Gathering After the Storm - August 21, 2004
... Barbara, Debbie and Mary got off the Bolivar ferry to join birders gathering in a parking
lot. We looked at great maps in the rain, but then called off the bird count because of the
danger of lightning on the beach. We made our goodbyes, saying, "Oh well, think I'll wander on
down the road and see what I can from the car. Good to see you good folks!" But do you really
think bad weather stops a birder? Yes, it does stop us sometimes, but we all know that bad
weather can make bird-watching really interesting. You should not be surprised to hear that
after about 30 or 45 minutes we found birders by the dozens gathering right at Bolivar Flats!
The storm had just passed, bringing a refreshing breeze from the northwest, blue sky again,
sunshine, gorgeous clouds, and glorious birds in great abundance. We joined the gentle birders
for about two hours, counting the birds, checking fences that protected the nesting sites and
taking notes. God must have known we needed a break!
And, Ah saving wilderness!
Just being with nature on her own terms calms the savaged person.
Away from construction, ugliness, noise, mess, days driven by the clock.
Now feeling a cooler breeze and the sweet smell of marsh.
A pair of Horned Larks sand-bathing in the dunes.
Privileged to watch the clowning of a dozen Reddish Egrets,
A molting Little Blue Heron that was calico blue and white,
And a second-year Green Heron with legs like key lime pie and handsome brown stripes.
The sound of Laughing Gulls and chattering of hundreds of Royal Terns.
Birds and bird antics some have never seen before.
Just being there with them.
And being with people who know and love them and care they are still there.
From The Spoonbill's Past
Compiled by Skip Almoney
'Thirty Years Ago
A BIRD BATH IN THE WOODS - by Wesley Cureton
Everybody has watched small birds splash in puddles, but who would think that owls might also enjoy a
bath? Well, they do, and this past August I was a witness to the event. In the stream bottoms near White
Oak Bayou, at 11:00 a.m., I saw a barred owl alight on an old fence post. After considerable craning of
the neck and peering around, as if to insure privacy, the owl dropped to the ground, and soon the water
began to splash. In keeping with the owl's dignified reputation, the splashing was slow and quiet, not
vigorous. After bathing, it returned to the post for preening and fluffing of feathers, again stopping often
to look around. Then it was back to the ground, where it rolled over on its side and opened its wing to the
dappled sunshine. Shortly, the owl returned to the post, for more grooming, and then flew to a high
willow branch. When I last looked, it was still preening. I don't I know how often an owl bathes, but when
it does, it does a good job.