STILL IN SEARCH OF THE ALIEN COW

One of our favorite places here to visit wildlife is Brazos Bend State Park. We tried to go back in November, but were turned away as they were still closed due to damage from August 26th’s Hurricane Harvey that had the park under 6 feet of water and did major damage to the park. To date they are still not sure how many alligators just floated away during the storm.

Tuesday was sunny, but on the cool side so the alligators were only visible when sunbathing along the lake edges, but the birds were everywhere.  Unfortunately, we only got about half the park in as I just plain ran out of energy.  We’ll go back in a few weeks.

After several visits I was curious about what alligators actually eat. My research shows that what they eat is dependent on their age and size, but they are primarily carnivores no matter what. Researchers have found fruits and berries in dead alligators also. As they grow they will progressively hunt for larger and larger prey including turtles, raccoons, muskrat, large fish and some birds that live near the water. There have been reports of dogs, panthers and even black bears being eaten by alligators. Once an adult they will feed on any pretty much any animal that comes near the water. Alligators tend to NOT prey on anything larger than they are. I’m sure given the right scenario, they might prey on just about anything if they are hungry enough. Alligators tend to avoid humans, but when provoked they may attack. As you can see from my pictures there are plenty of turtles and birds that live in and around these alligators.

Even the turtles were sunbathing trying to stay warm.

Like I said, the birds were EVERYWHERE including this guy who I thought would turn and fly the other way as we got closer, but did the complete opposite landing right next to us and then taking his time crossing in front of us.

After reading this I have to wonder who and why they created a park where there is NOTHING separating you from the alligators except your common sense to keep your distance. ALL of the alligators I saw today were larger than I am!

Back in 2011 when we were here taking care of my aunt we made our first trip to the park and on the way home we saw an “ALIEN” cow.  We have looked evey time for the cow or an offspring, but still NO luck.

AN ADVENTURE – THE HARD WAY

Life has been so topsy turvy lately and we both just needed a break.  We decided to take a day and visit a favorite park of ours, Brazos Bend State Park.

There is a don’t touch or pester the alligators rule and as long as everyone behaves there are no issues seeing the alligators via their natural habitat.  They are not caged or fenced and people just know to leave them alone and enjoy the park.  There are also several wonderful birds, turtles and old mossy trees to enjoy making this a truly unique experience.  Boots and Alien Cows is a post from a few years back if you are interested.

On our way to the park I kept a look out for Alien Cow. It had been several years since we’d seen him, but we ALWAYS look just for fun.

But, the universe had another idea on how we were going to spend our day. The park closure changed our day big time. Alligators wander off from the park during the best of times, but the flood waters were 4 1/2 feet in the park and the estimate is that 300-350 alligators just floated out of the park in floodwaters along with several venomous snakes. There was a pretty informative article here if you’re interested. Here are some images from GOOGLE to give you an idea of what a trip to Brazos Bend is like.

Personally I fear the cotton mouth snakes more than the alligators.  The park itself has been flooded during the last 3 BIG floods – Memorial Day 2015, April 2016 and Hurricane Harvey 2017 which was the worst and forced the park closure so pathways, ponds and signs could be re-created.  This time they lost several buildings too.  The wonderfully informative Ranger at the front gate told us they were slated to re-open November 7th so we will try again after that time. I’m anxious to see how it’s changed.

So we decided to head for the coast, Freeport in particular just because we had never been there, but once again the universe had another idea as a HUGE fire detoured us. Fortunately it was a very nice day and we went with the flow to Surfside Beach.

The beach was absolutely perfect and many people were out enjoying it just like us, including the pelicans and surf birds.

This is an area that builds its house on HUGE pillars because of strong storm surges during storms and hurricanes.  While most places appear to have gone unscathed here, there were several still in need of repair and many already undergoing a rebuilding.

And no road trip for us would be complete without major roadwork in our path.

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Finally some relaxation ~ Boots anyone?

Many of you know that we came here to help family in an elder care situation.  We are still embroiled in major red tape with the VA also.  We hit the ground running when we arrived here and there has been very little relaxation time since considering, but we managed to steal a few hours last weekend to check out Brazos Bend State Park.  I wasn’t feeling too well, but we managed to get a few hours of exploration in before I had to give up for the day.  I did pretty well considering when I was finally dragged to the doctor on Friday I was told I had bronchitis, pharyngitis, strep throat and the beginnings of pneumonia.  Hey, I’m a tough old bird!  Kinda like this turkey that I literally almost walked right into at the nature center.  I was then pleasantly surprised to see that the turkey was shot by a turkey I know – LOL my uncle donated him to the park after a turkey shoot several years ago.

We took a short walk around a small lake and were rewarded with these sunbathing turtles.

There were tons of what I call Harry Potter trees throughout the park.  You know the kind of trees whose branches look like spidery arms that could scoop up a human being at the drop of a hat?
The creme de la creme though is the alligators!  They are such magnificent creatures. At least as long as you leave them alone!  We spent several hours searching for them to have them all be in the same place – sunbathing in a low lake.
How they can cover themselves in all that slime is beyond me, but it really camouflages them well.  My pictures are pretty clear, but it took some searching to distinguish them from rocks and other growth.

On the way out the park we were rewarded with this unlikely trio – all at peace with one another.

As for this guy, we were positive someone painted this guy up for the impending Halloween holiday, but when we blew up the picture, we don’t really think so.  It appears to be natural occurring.  

I do intend to go back one weekend soon and see if his “birthmark” is still there or if it has washed away.

BOOTS & ALIEN COWS

Many of you know that we came here to help family in an elder care situation.  We are still embroiled in major red tape with the VA also.  We hit the ground running when we arrived here and there has been very little relaxation time since considering, but we managed to steal a few hours last weekend to check out Brazos Bend State Park.  I wasn’t feeling too well, but we managed to get a few hours of exploration in before I had to give up for the day.  I did pretty well considering when I was finally dragged to the doctor on Friday I was told I had bronchitis, pharyngitis, strep throat and the beginnings of pneumonia.  Hey, I’m a tough old bird!  Kinda like this turkey that I literally almost walked right into at the nature center.  I was then pleasantly surprised to see that the turkey was shot by a turkey I know – LOL my uncle donated him to the park after a turkey shoot several years ago.

We took a short walk around a small lake and were rewarded with these sunbathing turtles.

There were tons of what I call Harry Potter trees throughout the park.  You know the kind of trees whose branches look like spidery arms that could scoop up a human being at the drop of a hat?
The creme de la creme though is the alligators!  They are such magnificent creatures. At least as long as you leave them alone!  We spent several hours searching for them to have them all be in the same place – sunbathing in a low lake.
How they can cover themselves in all that slime is beyond me, but it really camouflages them well.  My pictures are pretty clear, but it took some searching to distinguish them from rocks and other growth.

On the way out the park we were rewarded with this unlikely trio – all at peace with one another.

As for this guy, we were positive someone painted this guy up for the impending Halloween holiday, but when we blew up the picture, we don’t really think so.  It appears to be natural occurring.

I do intend to go back one weekend soon and see if his “birthmark” is still there or if it has washed away.

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