Motoring Across America

With James "Alex" Alexander

with James "Alex" Alexander


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Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge

Blog 301: Return to the Sea

Turtle Release
In my last blog I shared the details of the turtle rescue. Five days later, 50 surviving turtles were returned to the sea. Jan and I and several friends drove over to Padre Island to see this spectacle. We were especially anxious to see if "Barney," one of the four turtles we dipped from the deep, had survived the ordeal. We arrived a half hour before the scheduled event and had the chance to talk with several of the dedicated folks from Sea Turtle Inc.

Sea Turtlers

After chatting about our roles in the rescue, they invited me to participate in the release. This unexpected honor was a blast. Two of us chosen ones grabbed the big guys and walked them into waist-high water (human level), and then let go as our captured reptiles flipped their way back home. Yes! Barney made it! (His unique barnacle square on top of his head was a dead giveaway.)

Alex and Turtle


Santa Ana NWR
Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge is a sister refuge, west and south of us right on the Mexican border. Jan and I planned to be "mystery shoppers," checking out their refuge and comparing and contrasting it to Laguna Atascosa. We were especially interested in taking their tram tour so as to pick up a pointer or two. Alas, when we arrived, we learned that the tram driver was sick, and the tram was cancelled. So, we checked out their Visitor Center and walked a couple of their trails. Also got a nice picture of a chacalaca.

Plain Chachalaca

South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center
On another day a group of us drove over to the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center. Great place to view birds, as a series of boardwalks gets you right up into the action.

Green Heron

Texas River Cooter Turtle

Around the Refuge
We continue to see lots of birds and critters on the tours and around the refuge. Here are some pics, including the rare aplomado falcon, a caracara, an armadillo, feral pigs, a green jay, a herd of nilgai, a stilt, and a rattlesnake that slithered across our yard, went under out Jeep, the headed over to rest by our neighbors.

Aplomado Falcon


Caracara 3

Feral Pigs

Green Jay

Nilgai Herd

Rattler II


The yuccas are blooming all over, adding a nice touch of color to the browns and greens. Here is a photo of a white-tailed hawk atop a yucca flower.

White-Tailed Hawk on Flowering Yucca

Old Trucks
Here are two old trucks from the Old Truck Reserve.

Old Truck 1

Old Truck 2

See you next time.