Me in the Columbia bottomlands!
My friend Cheryl the human pincushion - she got some thorns on her sweater!
This is a devil's walking stick or toothache tree. Weird and cool aye?
This is a young buckeye tree, flowering.
We went kayaking on Austin Bayou, a slow-moving tidal slough that runs into the Gulf.
I took this on a little Casio camera, so the color is a bit off.
We saw these waterbirds near the coast - a white ibis (on the far right), a bunch of roseate spoonbills and a few yellow-crowned night herons.
Another shot of the ibis and spoonbills.
A close-up view.
A palmetto thicket in the Columbia bottomlands.When I was growing up, I lived in the Oregon and it was a long drive on narrow, winding roads that went by this one area with a massive tree. My dad and I jokingly called it the tiny tree. So here's a Texas tiny tree!Dwarf palmettos are common in the area.Shelf fungus on a tree in the woods.These coastal forests have many vines, palmettos, and a high diversity of tree species.A boardwalk over the trail because the coastal bottomland forests are sometimes waterlogged.
A shot of the live oaks. Live oaks keep their leaves year round, unlike most oaks.The door of the Quiet Oaks Bed & Breakfast where we stayed.The yummy breakfast we had at the B&B - vegetable frittata, yogurt and fruit.We stopped by Sea Center Texas, an aquarium with native Texas sealife plus a hatchery for redfish and Southern flounder.There are many alligators on the Texas Gulf Coast. Here are two little ones on display.Cheryl and I at Surfside, on the beach! I love the beach! The place we stayed is just miles from the coast. After spending a few days in the Columbia bottomlands we went up the Texas coast and drove the Blue Ocean Highway, which has been completely renovated since Hurricane Ike. I was in shock! The Texas coast looked beautiful.A view of the coast at Surfside.
I was so excited to see that someone - not sure who - has established sand fences along the coast to re-establish dunes. I wrote an article about this a couple years ago. I noticed these on the side of the road and pulled off to take photos. Only after taking a bunch of pictures did I realize that they also had planted some beach plants (in a line along the right side of pic) and also old Christmas trees!A shot of the sand fences.
Seashells at Surfside
We went up the coast to visit a big wetland restoration project, and saw this gator slurking through the mud. There are gators in the sloughs and waters and coastal marshes of the Columbia bottomlands too.