Floods, Surf, and Frigatebirds

When A Foot Of Rain Falls in 4 Hours

Houston isn’t called The Bayou City for nothing. There are spaghetti noodles of tributaries and creeks and bayous all over its map, so when the sky let loose late Memorial Day 2015, it was just another rainy day. Until it wasn’t. Texas towns to the north of us saw their share of heavy rainfall, too, and all of that water was already rushing down to us via two rivers — the Trinity and the Brazos — which were already expanding into flood plains.

No need to watch the news. This was going to be a disaster.

I’ve been here almost all of my life and I’ve seen all kinds of floods. Houstonians are not new to this. They brace for flooding and seem to continue on with life as if everything is normal. Tragically, some were swept away while still in their cars while we enjoyed the storm system from the relative safety of a rental 25 feet up in the air.

Wind gusts of 60 mph can feel like an earthquake when a beach house sways, but I’d rather be in the air than on the road during a drencher. Many homes on the Bolivar Peninsula had been swept off their foundations with the Hurricane Ike storm surge in 2008. Since this was one of the newer re-builds, I knew we were safe on the pylons.

Back at home was a whole ‘nother story. With the rivers already full, water simply had nowhere to go.

So there it sat.

Brazos River Takes a Ball Park

And sat.

A Neighbor’s House

And sat some more.

Local Drainage Ditch – 25 Feet High

For several days, we waited to see what the rivers would do. As our creek is a natural drainage into these larger bodies of water, when rivers rise, so do our creeks. Thankfully, our creek came up only a few feet — and lingered there.

Such a relief.

Life’s A Beach

On the days following Memorial Day, we would enjoy the pristine shoreline and some magnificent waves all to ourselves. School doesn’t officially let out for a couple more weeks. Once the hoards are released for summer, we avoid the beach as a general rule.

For now, we would enjoy some bodacious surf.

Crystal Beach, Bolivar Peninsula

Once the winds with sand died down a bit, and I felt better taking an expensive DSLR out of the bag, I began to shoot some photos with something other than a phone camera.

Rental and Dune Daisies
(Not our rental.)

Sand Dune Flowers

Wishing For Frigatebirds

“I hear there’s some Magnificent Frigatebirds in the area. We should keep an eye out for them! Man, I wish we could get one of these birds on our list.”

“Well, you know, Mom,” my 13-year-old parroted in my sing-song tone, “if you wish in one hand and spit in another, I wonder which one will fill up faster.”

Smart ass.

Not Frigatebirds

I always wish out loud. I seem to have a knack for ‘wishing’ for birds, and then they suddenly appear out of the blue. Because we have benefited from this wisdom before, he knew exactly what I was doing. I think he just enjoys mocking me.

I smiled at him and dropped my ‘wish hand’ down below the spit one. And you know what? We didn’t just get that bird. We got to watch six of them fly over the rental.

So I did what any sane person would do. I wished out loud for the lottery.

Bolivar Surf at Dusk

Bolivar Flats Birding

And then there are the birds. That is why you’re here, right?

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelicans, All In A Row

Tri-colored Heron

Tri-Colored or “Louisiana” Heron
First time seeing one in the surf!

Reddish Egret

Reddish Egret
I love how regal these guys look.

Herring Gull

Herring Gull
I cropped out his yummy Dead Fish entree.
You’re welcome.

Magnificent Frigatebird to the Life List!

Year Bird Count: 210 Species

19 thoughts on “Floods, Surf, and Frigatebirds

  1. Enjoyed your post, Shannon. I’m glad you survived the floods, but oh, the devastation. And delightful for you to see the frigatebirds. They are one of my very favorite birds. 🙂


    1. Really can NOT complain about the weather, however wet it’s been. The garden fruits are gang-busters, the creek is full, and our temps are 10 degrees below normal. Still muggy tho.

      I was so happy to see the frigatebird squadron. They are not regulars here!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. How’s the water level in your creek? We are concerned about the cabin and hope the rain from Bill misses the creek and river watershed areas. Take care!


    1. We’ve had rain daily, but it’s more of a sloppy, squishy nuisance than anything else. Would be nice for a dry-out window to kick around outside!

      Yikes…I do remember the last flood catastrophe. I hope the river behaves this time, especially after all you’ve put into the place. Keep me posted, Maria. Hope y’all are having a fantastic break otherwise.


  3. Thank goodness everyone is safe from your side, quite the chilling adventure! I have only been in one watery disaster, the tsunami of 2004. I remember how people scrambled in two ways – either to run to their safety or towards the beach, having not fully understood what was happening.

    The reddish egret had my mouth open, and the herring gull unfastened my jaws. Wooooaw!


    1. I remember that horrible event. Watched it unfold on television while we ourselves were evacuating for a hurricane. Put things into perspective pretty quickly. Have you posted about your experience? If so, please share…

      Glad you enjoyed the photos. That Reddish Egret is a new one for me this year, but we see him more and more. Those big herons/egrets are hard not to stare at an enjoy!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No Shannon I have not, my experience pales in comparison to the people who were tangibly affected by it, but i will share mine sometime,

        I love me some herons too, some of them look like they are practicing Bharatanatyam – an Indian dance form (unlike the make-believe “Bollywood” genre)


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