Archive | January 2012

Last Glimpse of the Ocean

Oct 30, 2010

Miles 8273 – 8369

Brazos Bend State Park to High Island, Texas

After leaving Brazos Bend State Park, I decided to go east around Houston, for one last glimpse of the coast.  I stopped in Galveston for an ocean-side meal at Benno’s on the Beach.  Lucky for me that it was still too early for oysters, or I would have missed out on the perfectly-prepared softshell crab and hush puppies… mmmmm.  I took the car ferry across the bay to the Bolivar Peninsula, and had time to watch the hustle and bustle of the harbor along the way.   The pleasure boaters, waverunners, and sightseers seemed to take no notice of the ocean-going freighters and heavy industry, while the commercial fishermen went about their business as though none of the rest of us were there.

The Bolivar Peninsula was a flat, sandy strip of land that was, I am told, significantly more desolate than it was before Hurricane Ike passed through in 2008.  It was interesting to see all of the buildings up on stilts, to protect against high waves.  While most of them were nondescript cabins, some werejust regular houses!  I stopped for a while at the only public beach I could find, though I had to forge my way through a mound of wind-blown sand to get there.  I spent an hour or so looking for souvenir seashells along the shore of the Gulf, then I hopped back in the car, turned

Oil rigs on the beach!

inland, and left it behind.

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Birding is Fun After All!

October 30-31, 2010

Brazos Bend State Park, TX

Miles 8080-8273

I rolled into Brazos Bend State Park just before Halloween.  I had struggled with the decision, wondering whether it was worth stopping in just to see a few more alligators, which the park is known for.  I decided to visit for a couple hours, take a short loop hike and check out the ‘gators, than head north.  Instead, I wound up staying all afternoon, overnight, and half of the next day… and discovered how cool waterfowl could be!

They say that pictures are worth a thousand words, so I’ll just limit the narrative here to captions:

Alligator Retreating

Trees overhanging the trail
Swamp cedar roots sprouting from the muck

The alligator really was this close… and this big! But it wasn’t moving too quickly…
White Ibis
Fulvous Tree Duck – these were not only funny-looking but funny-sounding too, as they called to their flock of chicks! 
Black-crowned Night Heron
Ibis, Egrets, and Louisiana Herons       

Cormorant
Common Moorhen (Gallinule)
The whitetails down in Texas are naturally much smaller than our big bucks up north!