Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Lesser Sandpiper

A lesser sandpiper finding food along West Beach in Galveston

When I was 6-to-9 years of age, my family lived in the then-new subdivision of the future, developer Frank Sharp's "Sharpstown". I still remember the street names well of our neighborhood...streets like Hendon Lane, Langdon Lane, Sharpcrest Drive, Albacore, Concho, McAvoy, Bintliff, and Neff. And there was Sandpiper. At the time, I didn't know there was such a thing as a real sandpiper, but of course, there is.

In May of this year during my visit to Galveston, there were many lesser sandpipers scurrying along the sandy beach, looking and probing for food. These are actually very pretty animals, with their pure white underbelly feathers and the brown and white patterned feathers on their heads, wings, and backs. This is a picture I snapped along West Beach, the part of the island where there is no seawall. There were quite a few sandpipers poking their beaks into the wet sand as they fed on insects.

The eastern part of the island is where the most densely-populated areas of the city lie are protected from hurricanes by a seawall. But if you head west on Seawall Boulevard, you go past the seawall itself, onto the parts of the island where the houses are built on stilts to raise them above the highest tides. It is in this area where I found these small birds.

Of course, Galveston is home to a number of other birds, such as seagulls and pelicans, so it is a great place to enjoy many types of marine birds. No doubt, there are prettier beaches in the world than those on Galveston Island, but it is still an terrific place to spend some time.

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