My 400mm lens becomes a square sail as I attempt to point it outward. I anchor it with arms tucked close to my body, but my body sways as a human monopod in such wind. My trusty birding hat, with neck tie, replaces the baseball cap that immediately blew off my head. But I have no complaint: a full ball sun and low humidity made for a lovely day at Galveston Island State Park.
I look out on the deserted weekday beach, saving a favorite walk for a less windy day:
I drive over to the marsh side of the park, where many beach-loving families never venture. The grasses and diverse vegetation are lush from a summer of good rain:
I attempt to shoot photos of Long-billed Dowitchers, Blue-winged Teals, and Greater Yellowlegs, while Brown Pelicans fly overhead, seeming to delight with the winds that carry them in perfect flight formation. An Eastern Meadowlark watches over me, giving me that judgmental look of “Girl, what are you thinking in this wind?”
A Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, amazingly still, watches me shoot many a blurry photo of a Pine Warbler. The flycatcher accentuates the dead branches of a complex group of snags that were once a living motte. The long ago human planting of this motte created a treasured destination for birders, giving safe refuge to fall and spring warblers to stop for rest and food. And although the grasses and shrubs of GISP have indeed made an incredible recovery, the motte turned snag is a standing reminder of Hurricane Ike and Mother Nature’s capacity to create and destroy.
But today it is the flycatcher’s peace that I take with me: