We had high hopes for Wednesday – Tristan really likes boats, so we wanted to take a harbour tour in Galveston. We checked the website, phoned the night before and listened to their hours/rates, and everything seemed to be a go. So that morning, Nathan went early to search for his Seaside Sparrows and Boat-tailed Grackle (both of which are supposed to be common), and came back skunked, but with plenty of time to make the boat. We decided at the last minute to phone again, and good thing we did. The boat was reserved for a school group, so no trip that day.
Instead we decided to go to the beach, but it turned out to be too cold and windy, and there was no playground, though we’d been told there was one. Finally, in desperation to do something fun with Tristan, we decided to take the ferry off the island to Port Bolivar. After a few wrong turns, we finally found it , and were pleased to discover that it was free!
Tristan enjoyed the ride very much, as did Nathan and I, mostly because there were lots of Bottlenose Dolphins galavanting in the bay. I’m not sure if Tristan was actually able see the dolphins, but he seemed to like practicing pointing at things. And he definitely liked getting the sea spray in his face.
On the other side, we went for a short drive, again in search of the elusive sparrows. Nathan had his eyes in his scope the whole time, but Tristan was happy to run around in the sand again. I thought that here he was saying hi, but maybe he was trying to get our attention because he’d seen them.
After a record 3-hour nap, Tristan got up just in time for dinner. We decided to try out the Rainforest Cafe – a jungle-themed restaurant with animatronic animals. Tristan was absolutely entranced with the moving gorillas and elephants, though he did like to hold hands when the storm came and everybody started making noise.
Thursday morning, I got up early to enjoy the sunrise on the beach. Nathan then ran out for his final try at his two birds, and managed to bag the sparrow. The grackle, alas, never deigned to show his mighty boat tail.
We then bid a mixed farewell to Galveston. It was a lovely town, but a lot of what we wanted to do was closed for the season, or just due to bad luck. We had one more destination left – just north of Houston was a park Nathan wanted to see, in order to see his last few hopeful lifers. We drove the morning and got to our hotel, right near the park, in time for T’s nap. Nathan decided to go scope out the park so that we’d know exactly where to go in the morning. Can you guess what happened? After his bad luck in Galveston, he managed to get all three lifers in the park in about 2 hours, during his “recon” mission. That brought his lifer count up to 12 – which was 3 fewer than he’d hoped for.
That freed us up on Friday, our last full day, to do something fun with Tristan. We headed back into Houston to Hermann Park, which advertised a big playground, a train, and paddleboats. Tristan was very happy to run around in the park, despite the lack of other children. Seems they were all in school or something.
The train was a big hit, even more so than usual. He cried when we got off, and was only eventually consoled by lunch. We then took a ride on the paddleboat, which he wasn’t too sure about. But we eventually found a fountain to paddle by, and he loved playing “sprinkle face” – which basically entailed moving into the wind spray of the fountain until we all go sprinkled.
After that, it was a long 4 hour drive back to San Antonio, where we would fly out the next morning. Tristan slept through much of it, then we kept him happy by watching some movies. We’d already finished Finding Nemo, we moved on to Cars, which turned out to be not as popular. What can I say, he’s the son of biologists, and so far Finding Nemo and Rio are his favorites.
Saturday was a day of many plane rides. We had a verrrry early morning, then 3 flights. Tristan, as always, was a champ, and managed to keep a smile on his face most of the time, by reminding himself that Gramma would be picking us up in Victoria (Bama Bama Bama!). So, all in all, a great trip, but we’re all glad to be home.
Nathan’s total Texas bird list: 155
Nathan’s lifers: 12
Angie’s lifers: 17