Many years ago, BB (before birding) I visited this area of Galveston with my best friend when we were spending a week at the beach with our girl scout troop. We were fortunate because she had a boss who owned a beach-front house in Pirate’s Beach, so we were able to enjoy a week with only the expense of food and outings. What fun we had! We would bring some spaghetti, Chicken South Texas, hamburger fixings and then with a salad and bread thrown in the mix, we had a great tasty meal with easy clean up. At least one or two nights we would go out to dinner and one of the places we visited was located on the East Jetty beach road. I think it was called Tubby’s. I really can’t remember except they had outstanding fried shrimp, their windows overlooked the ship channel and the sky was most often filled with twisting terns, soaring sea gulls and patrolling brown pelicans.
During the day we explored the Strand treating ourselves to salt water taffy, ice cream cones or caramel apples at La Kings Confectionery and of course no visit would be complete without a visit to Colonel Bubbie’s, an old army/navy surplus store with the aisles crammed full of old military paraphenalia…camouflage clothing, jackets, mess kits, canteens, even old gas masks… all of which seemed to appeal to our scouts. They swam in the ocean, built sand castles, practiced their skits for the Cadette Event talent competition, played games and once we even visited the Dickens on the Strand celebration at Christmas time. So many memories, so many good times. But back then I was much more interested in treasures that might wash up on the beach….sand dollars, shark’s teeth, cockle shells, whelks….and never paid much attention to the plethora of bird species that surrounded us on a daily basis. That was then…a good 40 years ago. And Galveston has morphed over these many years as well.
Every visit to Galveston now includes several trips to the East Jetty which is one of my favorite spots to seek out birds. No matter the season, I am always richly rewarded with many birds that are old familiars but still excite me with their beauty. I often wonder how I could not have been aware of the huge quantity of birds that abound on the Gulf Coast. My best guess is that I was so wrapped up in my “child rearing” years that there was just no time for me to take in any more than dealing with the immediacy of feeding and protecting the scouts that were in our charge as well as shepherding my own children through their growing years.
I have seen huge flocks of American Avocets, dancing Reddish Egrets and white morphs, secretive Night Herons, scores of juveniles, Long-billed Curlews, long-necked Great Egrets wading through marshy grasses, a Great Blue Heron standing as still as a tree trunk waiting for a fish, and a whole lot of LBJs (little brown jobs) that I still have difficulty correctly identifying. I am addicted! Even as I write this, I can feel the ocean breeze, inhale the salty air and hear the pounding surf as it glides onto the beach. I can feel the soft sand beneath my feet and squishing through my toes. I can taste the fried shrimp at Beeno’s on the seawall and envision the sun settling on the horizon. I’m packing for the beach!
Happy Bird Searching!!!