Thursday, August 31, 2017

Corpus Christi beach before Hurricane Harvey

We spent 5 days on North Padre Island, just outside Corpus Christi, Texas, with our daughter, her husband and their two daughters. We departed on August 20, less than a week before Hurricane Harvey made a direct strike. Our condominium was located on the beachfront, third floor. Our bed was situated right next to a glass wall which overlooked the beach and the expanse of the Gulf of Mexico:

Gulfstream Condominiums 20170817

These are views which greeted us at sunrise:

Sunrise 01-20170817

Sunrise 05-20170817

Sunrise 01-20170818

Mary Lou and I walked the beach early each morning. Our companions along the way were friendly humans...

Sunrise 04-20170817

...and a few feathered critters. Sanderlings scurried back and forth as the surf rolled in and receded:

Sandpiper 02-20170817

Sandpiper 01-20170817

Sanderling 02-20170818

Laughing Gulls were numerous. They exchange their black heads for "earmuffs" at the end of breeding season:

Laughing Gull 01-20170817

This adult Herring Gull has a yellow bill and develops a few dark head streaks as winter approaches.

Gull 01-20170817

A Royal Tern flew overhead:

Royal Tern 20170818

The Willet is a large sandpiper with a substantial straight bill. It flashes white wing patches in flight and loudly calls out its name: 

Willet 01-20170818

Willet 03-20170818

Ruddy Turnstones were quite numerous:

Ruddy Turnstone 05-20170818

A special treat was this tiny Piping Plover, a threatened species (and endangered in the Great Lakes area) with a yellow-orange flag and a blue-green band respectively on its left and right upper legs. The colors indicate it came from the northern Great Plains states. The light was poor and I could not read the number on the flag, and it flew off before I could draw nearer:

Piping Plover 04-20170817

Piping Plover 02-20170817

The younger family members went fishing from a pier at night, and I joined them. I tried out the low-light performance of my new mirrorless camera. These images were hand-held and brightened in post-processing but no filters were applied:

Fishing Pier 06-20170817

Fishing Pier 02-20170817

I assume that the green lights under the pier are intended to attract fish:

Causeway 02-20170816

At Port Aransas, we took a successful dolphin-watching boat tour, but I got no decent photos because of my poor reflexes and the annoying shutter lag with my new camera. 


This is a view of the harbor over the "fence" on the stern of the boat. I did not realize how drastically this scene would change only a few days later:

Port Aransas 05-20170818

The boat captain pointed out a flock of Roseate Spoonbills, which he called "Texas Flamingos:"

Roseate Spoonbills 20170818

The Lydia Ann Lighthouse, placed into service in 1857, guards the passage between the Gulf and the bay. Hurricanes destroyed the outbuildings several times, the worst in 1916 and 1919. It was deactivated in 1952 and is now under private ownership. The light was restored and returned to service in 1988 as a private aid to navigation:

Lighthouse 01-20170818


On my 82nd birthday, just a week after I took these photos, the eye of Hurricane Harvey had already passed directly over Port Aransas and was then producing massive devastation in Houston, Texas.  My birthday occurs at the height of hurricane season. In recent years, four Atlantic and Gulf hurricanes made landfall on August 29: Katrina (2005) Gustav (2008) and Isaac (2012). 

At this point I have not heard how the lighthouse fared. I was reminded of how I spent my birthday when we lived New Orleans in 1969. I was in a school which served as a hurricane shelter, providing medical care to hundreds of evacuees after Camille struck on August 17. At that time it was the worst hurricane to ever strike the US mainland. See: Remembering Hurricane Camille

An excerpt: Remarkably, these words were written in 1999: “For many, Camille is a distant memory, an historical footnote from a time long gone. But Camille is also a harbinger of disasters to come. Another storm of Camille’s intensity will strike the United States, the only question is when. When this future storm strikes, it will make landfall over conditions drastically different from those in 1969. The hurricane-prone regions of the United States have developed dramatically as people have moved to the coast and the nation’s wealth has grown. Estimates of potential losses from a single hurricane approach $100 billion.”
[Thirty Years After Hurricane Camille: Lessons Learned, Lessons Lost, by Roger A. Pielke, Jr., Chantal Simonpietri, and Jennifer Oxelson ,12 July 1999]


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Linking to Misty's  CAMERA CRITTERS,

Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,

Linking to FENCES AROUND THE WORLD by Gosia

Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy

Linking to WEEKEND REFLECTIONS by James

Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart

Linking to Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) by NC Sue

Linking to ALL SEASONS by Jesh

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Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display

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27 comments:

  1. Absolutely gorgeous, Kenneth! The views and light, not to mention the shimmers of colours, are brilliant!

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  2. Happy "Belated" birthday wishes. - You had quite lovely views to wake up to. Also shore birds are so fun. - I sure enjoyed seeing your photos.

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  3. You got a lot of great images on your visit as well as beautiful skies.

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  4. Great images. My brother is a civilian employee for the Navy and lives in Corpus Christi. He was evacuated out because of Harvey. I am eager to get a report from him on the conditions there.

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  5. Beautiful photos, and how incredibly fortunate to depart just ahead of Harvey!! I wonder if the beachfront condo where you stayed had much damage?

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  6. Happy Belated Birthday and what gorgeous photography you did while at Padre Island ~ (my son lived there for awhile ~ while an officer in the Navy ) so I did walk that beach ~ Do hope the people there are faring well after the hurricane ~ Glad you went there before the hurricane ~ ^_^

    (A ShutterBug Explores)

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  7. Seems like an almost spooky early warning.

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  8. A beautiful place, so much like Galveston and Orange Beach and Perdido Key, all along the Gulf. Your final quote has reminded me of the question that's been brought up more than once about whether the storms are actually worse now, or whether we've just built up so much expensive stuff in their paths that it seems worse.

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  9. Happy Birthday....82 years old and still taking pictures. You are amazing! I liked the sunrise photos BEST.

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  10. Situations can change rather quickly. Sad the devastation they are enduring. beautiful pictures.

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  11. Hello, happy birthday! The trip and vacation looks wonderful, you were lucky to be there before the storm. Love the birds, especially the Spoonbills and Piping Plover. Beautiful photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

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  12. What a very interesting post! I loved reading all of your words, information and thoughts. Happy Birthday! I'm glad you were out of there before Harvey arrived. As always, I enjoyed your photos... I would have taken so many pictures with a view like that from the condo! Wow! I liked seeing your new way of taking night pictures.. it was new to me.

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  13. Such a beautiful place! Your photos are wonderful. Loved seeing the shorebirds, specially that piping plover. Such lovely memories (and oh that awesome lighthouse...thank you for including info about it!) It must feel strange to have been there a week before the devastation hit. We have the same feeling about Brookings, where we were visiting my husbands sister last month (and I have posted a bunch of pictures...still doing some of the end of the trip!) which is now being razed by a horrendous wildfire. My sis in law is on stage 2 alert to evacuate. We all never know what lies ahead, do we!?

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  14. Beautiful!
    What have happended to all the people and birds and...

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  15. super photos. Lucky you to get a photo of a Piping Plover!

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  16. Excellent! Your photos make me want to go to the beach. :-)

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  17. Interesting post - I often wonder how birds manage to get through storm events.

    Stewart M - Melbourne

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  18. Nice photos here.
    Thanks for linking up at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2017/09/inwardly-gazing-with-monochrome-eyes.html

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  19. beautiful sky indeed...love the burning sky!

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  20. You have wonderful time indeed...It's a nice beach for families

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  21. Good you were able to visit before the hurricane. Hope things are going well for the people in the area. Now, we are vigilant on Hurricane Irma. It is hitting Puerto Rico (from where I am) tomorrow night.

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  22. Glad you got out of there before the storm hit! So devastating!

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