Thursday, January 5, 2012

Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge



Yesterday we put the bikes on the car rack and drove 20 miles east to Santa Ana NWR. There is a paved 7 mile road to ride (no cars allowed) and lot of trails to walk. Too bad the website didn’t mention that biking wasn’t being allowed at this time due to construction. The volunteers said it could be another month or more, and they weren’t too happy about it, either.

This is a semi-tropical forest along the Rio Grande, with beautiful Spanish moss hanging from the trees. There are several small lakes and one of the trails went along the river for a short distance. This is another popular birding area, and we saw kiskadees, hawks, ducks and grebes, and several other birds we couldn’t identify.


We had fun climbing up to the 25 ft high swinging rope bridge, and the adjacent 40 ft observation tower. 


Didn’t get a picture of the tower but this is what we saw from it.


Also saw this tree with big berries or nuts. Not sure what it is.


Jim didn’t take many photos since there were lots of mosquitoes and we had to walk fast to keep them away. Even I got bit several times whenever we stopped. If they open the park for biking before we leave the area we would like to go back. We’ll be sure to bring the bug spray next time.

On another note, Jim got creative and built a ramp for our sewer hose, using a piece of plastic gutter and PVC for the supports. Much cheaper than the accordion-like plastic support you can buy and doesn’t look too bad.


I went to Cinderella Pet Rescue Monday and spent a few hours with the cats. This guy Sylvester is my favorite so far. He wouldn’t leave me alone and was sitting on my lap when I took his picture.


I can’t remember this cat’s name, but Jim liked the picture so I will share it.


We’ve been riding bikes almost every day and Jim is very happy to be on a recumbent again. And we love our new binoculars. Today at the state park we ran into one of our neighbors. They are serious birders and have $2000 binoculars! Carol wanted to see ours and she let us look through hers. I was almost afraid to touch them, since I tend to drop things a lot, but we both tried them and couldn’t really tell a huge difference although there must be. After looking through ours she said they were very nice for entry level binoculars. There were lots of birds today and we finally got to see the black-vented oriole that’s been hanging around. Didn’t get a picture though, since it only stayed a few seconds. Besides Jim needs a much longer zoom camera for good bird photos. Maybe one if these days.



  1. What sweet kitties. So nice of you to give them some love.

    That's a beautiful rope bridge but there is NO WAY you would find me on that thing - uh uh, no way, no how!! The trail does look interesting though. Glad you are getting to see lots of birds.

  2. Oh I love National Wildlife Refuges and that trail and especially the rope bridge look terrific. Definitely putting this on my list. Thanks.


  3. What binoculars do you have? Ours are Nikon and we love them...and they didn't cost $2,000!! Nice pictures. We hope to visit there one of these days!

  4. That first shot is a winner, I love the light. I have to say, I'm pleased as punch with the zoom on my Canon SX40, but if I'm not mistaken, you guys have a newer camera, correct?

  5. Thanks for the heads up Santa Ana NWR. It looks like exactly the place we really enjoy. We will talk to you about it on Tuesday.
    Being cat people, we love the photos. They are so adorable.

  6. That area really looks like a place I would like to check out. Sorry you weren't able to ride your bikes thru the NWR.

  7. I love the pics. Would love to see birds like that. I get thrilled just seeing my backyard feathered friends. My pics are nothing like that tho! Thanks for sharing.