We had a quick winter visit to Galveston Island this past week. Our main objective was to see the Sandhill Cranes which winter along the Gulf Coast and Mexico. They travel down across the Great Plains from the Alaskan and Northern Canadian tundra. So unless you happen to be in the midwest when they are passing through, the Gulf Coast is the place to see these great birds.
Weather was not exactly with us as Monday was a cold rainy day and Tuesday was very windy with gusts up into the 35 mph range. Birds are not dumb and they stay hunkered down and nowhere to be seen in those conditions.
Wednesday was a magnificent day and the cranes and all the other birds were out enjoying the weather. Sandhill cranes are large and plentiful and like open fields. They should be easy to photograph. But the cranes seem to have a knack for finding the far reaches of the fields, well away from the roads. Even so, with a long lens (500mm) I managed to get a couple of okay pictures. Sandhills are slate gray with a bright red patch of skin on their forehead. They may have some rust color mixed in with the gray, but, generally, the browner the coloring, the younger the bird. Remember to click on the pictures to see them in large size.
After we had time with the cranes we headed over to Seawolf Park on Pelican Island. Here we could see the comings and goings in Galveston harbor, watch the shipping traffic head up the channel to the Port of Houston, and enjoy the fishermen and pelicans.
The big ship below is known as a "RO-RO" (roll on-roll off) and is specifically designed for shipping vehicles. It seems that I always see a RO-RO in the harbor.
The ferry connects Galveston Island to the Bolivar Peninsula. It operates 'round the clock and is completely free. Look closely at the picture and you can see three school buses on the ferry. The lower peninsula has an elementary school, but the older kids cross the water every day.
Along with the sandhill cranes, we also saw a few other birds, although not too many. As always, the brown pelicans, egrets, herons, and white ibises were out and about, but not in great numbers. Anyway I managed to get a few pictures.
...the White Pelicans have returned to Lake Conroe.
Linda and I took a day on the boat Wednesday and saw two different pods – pod is the collective noun for pelicans not in flight – of White Pelicans on the lake. They show up every year around the beginning of December, migrating in from the lakes and rivers of the Midwest and Canada. Most of them will eventually find their way to the Galveston coast, but some will stay on the lake for the winter.
We'll be heading to Galveston in about 10 days to enjoy the Sandhill Cranes, another group of visitors from the Midwest which come to the Gulf Coast every winter.
Two septuagenarians and a 35 foot motorhome towing a car – what could possibly go wrong?
You and I have memories
Longer than the road that stretches out ahead
McCartney & Lennon
one state at a time
"On the road again,
Goin' places that we've never been,
Seein' things that we may never see again,
And we can't wait to get on the road again."
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