The Great Escape / Oct-2012 to Oct-2013 travel blog

Waterfowl in Anahuac NWR

Alligator in Anahuac

Local boy with gator

Sundown in High Island


High Island is a place on the Gulf of Mexico near Houston that is known as a bird refuge. Although it is off-season for migrations, we walked the trails at the Anahuac Bird Refuge nearby and saw many hawks & eagles, water birds, and an alligator. It is the end of the dry season. In the spring migratory birds from Central and South America come north to the Yucatan Peninsula. When they run out of land they take off at sundown for a 600 mile 14-18 hour flight north over the Gulf, reaching land the next day at places like High Island, TX.

High Island is on top of a salt dome, and the area of the town, about a 1 mile circle, is strangely 40 feet higher than the surrounding country, which is flat as a pancake and marshy. It is the highest point on the Gulf from Eastern Louisiana to the Yucatan, and it is the first land that can be seen from far out on the Gulf, which is why the birds home in on it and make landfall here.

Salt domes in this part of the country also mean oil wells, and there are many pump jacks surrounding High Island in a perfect circle. When the salt dome pushed up the layers in the earth below, it also brought oil strata near the surface around the edges where they can be drilled and tapped.

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