We had a couple of lovely days on Galveston Island. The weather “helped” us change our plans several times. We were going kayaking on Monday, but 20 MPH winds with gusts to 30 were not our cup of kayaking tea. So…. lets see what is happening with the little migrators crossing the Gulf of Mexico from Central and South America to the US (our other undocumented crossing!). These birds, some tiny things, hummingbirds and warblers, fly nonstop across the Gulf of Mexico, often traveling at night using the starts to navigate. If they end up with storms or a headwind, they are pooped and sort of collapse on the US Gulf coast. Even if things go well, they are ready for a break and some food before continuing to their breeding grounds further north. They stop all along the Gulf coast but a couple of the well know spots are Audubon Preserve east of Galveston Bay right on the coast in a town called High Island (on top of salt domes, thus the name). There are a couple of spots where Audubon has an international birding company doing 3 free tours each day *for a month*. Little warblers are notoriously hard to see flitting in the trees and even when spotted, sometimes very hard to ID. A good guide is worth their weight in gold. We saw a hand full of warblers (they were not dropping out in droves), but MANY more birds when we went looking for shore birds (also sometimes hard to ID.) We did manage in the two walks to see somewhere around 75 species so can’t complain!)
5 or 6 species of terns, som pelicans, a few gulls, a couple turnstones, … The all get along…. mostly.
I love pelicans in flight!
At one of the High Island sites, there is a HUGE rookery where thousands of egrets, spoonbills, cormorants nest and also roost for the night. Quite an amazing site!
An egret Christmas tree. These birds stand 3 feet tall!
A good birding day!
Yesterday, we went kayaking. Galveston Island State Park has several kayak trails which sounded fun. We had our inflatable kayak along and our friend Leesa rented one. Out to paddle around the bay, looking for birds among the sea grass. Not nearly as many birds as we might have thought, but lovely calm weather. A couple miles out, a nice tower to climb for a better view. Nice!
Leesa in good form!
Return to the kayaks. Hum…. our inflatable has one side a bit soft. No, we don’t take out pump with us. Of course not. We’ll be OK. So, lets just make our way back through the marsh. Getting harder and harder to paddle, but still making way. Jim is starting the sink in a bit at the back and the boat wants to wander right, the direction of the soft side of the kayak. Paddle harder. Sylvia moves forward, Jim squats and moves forward. Steer hard to the left. Which was to home???? It’s somewhere that direction…. Getting tired. But, we made it!
A Great Blue Heron in the marsh grass. Miles of grass. Some is on solid, if mucky ground.
We don’t use the kayak often, maybe once a year. Jim watch the inflate video this evening. Turn the little valves to the left to lock closed…..
A Willet doing a bit of fishing.
We went back to Houston in the evening. Off the Guatemala today. One more seafood offering. Several Excellent meals in Galveston with local shrimp, scallops, crab and oysters. Yum!! We get to Houston….. the seafood is farm raised, from the east coast and west coast. What gives! No food picks though.
An infinite amount of this sort of chemical industry. Mind boggling
You can drive for days and never leave Houston.
On our way from Galveston we took the industrial route (hard to avoid in Houston). Man, there is a lot of industry and chemical plants. And…. this city is huge! Two hours of driving from Galveston and you never leave the city/development. Noisy, congested, frenetic. Not enjoyable. I am ready to get out!
A Houston park. Not fair. There are actually lots of large gardens and preserves around Houston.