My trip to Galveston and Big Thicket National Preserve

Galveston: Day One

I had another great adventure this winter and one I will never forget. This year we decided to head back down to Galveston after a long time of not being down there. This is our fourth trip down to the coast in the last couple of years. We left on the 21st and came back on the 24th Christmas Eve. On the first day we made a detour and went to Conroe Texas and tried to look for the Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers but yet again we didn't see any but we did find some pretty cool things there. We didn't spend that much time at the W.G. Jones site and had to get back on the road. We soon made it to Galveston in no time flat. We stopped by East Beach were we found some Gulls, Brown Pelicans, and one of my latest lifers the Black Skimmer. I had been looking for the Black Skimmer for a while now and I was surprise to see a whole bunch of them on a sandbar. It was so cool. Along the parking area were a bunch of shells I had to take the photos of them just to add more to the list. Soon it was time to find lunch. the we went near the old San Jacinto Fort site and saw a Herring Gull which was a new species for me as well. We went toward our Hotel and stopped at a Whataburger and fueled up before heading to Sea Wolf Park which has two World War II vessels on the property the U.S.S. Stewart and the U.S.S. Cavala. While exploring the upper decks of the ship on the Stewart we saw some more gulls and a Snowy Egret which was pretty cool. It was pretty chilly and defiantly jacket weather the wind coming off of the water made it even colder. Soon the sun was sinking but we made a stop by a place we would be a point of interest for us. Lafitte's Cove Nature Society was a stop we made and it was at the wrong time of day to be exploring there. We had some luck seeing some stuff but it was getting dark and we were unable to get any good photos. We decided to call it a night and headed down to the hotel. My aunt and I played a round of Basket Ball up to like fifty points or so and one round of pig. Then we went inside and made our plans to go to Moody Gardens.

Galveston: Day Two

The next day we went to Moody Gardens after having a very nice breakfast in the Hotel dining area. We arrived early before the Aquarium opened and waited for it to open for we didn't know how full it was going to be. We went in at 10 A.M. when it opened all of us purchased full day passes which gave us access to all the stuff the Aquarium, Rain Forest, a boat ride on the Colonel, gave us access to the ice sculpture garden, and the light trail. We first went into the Aquarium and explored some of the captive species to learn about some of the stuff about the species from around the world. Then we went to the Rain forest. The first parts of the day were to get some target practice in with the camera. I find that Zoos and Aquariums are not only good to educate yourself on different species but it is a very good place to warm up after being a little rusty on photo taking. Then we stopped and had some lunch. During our time in the Aquarium I got a patch for my vest. After lunch we headed to our boat ride on the paddle wheel known as the Colonel. We boarded and were greeted by a bunch of gulls. I believe the gulls were Laughing Gulls which were the main species we saw. We had to wait for everyone to get their photo taken for keepsake shots and then we were soon on our way for our hour voyage. No we were not tossed around in a big storm or get stranded on a desert island. If you get the reference kudos for you! No the ride was nice and very pleasant and the music was great especially when they played around of Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. I am kind of a Parrot Head I am big Jimmy Buffet fan. They also played some Christmas music and some other things in the mix. Along the way the tape on the speaker said to look for wildlife including a lone dolphin that liked to follow the boat's wake. Along the way I saw a Common Loon, a few Cormorants, and a few more Gulls and Pelicans. It was a pretty cool ride and very fun. I really like rides out on the water it really makes me happy and very pleased. Before the boat ride I found some cool insects. There were very few insects on this trip. I found a little bee, a wasp, and a few Monarchs. I even had to save a little caterpillar of a Monarch Butterfly that could have been stepped on. We went on the day finishing with all the Christmas stuff; the ice house and the lights. We spent the whole day there and had a lot of fun. We went back to the hotel and got some rest.

Galveston: Day Three

This was the final full day of the trek. On this day we headed down to Galveston Island State Park which is one of the most beautiful parks I have ever been too. We saw a bunch of birds there. We went on the Clapper Rail Trail first and what would I find but a Clapper Rail. That dude shot out in front of me and was pitching side to side as he walked. I had to act fast and get a photo or lose it. I got a few shots of the bird. I kept my distance but followed it until it finally disappeared in the tall grass. Then on the trail something big flew overhead and that was a Northern Harrier which I had been looking for for a long time. That dude was cool but I only got one good shot of it. I had read that they are one of the few survivors of the last ice age and have Harems instead of being monogamous like some of the other modern hawks. Then we went to another side of the park and we found a whole feeding group of Roseate Spoonbills, and a few herons and a Willet. There was a couple of other bird on that trail like a Eastern Meadowlark. It was a pretty good hike in that park and we saw a few other things like a few shells and a Broad-tipped Conehead. We headed down the road after we got done at the park after a quick stop at the duck pond and after I observed a Sesbenia Clown Weevil. We then headed to a place that was right next to the park and saw a White-Ibis and a Belted Kingfisher. After we saw all we could see there we headed back to Lafitte's Cove Nature Society and went there when it was still light outside. We found a few Bufflehead Ducks, Northern Shovelers, we saw a few plants, a few Eastern Phoebes and as we went into the interior of the park we heard a Great Horned Owl. I never got a photo of it but it was pretty cool to finally get that sucker on my life list since I heard it. A bunch of other birders saw me and we chatted a bit and looked for the owl but we never could find it. Then later on we saw some Yellow-rumped Warblers and a few other things too like a Virginia Opossum by the bank. We then headed to get lunch we then were back on the road and took a ferry to the Bolivar Peninsula and went to the flats. On that boat ride we saw some of the same stuff but we also got to see some Common Bottlenose Dolphins and a few other birds. It took us a little bit but we finally made it to the flats. There we saw a Loggerhead Shrike, a few Pied-billed Grebes on the side of the road. Then we made it to the beach where we saw a Black-bellied Plover, a Semipalmated Plover, and a few Piping Plovers along the shoreline. We found a few cool shells when we did some beach combing. It was a good part of the trip and the day with the most wildlife. I made a few observations but not too many for this was a very limited trip due to our budget but heck it was good. To wrap up the day we headed back and went to do some shopping. I found a really cool Shark shirt and my dad got us some key chains. It was pretty good trip even though it was pretty short but I have seen shorter and I take what I can get.

Big Thicket

My dad turned 73 yesterday which would be the 28th and we went to Big Thicket National Preserve. My goodness what a wonderful trek to finish off the 2019 year and the decade. It was a pretty fun hike through the pines and mix of other trees. It was almost like something our of Jurassic Park they had a bunch of ferns and a lot of tall trees. It was very beautiful. It was a pretty odd day yesterday there was a lot of rain and a lot of wind so birding was kind of a flub except for a chickadee and a yellow-bellied sapsuckers. We did encounter a lizard and an Green Anole. We found a bunch of cool stuff and there is only one conclusion I need to go back someday to find the insect eating plants and the Pileated Woodpeckers and the Dragonhunter Dragonfly. Yeah today I checked the species list and I must say there is a lot that I would like to try and find in the spring and summer. Lets just say I will be going back there in the near future. I got eighteen observations there but I have a feeling those will not be the only ones I will get from that place knowing that there is a lot more to find. I am going to try and double that.

But that was my winter trip in a nut shell. It was really good and very fun. I can't wait til my next adventure. Next year we are thinking about going to Georgia but that is way into the future of next year so in the mean time there are many places to explore and they ain't going to explore themselves so until my next big adventure I will see you in the new year everyone! this is Zachary Chapman AKA galactic_bug_man signing off.

Publicado por galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man, 30 de diciembre de 2019

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