“We don’t create a fantasy world to escape reality. We create it to be able to stay.” ~ Lynda Barry
As our family was still knee-deep in the frenzied pitch before for Spring Break week, Dad and I decided to do a quick trip to a place I’d not been since way before we married, back when I was still dating a young man from this town (his parents lived there). It never occurred to me that anywhere within the industrial complex of Texas City might be a birding hotspot, but apparently it is.
Texas City Dike is not the prettiest of places. It’s a man-made jetty, really, concrete and giant boulders reaching out into a shallow bay. People litter. They are mostly just there fishing, little concern for anything save a drowning an animal in our atmosphere so its death can become a tasty lunch. There’s not even a decent place to get out and hike.
But there’s an upside. It’s a terrific place to tick off shore birds and waterfowl without ever leaving the comfort of your car. Really.
Being a get-out-and-hike’r type, this is not something I like to brag about. After all, getting outside is at least half of the joy of birding. Being our first time to bird there, me sitting idly in the passenger seat or with legs dangling helicopter style from the sliding door (tee hee), he casually rolling and stopping constantly, no one ever behind us, heavy camera resting in the lap…there was something oddly chic about the experience. I can’t explain it.
Perhaps this is how rich people in their limos feel…except without the beverage service. I call it drive-by shooting — birding style.
I’m not sure what took us so long to get here since we began birding in earnest more than four years ago, but one thing is for sure. We will be going back.
My Oldest Son Liked This Shot
Typically, we are not only shooting (with a camera) and field-lens scanning for bird species, but we are also logging and counting numbers of them for science. This time we ditched eBird altogether (I’m sorry!!) as it was just another thing manage in a huge bag of things. I needed a break, so our only goals for the day were to get out of the house and see some different birds.
Next time, we’ll be better, eBird. We promise.
In the course of just an hour, we added a few more for 2017 in addition to the several others we saw that were already on the list:
- Eared Grebe
- American Oystercatcher
- Common Goldeneye
- American Golden-plover (early!)
- Brewer’s Blackbird
- Short-billed Dowitcher
- Red-breasted Merganser
- Bonaparte’s Gull
- Franklin’s Gull
- Least Tern (early!)
- Royal Tern
- Long-billed Dowitcher
- Ruddy Turnstone
No new ‘Lifers’ on this day, March 3, 2017, but this trip got us to a whopping 132 species for our annual count. It would be a great start for our next birding outings out west the next weekend.
As for the photographs below, they were all shot from the ‘minivan bird blind.’
I think I may have even gained 5 pounds doing nothing at all.
‘Clown Bird’ My Kids Call Him
Colorado posts still in the works!
11 thoughts on “Texas City Dike: Drive-by Shooting”
I have been thinking about the Texas City Dike area lately it has been awhile since we were out that direction. I heard they are updating it. Great pics Shannon.
It’s pretty good birding, Sonya, but I’m more of a hiker/wanderer. BBSP is more my style. Still…you should go!! Take the long lens. And lunch. 😀
If it is only drive by photography I probably would not like it much either. I love the walking, hiking and exploring as well. Brazos Bend is one of my favorite places too.
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I will have to come to Texas one of these days, but not before I study shorebirds! Congratulations on your annual count.
Oh, yes. Houston is a one-stop-shop for migratory and shorebirds. If you come in April, you won’t be disappointed in the dozens of species you’ll see! I do hope you get to bird here soon. Cheers, Tanja!
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Great article and beautiful pics! Happy Monday!!!
Thank you, Laura. Happy Monday to you too!
Love these, Shannon! Being in Indiana, we consider ourselves shorebird-challenged, so we are always looking to learn more about them. Thanks for sharing (and I don’t blame you a bit for enjoying the ride this time!).
So glad you enjoyed, MarshDoctor. We feel privileged to be within an hour or so from the coast, even if that means holding our noses as we drive through industry to get there.
Fantastic place, Shannon! When you love to bird, you can find them in the oddest places. One of my favorite local birding spots is sewage ponds. Wonderful photos, and what a delight to find an eared grebe.
Oh my gosh! ‘Sewage pond’ and ‘hot spot’ mentioned together brings a whole new dimension to the olfactory sense. I might put that off a bit longer. ;D
No, seriously, birds adapt to whatever they have to, and of late, it’s our waste and destruction. Gotta hand it to ’em. I hope they can hang in there a little longer til the oil fields run dry. Thanks for you comment, Jet!
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