Date: April 15, 2015
Weather: beautiful sunshine
Temperature: start 71º
Wildlife count: Dolphins, Lizard, Skink
Year List: 252
Birds: Cattle Egret, Great Egret, Willet, Blue-winged Teal, Lesser Scaup, Brown & White Pelican, Laughing Gull, Avocets, Snowy Egret, Scissor-tail Flycatcher, Sora, Tennessee Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Northern Cardinal, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Summer Tanager, Worm-eating Warbler, Downey Woodpecker, Northern Mockingbird, Great & Boat-tailed Grackle, Acadian Flycatcher, Northern Shrike, Great Blue Heron, White-tailed Kite, Herring Gull, Black Skimmer, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, White Ibis, Savannah Sparrow, European Starling, Rock Pigeon, Tri-colored Heron, Ruddy Turnstone, Common Loon, Bonaparte’s Gull, House Sparrow, Long-billed Dowitcher, Eastern Kingbird, Double-crested and Neotropic Cormorants, White-winged Dove, Crested Caracara, American Oystercatcher, Roseate Spoonbill, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Sandwich & Least & Gull-billed & Common & Caspian & Royal Terns, Reddish Egret,
Our neighbors, Barry and Lynn gave us a delightful tour of the city of Galveston. We left around 8:30, and headed for the Galveston Ferry, where there were lots of birds and the shipping lanes were full!
Barry knew all of the places to go, and we drove on the sea wall, a 17’ high concrete wall built after the horribly destructive 1900 hurricane, when much of the town was destroyed. Pumping sand from Galveston Bay, the entire island was raised behind the sea wall – houses and buildings were raised to the height of the new land. Even the 1850’s homes were raised.
Galveston has an amazing natural harbor, which attracted people to the barrier island. Native Americans have a long history of habitation there, and Europeans began settling there in the early 1800’s.
After several stops for birding, we drove to the western half of the island, where we explored Laffite’s Cove Nature Center. It was great birding, and we saw some really neat birds. The birding made us all very hungry, so Barry and Lynn took us to their favorite restaurant, Gaidos, for seafood. It was the first time we have dined at a white linen establishment for a LONG time. John had fried shrimp and I enjoyed Cy’s Delight – oysters on the half shell with an amazing buttery/parmesan sauce. It was outstanding!
We birded several other areas in the afternoon, including Pelican Island, an island that divides the ship channel from Galveston Bay. Each place showed its own set of specialty birds.
The ferry trip home was just as delightful as the morning trip – a long free boat ride! To top off the trip, we stopped at Rollover Pass, and finally the scope came in handy. Barry and Lynn were able to see birds they had never seen before, so it was loads of fun!
We finally arrived home around 7 and grilled a few hot dogs for a light supper. As the evening was clear with a slight breeze – perfect for keeping the mosquitoes at bay, we enjoyed a great campfire! It was the last campfire for Colin and Denise, as they will fly back to England on Friday, and there are supposed to be strong storms all day Thursday. As usual, there was great conversation and a super star show!