My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Saturday's Smorgesborg

A skimmer rookery, fish in glass tanks, and a natural history museum full of shells, geese and ducks and a little of everything else, including skeletons and parts of dinosaurs and other extinct animals filled my day yesterday.

My best friend, Natalie, and I decided to go to Dow Chemical's Open House in Freeport to see the breeding skimmers and gull-billed terns who breed in the middle of their chemical plant in an abandoned parking lot. .  It was an amazing sight.  A gravel parking lot had been fenced, and two channels of water put in it, along with some skimmer decoys. This year it attracted a record 15-1600 skimmers and lots of gull-billed terns. Their nests were no more than tiny scrapes in the gravel. Many babies just roamed around at will until a parent showed up to feed them.  We saw one baby get on the wrong side of a few skimmers.  They attacked it and one even picked it up and then dropped it from about 4 feet.  Finally it seemed to get out of the attack zone.  But what a dangerous life if you can make someone that angry that easily.

Skimmers and terns

Skimmers and chicks
More skimmers
Still more skimmers and chicks
After enjoying  skimmers, we decided we were too close to Sea Center Texas to not take in the aquarium.  One of the neatest things about it was that it used child volunteers. A couple of kid volunteers  were helping to man the touch tank along with an adult. They appeared to be around ten to twelve  years old  and were very knowledgeable about the creatures in the tank,  and enthusiastic about their job.

Interesting fish

Colorful reef fish

A strange anomaly at the Sea Center was a parking lot full of antique cars and trucks. We wandered around and admired them and took a few pictures.

Some of the antique cars

Then Natalie, who will have a book on paddling destinations around Houston, Texas  published next year, wanted to check out a put-in on Oyster Creek that is supposed to be on the grounds of Brazosport College. We didn't find the put-in but did enjoy a short walk along Oyster Bayou. Then we walked through the grounds to enjoy the beautiful buildings and landscaping.  Finally we did a short visit to the Museum of Natural History there.

Entrance to Brazosport College

Seemingly healthy tree with decayed trunk
Muscadine grapes seen on our Nature Walk along Oyster Bayou

Oyster Bayou View - this is also a lovely paddling stream

Reflection from a building on campus

Overview of some of the Natural History Museum at Brazosport College
Part of a huge shell collection  displayed in a beach setting
The skeletons of an alligator and a turtle found together.  It is suspected that the teeth marks on the turtle came from the alligator just before both died.