roars, car burping and cycle rumbles often subliminally filtered out from years of exposure. Bird must think our ears only function as balance weights to stand upright.

I mention this contrast primarily to point out how shocked I was when I spotted these exact same three ducks on our visit this year. Like in our first encounter, slowly paddling the waters seemingly without a care in the world. The water was significantly lower this year so there wasn’t the silky dark backdrop we saw in this series which, I think, makes the shots in this particular series.

There is so much more I need to explore in this state park. If you get a chance to visit, I highly recommend checking out the Woodland Blind which is near marker 5 and then taking the River Overlook Trail labeled as 3 on this map (link here). You will want to go straight through the Discovery Center Loop, walk up a small hill and take the trail to the right. After a short walk, you will find yourself on a limestone bluff overlooking the river and the Bauer Unit area which I plan to spend more time in on our next trip – unless you cross the river, that area is only accessed by another gate opposite the main entrance. Have a seat on the ledges, breathe in the gorgeous scenery, collect your thoughts and recall the good times.

Goodbye Mom.

33 thoughts on “Days in White Satin”

  1. It looks more like a duck in white satin never reaching the end of the pond. Ripples it’s made man never meaning to send. But it loves you. Yes it loves you. It loves you. It’s a sweet looking white satin duck. I hope you get to go hunting in April.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha, great minds, I debated about Ducks in White Satin to align better with the song, but I only had one duck in that feathering and opted for the counter to Nights instead. Somebody know his Moody Blues lyrics ha. Keeping optimistic on the trip – so far so good. Thanks for dropping by Timothy.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, this one was definitely keeping an eye on me…or rather my hands looking for the bread bag. When it realized I wasn’t holding, it turned in search of other opportunities. These domestics can be a fickle bunch ha.

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  2. The good thing about being the one with the camera is you get to be the one deciding when to take a picture. Is a bird no less beautiful just because it’s a hybrid?

    We used to live just north of San Antonio and enjoyed some good times along the Guadalupe and in the Hill Country.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True words Wally – as they say, the creator has all the freedom. There are definitely some hybrids that are stunning (as in this Pekin and the Greylags referenced in the article) although I’ve seen some like the Muscovy Duck hybrids that would scare the crap out of ya’ on a dark night hehehe. My issue is more of the lack of a backstory for the post as a lot of my content is focused on the subjects behavior, lifecycles etc. and that is a bit sketchy when it comes to the hybrids. I am looking forward to getting the chance to explore that area and that river more in the coming years. From our short visits it looks like a beautiful spot. In the past, we would fly past the Hill Country area on our race to get to the border birds, but on our last trip we took a little more time to check out Waco, Austin and then San Antonio before dropping down – added some good birds as a result. Assuming you are enjoying the Florida scene these days.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely! As I mentioned to Wally below, the Muscovy Duck hybrids can get a bit scary, but for the most part these hybrids can turn out quite lovely. I laughed to myself when I noticed they Mallard-like companions were hanging back from their leader like a celebrity entourage. Thank you for coming by Sandra, safe travels.


  3. Like you, I also enjoy watching (and photographing) domestic or hybrid waterfowl. It’s endearing how tame they are, and I find their antics and
    vocalizations endlessly amusing.
    I’m sorry you lost your mother last year. We never really get over being “on our own.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a good point, I think they are even more endearing because they are so much more docile/calmer than the rest of the wildlife in and around the water. Thank you for the thoughts. I lost my Father a few years before, but the suddenality (if that is a word) ended up surprisingly taking some of the lasting sting out of the situation. Contrast that with my brothers and being with our Mother from the moment we heard the news until the moment she lost her battle has made the loss so much more lasting and likely additionally saddening as it also meant the last of our parental guidance (Linda’s parents have also both passed away – we are both the youngest of our families). The next two months will probably be difficult, but we will always have the memories. Appreciate you dropping in Tanja, always good to hear from you.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Linda. Rescheduling that previous trip triggered a flood of good memories for me. I am sure it will continue to build until aawe pass that official one year mark (sadly on Mother’s Day). Appreciate your visit, the kind thoughts and blessings.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry, I almost deleted this post before I published it – writing it was more therapy for me than intent to sadden anyone else’s day. I ended up liking the Duck pictures so let it go. Will get back to regularly scheduled programming now ha.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Writing is the very best therapy and the fact that it affected me is more my mother issues than anything else. My mother hasn’t spoken to me since 2018! Sad… anyway it s good to let it out into the universe.😊

        Liked by 1 person

        1. This blog is probably cheaper than a therapist ha. So sorry to hear about the situation with your mother – family is my foundation and always sad to hear when this is not as solid for others. Hang in there.

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          1. Blog and therapist are same cost here as included in our insurance. No issues on my mom situation as I accepted the situation long ago but know it could have been so much better if she chose a different course. Thanks for your kind words.

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          2. Right, I forgot the ridiculous cost of WordPress over there. It has been a while already, but I’ll continue wishes as more time passes your mom will figure out the better way. Have a great weekend CJ…winter is waging a counter-attack against the approaching spring and now back into the single digit windchills. Missing the warmth from those gallons of blood they rudely sucked out of me.

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          3. We have learned to layer here (actually, old hikers trick) to combat unpredictable weather. Still laughing about that blood letting encounter you had, sounds almost as traumatic as Linda encountering a snake.😂🤣

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          4. Similar, but nothing really compares to the snake “incidents” – it would take twice as many nurses to calm her down and pretty sure the nurses would be the ones bleeding at the end. She still owes me a shirt from when she tore the one off my back trying to flee a 1 foot baby slitherer.

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  4. Woohoo, another great location recommended by Intrigued! I have a whole folder of bookmarks now for following up on these. Really appreciate the tips! I hear your sentiment regarding regretting the things you didn’t get the chance to say; I think most of us have felt the same. I’m reminded to take all opportunities to say what’s in my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad we could bring you a new site! Might want to avoid that place on holidays, but we have always enjoyed our time there — plus they have guaranteed Lesser Goldfinches at their bird blind so I can always get that checked off for the year. Now that we have an inflatable kayak, thinking it might be fun to give that river a go next time we are down there…parts we saw were fairly tame. From time to time on my long runs I take a few minutes to recall the good times and give my thanks – helps to focus on something else when your body has been drained – comforting to think Mom and Dad can hear my thoughts.

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