Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Galveston Sans Oil

Copyright @ 2007 - 2010. Suburban Wildlife Garden. All Rights Reserved.

It's been a busy summer so far. We just returned from another lovely vacation on Galveston Island. Luckily the oil from the Gulf Oil Disaster did not meet us there, though we did find some tar balls on the beach, courtesy of BP. Grrr...

We had an new view of the beach this year from a house we'd never rented before: Emma's Fancy.

The extra bedrooms worked out well since we were joined by both sets of grandparents, my sister and her friends.
We were relieved to find the Gulf water clean and apparently safe.

One surprise was the vast amounts of Sargussum seaweed, or Gulfweed, on the beach this summer. Galveston beaches always have a certain amount of Gulfweed, but this year was the most we'd ever seen.

According to the Park Board of Trustees, Sargussum is extremely useful. It supports a diverse eco-system when floating in the water and protects the island from erosion once it comes to shore.

The good news was, once we walked over or around the Gulfweed, the water was just as pleasant as ever.

It was a pleasant change to have 10 people in the house this year. Everyone went their own way most of the time, though we took a few group expeditions as well. My son's favorite adventure was the Dolphine and Harbor Boat Tour where we saw several dolphins following just a few feet from the boat.
A dolphin mother and baby swam right alongside us.

It was a privilege to see these beautiful creatures in the wild.

On returning to the docks we had a splendid view of the 1877 Tall Ship, Elissa.

Later, my parents discovered a distressed Northern Gannet on the beach that could neither walk nor fly. See photo below. We searched in vain for some authority to help him. After getting nowhere with the Galveston phone book, I texted a friend who helped me track down Trudy Belz. Trudy is a licensed wildlife rehabilitator who was awarded the Presidential Volunteer Service Award in 2005. Per Trudy's instructions, we placed the Gannet in a large laundry hamper and drove him to her home in nearby Texas City. Trudy examined the bird and said he was so weak he would not have lasted the night on the beach. Trudy will care for the Gannet -- as she does for so many other wild birds -- and release him back into the wild when he is strong enough to survive. We were happy to make a donation for her time and efforts.

As some of you may know, Galveston's Historic District lost many of its magnificent old oak trees to Hurricane Ike. Instead of removing the entire tree, some of the residents invited artists in the area to carve the dead stumps into beautiful works of art.

We had fun searching the neighborhood for the carvings.

They are a lovely tribute to the 40,000 trees that Ike destroyed.

Long live Galveston!

"The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see Nature all ridicule and deformity, and some scarce see Nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, Nature is Imagination itself."
- William Blake, 1799, The Letters

Copyright @ 2007 - 2010. Suburban Wildlife Garden. All Rights Reserved.