Galveston, oh Galveston…

Like I’ve mentioned before, one of the good things about my job is I get to travel. Not too much, and not too little. On Friday I had the opportunity to spend the day in Galveston and this time, I was prepared!

Binoculars and camera in hand, I was able to bird while working! And this time, I even remembered to keep a note pad with me so I could list out the species I saw. I’m getting better!

As soon as I got to my location, a group of Brown Pelicans flew right over me. ♥

Love.

I got out of the car to walk the area, and was attacked. By these.

Actual Size
 
Seriously. You would never have thought it was February, cold, and rainy based on the number of mosquitoes that surrounded me. It was like Jumanji. I got back into my car, and 5 of them followed me in. I sat there, swatting at them one by one until I was sure they were all dead. I looked out my window, and 3 more were trying to get in. I almost expected one of them to poke a hole through my window and try to stab me that way.
 
Luckily though, they were only bad in the tall grass, so I just avoided that as much as possible. When I knew I needed to go through the tall grass, I kept my mouth closed, squinted my eyes, and ran. Yes, I was running away from mosquitoes. I’m sorry, but something that tiny (ok, these weren’t TINY by the way) and easy to kill should not be able to bite through BLUE JEANS. My hips have been itching for days now because I got bit so many times!
 
When I was finally away from the tall grass I was walking through a wetland area in my mud boots. The entire area was sandy and was covered in little bird tracks, big bird tracks, house cat tracks, dog tracks, and these:
 
Crab tracks

 

These are the holes and tracks of tiny little crabs! I’m not sure what species (I don’t know much about crustaceans), but I think these are the kind of crabs that come out of their hole as soon as the tide goes out and they clean the sand of any edible microscopic creatures before the next tide comes in. This is solely based on my combined limited observations and Discovery Channel, so if you know what species they are, please tell me!
 
 After I finished up at my work location, I drove around the nearby neighborhood and did a little birding. I’m sure the people who lived there were wondering why a Prius was parked in front of their house, but I didn’t care- I was having fun!
 
I was able to identify Short-billed Dowitchers and a Northern Shoveler in one pond area, and in the next there was a Snowy Egret and a male Mallard. He was quite photogenic!
 
"Do you have food for me?"

 

 After I finished up in town, I went to get some lunch at Fisherman’s Warf.
 
Not the same Fisherman's Warf as in San Fransisco

 

It’s a Landry’s restaurant, so it’s a little pricey if you don’t stick to the lunch menu, but it’s really good, you have a view of the water, and you get to sit right next to a replica Clipper Ship, called the Elissa. It’s such a pretty ship!
 
I feel like I've gone back in time....but there are still antibiotics

 

Last time Hubby and I went there, we took some friends who came to visit us over Thanksgiving in 2010. It was cold and windy, but they had never been to the beach before, so we took them down to Galveston to let their son (at the time 5 years old) feed seagulls and let them find seashells like every person int he world should do at least once in their lives! We sat outside on the dock at the restaurant, watching people load up the cruise ship that would be leaving soon, and watching dolphins jump in the port. It was perfect! This time I didn’t see any dolphins, but I had a great lunch and worked on reading Moby Dick. Very fitting, I think.
 
I couldn’t decide what kind of Po-Boy to get for lunch, so the waitor suggested that I combine two different items, like shrimp and oysters. I told him I had never had oysters before, so he thought that was a good choice.
 
The left side is shrimp, the right side is oysters

 

Meh.
 
The shrimp was amazing. The oysters tastes like Canola Oil. But hey, it’s good to know, right? I’ve been told fried oysters isn’t the best way to try them for your first time, but that was the only way they were offered (at least in my budget).
 
But check out their kitchen!
 
I love me some Cephalopods!
The whole time I was getting ready to go down to Galveston, my fear was that it was going to be nuts. Why? Because of Mardis Gras! I was convinced that the streets would be littered with tourists, it would be a hectic drive, and I would be miserable.  As it turned out, I was there early enough in the day, that they were simply shutting down a few streets and setting up parking areas. Not too bad! In fact, the town was actually pretty dead, so I was able to drive around downtown and look at the beautiful architecture!  Next time I go down there though, I will have a driver, so I can take pictures of all the beautiful old houses- some of them are from the 1860s!
 
Before I left, I was determined to get a really good picture of Pelicans in flight. Ok, it didn’t happen because I only saw them flying while I was driving. On the interstate. On a bridge. Couldn’t exactly pull over. But I did get a cute picture of these guys on a dock by a bait shop.
 
Taking a break
 
Bird List from February 17, 2012
Brown pelicans
Cormorants (not sure which species)
Boat-tailed Grackles (I don’t usually count these guys, but if I put them on this list, I never have to include them again!)
Eurasian collared doves (see Boat-tailed Grackles)
Loggerhead Shrike
Killdeer
European Starling (see Eurasian collared dove)
Northern shoveler
Short-billed Dowitcher
Western/Least Sandpiper (not sure which species)
Snowy Egret
Mallard
Redwinged black birds, in their Winter plumage
And about 500 species of seagulls. Yes. 500.
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