Monday, February 28, 2011

Thank You to the Winter Texans by the City of Mission

This was our first winter in the Rio Grand Valley.  The people were very welcoming and friendly.  Helpful too.  We were here for two months and plan to stay next winter for 4 months.  On February 26, the Mission, Texas Chamber of Commerce put on a Thank You to all the Winter Texans.  It was between 12-3.  We got there at 11:30 a.m. and the place was almost filled.  Approximately 3500 visitors came to this event. It was free but you had to pick up tickets at the Chamber office.  We went with Chico and Jacki.

There was a free lunch provided by Jason's Deli.  A nice sandwich, chips, cookie and a drink.  All afternoon there was entertainment, similar to what comes to our park, plus a Cowboy Poet, and politicians thanking Winter Texans for all the revenue that they provided.  We never knew we were  Winter Texans till then, we thought we were Snow Birds.  We were wondering if Florida or Arizona treated their visitors that good.

We've made lots of friends at Bentsen Grove but we will miss our Bingo Buddies the most, Jackie and Chico, but they too are coming back next year.  We'll miss you Mission, Tx., we do feel like you have become our winter home.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Activities around our park

One of the reasons that we like our park at Bentsen Grove, beside the friendliness of everyone, is the amount of activities that are offered.  If you want to exercise, there is aerobics,Tai Chi, yoga, or swimnastics offered daily.  If you like arts and crafts, there is china painting, paper quiling, ceramics, watercolor,stained glass, jewelry making, oil painting, swedish weaving, scrapbooking & card making, and quilting.  If you want to join a club there is the bike club, rock club, woodcraving, and computer club.  How about cards?  You can play: Uno or Dirty Uno, "65",  Polish Poker, Nomination, Bridge, Pinochle, Bid Euchre, Cribbage, Pokeno, Bunco, Whist, and Pegs and Jokers.  ( I may have missed some.) Are you a sport fan, well then try: golf, table tennis, horseshoes, pickleball, tennis, shuffleboard, softball, Plinkers, darts, bowling, and hooping for fitness.
There is also a Y Cook Cafe, one of my favorite places, that serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus ice cream several times per week.

I have told you about entertainment in the evenings here.  Well sometimes residents provide entertainment also. This is the Bentsen Grove Kitchen Band.  A very fun evening.

I thought we had pictures of the Cloggers from Bentsen Grove, but I guess we don't.  They are awesome! There is also line dancers which was a performance we didn't see.

The show choir from Mission High School was excellent.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bob's Birds, Birds, Birds

While at Bentsen Grove, Bob spent about two days a week birding.  He birded with the Bentsen Grove Birding Club and with a small group of like minded birders, Kathy Whittier, Bob Wilson, and Mary.  Sorry Mary we didn't remember your last name.

This is Bob Wilson and Bob.  He gets the credit for all the beautiful bird pictures. Bob and his wife Pam are from Vancouver, British Columbia.

This is Kathy and David Whitter.  David is not a birder. Kathy is the organizer of the bird trips.

Three miles down the road from our park is one of The World Birding Center parks. The World Birding Center is more than just one park.  It is a network of nine distinctly different birding sites, set along a 120-mile historic river road-each sponsored by one of the Valley's nine partner communities.
It is a $20 million development based on the joint partnership between the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Rio Grande Valley Communities & U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Bob had the opportunity to visit about  4 of these parks:  Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley (Mission)
Edinburg Scenic Wetlands, Estero Llano Grande (Westaco), and Resaca de la Palma (Brownsville).

Some of the birds Bob saw distinct to this area were: 

Yellow Crowned Night Heron

Altamira Oriole

Aplomado Falcon eating a field mouse

Golden Fronted Woodpecker

Green Jay (My favorite)


Bob really enjoyed birding in this area with lots to see and good friends to share it with this season.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sea Life Safari

As a Valentine Day treat, Bob and I took a boat tour to explore the diverse ecology of the Laguna Madre Bay.

Bob was ready to check out the birds.  We saw many:  Brown and white pelicans, Coots, Laughing Gull, Great Egrets, Osprey and the state bird of Texas the Mocking Bird.

The boat had a drag net and pulled up crabs from the sea.

Not the type of crab that gives us good crab legs to eat.  Too small.

I think this was squid but I am not sure, could be wrong.

There was a pod of about 150 dolphins.  These were twin babies.

I have lived in California a long time, but this is the most dolphins I have seen.

There were several shrimp boats.

And we were attached by a pirates ship.  You too could become a pirate on this boat.
It was a windy trip but we saw so much it was really enjoyable.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Let's Go Fly a Kite!

On Sunday, we traveled to South Padre Island, Texas, for the 11th Annual SPI Kite Fest, with our friends Jim (Chico) and Jacki Garvis.  It was a beautiful day on the beach with kite demos and shows and many beautiful single line kites fill the sky throughout the day.


After enjoying the kites, we decided we were starving and headed to Pier 19.

These Brown Pelican greeted us as we entered.

Jacki and Chico trying to decide what looked good.

After dinner, we drove through Isla Banca Park and came across this memorial titled "El Cristo de los Pescadores" which means "Christ of the Fishermen." This maritime statue depicts Jesus blessing fishermen who have been lost at sea.  Plaques on its base memorialize some of these departed souls, ad families still bring flowers and notes here for them.

We ended the evening enjoying the sunset at the Isla Banca Park.  What a great day:)