Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Texas City Dike: An Oyster-Colorful Daytrip

Yesterday morning brought clearing skies after the multi-day rain that gave much of America a good soaking; and in some spots, a not-so-good flooding.  I can’t complain; my winter nesting ground did not flood.  

By mid-day yesterday I was more than ready to head out on a day trip.  I loaded my gear and pointed my car towards Texas City and its rather unique dike.  This drivable dike extends some six miles into Galveston Bay.

My birding expectations were not remarkable.  I just really needed the feel of binoculars around my neck, camera in hand, and feathered friends out and about.  I first stopped the car about half-way out the dike’s length.  I suited up with trusty birding hat, day pack, binoculars and camera.  But an old memory caused me to look down at the still-visible 2” scar permanently held, quite literally, in the palm of my left hand.

This slightly curved scar pays homage to a childhood visit to this dike, during a time when large piles of oyster shells stood ready for road construction use.  But this five-year-old girl ran full speed at those oyster-shell mounds, quite certain they would be wonderfully crunchy mountains to climb, to cross, and to run down and back up the next.  In hindsight, I would have made a great “Safety Awareness Day” poster in the “slips, trips and falls” all too common category.  I fell headfirst, “oyster-catching” with my extended left hand. 

I don’t remember the details, but my hand still clings to the scar.  I can’t complain; that long ago visit to this dike was one of many out-door destinations that influenced my love of birding; and perhaps my fear of mountain-top hikes?
And so today, except for a lovely hour-and-a-half walk to enjoy Mother Nature’s outdoor air conditioning, I’ve spent most of my time sorting through 9.5 GBs of digital images from yesterday’s daytrip.  I have no rare bird sighting to share.  But I’m rather thrilled with multiple photos of several common shorebirds. 

With several photos as likely candidates for my own photo-art blog style, I’ve decided to create a multi-day series of blog posts from this trip. This first day’s post is simply to share the colors, as I saw them, of the TC dike.

The TC dike’s road, a six-mile ribbon extending into Galveston Bay:

A view of Galveston Island, from what locals call the “end of the dike” and favored fishing point:


One example of the many cargo ships that cross Galveston Bay, following the heavily-used path of the Houston Ship Channel:

And in honor of my left palm’s oyster-catching scar, I thought I’d close this blog post by sharing a yesterday’s photo of one of the more colorful locals. 

The American Oystercatcher:


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