Beaches and Birds

“We sit in the mud…and reach for the stars.” ~ Ivan Turgenev

Twenty years together is a milestone for a married couple, but it seems like yesterday that he and I made the transition from friends to lovers.  Where does the time go?  Oh yeah.  I forgot about the four kids we threw into the mix.  That really eats into the daytime hours.

The first week of October in Houston, coupled with even the slightest drop in temperature (woke up to 58, a high of 82 today!), gets us itching for one of two things:   camping or beach going.  As it may be another month before the mosquitoes will even allow us to camp comfortably (i.e., they are completely gone), we opted for the beach instead.  The kids, of course, couldn’t wait to put their little toes in the Mississippi silt Galveston sand.  Mom and Dad had other plans; we wanted a few fall migratory birds for our list.

When hitting the coast of Texas, we always start at LaFitte’s Cove and end at the beach, just like the last time we were there.  If you know kids at all, you don’t need me to explain why we do it in just that order.  (I’ll give you a hint:  my sanity.)  By October, we are already beach-going veterans.

We began by braving the marsh mosquitoes.   The American Redstart, Nashville Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and Gray Catbird didn’t seem to mind them at all, and they greeted us at the watering hole when we arrived.  We already logged these guys some time back during the spring migration, but I took some snapshots with the long lens anyway, slapping and smacking biting flies in between.

Wilson’s Warbler, in particular, was just too cute for words.  The lighting was low which makes for mediocre photos, and since I don’t post-process, photos of all these cutie pies will be just for me.   The kids, however, spotted and ID’d a few new ones for us before we ran for our lives left:

  • (229) White-eyed Vireo
  • (230) Magnolia Warbler
  • (231) Eastern Wood Pewee
  • (232) Common Tern (at the beach)

We are now pushing towards a new goal of 250 by year’s end.   Go have a look at our growing list!

Galveston Beach was oddly…clean.  Normally, there is a fair amount of debris washed ashore, the water tinged with the blackened silt brought over from the mouth of the Mississippi River.  It made for a pretty shot, even in the midday sun.

Galveston Island, Texas
A Clean Galveston Beach

The kids were immediately enamored with the mud-like sand near the water as they ran off to the water’s edge.  It clings to the body — and everything else in general — as you can see here.   At least there was no seaweed.

Yuck
Yuck!

And to think we had just washed and vacuumed the vehicle yesterday.

We spent most of our down time from the chairs in the shade, watching the kids boogie board in the surf and the squadrons of Brown Pelicans, terns, and gulls through field lenses dive and fish in the near distance.

All we needed was a sunset.  Not staying long enough, we settled instead for the promise of 20 more years together.  If the day is any indication, we are already off to a great start.

Happy
Happy!

In reverence of beaches, I added another album to DirtNKids’s SmugMug, where all the photos of DirtNKids now live.  It can be accessed via the photos page or by clicking on the photo below.  In it are a few of my favorite beach shots from around the states.

Frankfort, Michigan

Click the photo to view “Beaches” on SmugMug

What’s your favorite beach spot?

12 thoughts on “Beaches and Birds

  1. Happy anniversary! I’m going to keep the link to this post for when we start venturing out more across Texas. Right now, the farthest we’ve gotten in San Antonio, where our daughter had soccer, then we took in The Alamo (hubby’s a history buff) and walked along the Riverwalk.

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    1. Thank so much, Julie. As you settle into Texas a bit, you’ll realize the beaches get progressively nicer the further down from the Mississippi River they are. Galveston is a lovely town, but the Gulf Stream brings a lot of silt and (let’s just call it) other stuff over to the beaches. It’s pretty much recovered from the Ike hit back in 2008 — which destroyed many of the beach front properties and eroded the beach.

      Go further south to South Padre Island and you’ll see something which resembles postcard Mexico beaches. Worth the drive! Just don’t go during Spring Break, unless you’ll be joining in party.

      Tons of cool stuff in SA, especially history. We have a very strong TX history program in our public schools, more so than any other state methinks. Texans are pretty proud that we used to be a country. There’s a vocal faction that wants us to go back that way.

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      1. My daughter is a sophomore and she said kids bring up Texas being its own country every so often. So I guess you’re right, although it’s strange for her to hear that! She has adjusted well at her new school, made a few friends and really likes the school spirit showed at events like football games. At her old school, students went to games mostly to just talk to each other. Here, she said, they actually watch the game, know what’s going, paint their faces in school colors, sing school songs/cheers — the whole nine yards. She now understands the whole “Friday Night Lights” thing!

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    1. Thanks, Plumdirt. You probably aren’t too far behind us. Once you get out of the diaper stage, the rest is downhill from there.

      Never been to Oregon, but we are looking to make another trek to the northeast — and hopefully the coast — very soon. We were soooo close last year…missed it by *that* much.

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  2. Lovely pictures of you and your crew. As for my favorites beaches, I’d have to say there are two – first, a little place called Long Beach, once a summer-cottage place on the Chesapeake Bay that lies in the shadow of Calvert Cliffs, where my brother and I spent hours upon hours hunting for fossilized shark teeth as children; second, the southern end of Ft. Myer’s Beach, Florida – we used to walk for hours on that gorgeous beach and it had the most gorgeous sunsets.

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    1. Oh how I dream of going to the east coast again. He proposed to me in New England and we camped and hiked the next several days in Acadia National Park in Maine. So very, very peaceful. Best sunrises ever. Need to go back.

      We were talking just yesterday about taking the family on a road trip to Florida, perhaps all the way down to the Keys (not during hurricane season, mind you). I’ve never been there, but I spent my childhood summers in the white sands of Pensacola Beach. My favorite was the crabs at night that used to crawl up the outside of our tent screens. FUN!

      Good to see you again, Judy! I’m sure you noticed my Big Year number. We are now pushing for 250 by year’s end.

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      1. You will make it to 250, I’m sure. I’m up over 200 now. With the Peregrine Falcon that I saw yesterday, my list is up to 206, so I’m aiming for 250 myself. Who’d a thunk it?

        I know what you mean about Acadia Park. I hope to make it there again one year soon. That was one of my favorite all-time camping trips!!

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