…morning light is magic…

Hurricane Harvey and Aransas Bay Rookery

Since hurricane Harvey hit the Texas gulf coast, my brain has been in a major funk, so to speak, and I just haven’t been in the mood to post or take any photos for the past month, even though we made it through relatively unscathed.

The storm came ashore and devastated Rockport, TX, flooded the Houston area with about 50 inches of rain and then flooded Beaumont/Port Arthur.

We got very lucky and didn’t have any flooding in our neighborhood but others nearby weren’t so lucky.  The west end of my town, League city,  got extensive flooding from Clear Creek with about 7,700 homes being flooded.  Towns west and south of us (Friendswood & Dickinson) had greater flooding.  Overall, the flooding in the Houston area was devastating with around 200,000 homes and one million cars flooded.  With over 80% of homeowners without flood insurance, it’s going to be a very rough time for the people of Texas for a very long time.  Watching TV and seeing the high water rescues that were underway for several days was very depressing.  It was surreal to see highway off-ramps being used as boat ramps for the rescue boats.

We only had two roof leaks to deal with and feel very lucky.  Had to play bucket brigade with one of them streaming in on Sunday morning when we were getting 6 inches/hour of rain.  It would have been a major mess if we would have evacuated.  This storm was good motivation for us to replace our 23 yr old roof, which will be finished tomorrow.

I kept looking out my front door in the middle of the night to try to see how high the water level was coming up.  We then decided to move some stuff up to the second floor of our home just in case.  Didn’t realize until mowing the yard about a week later that the water came up into my yard about 4 ft with a visible debris line in my grass.  Somehow we never lost power.

It took a couple of days before the water receded on local roads where we could get to the store to pick-up a couple of fans to help dry out the carpet near our fireplace.  We also bought a couple of car loads of cleaning supplies to donate to a local shelter that was set up for people who had to evacuate their homes.

It’s been very sad to see people’s lives sitting at the curb with furniture, beds, sheet rock, carpet, etc. pulled out of their flooded houses with lots of it still sitting there a month after the storm.

Now back to the birds.  Learned recently that the rookery in Aransas Bay has been devastated with most of the vegetation being wiped out.  See the link below to see before and after videos at the rookery.  Reminds me of what happened to the High Island rookery after hurricane Ike but this is more severe.


Feel so fortunate to have visited the rookery in April.  Here are a few photos from that trip.  Hoping that it can recover soon.

Taken from a boat with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II mounted on tripod.

1/125 sec @ F4, ISO 3200, evaluative metering, +1/3 exposure compensation

0002_Aransas NWR_04252017-2

1/2500 sec @ F5.6, ISO 3200, evaluative metering, -1/3 exposure compensation

0068_Aransas NWR_04252017-2

1/2500 sec @ F9, ISO 800, evaluative metering, -1/3 exposure compensation

1019_Aransas NWR_04252017-2




5 responses

  1. Carol Boughton

    A very sad event that will have significant repercussions for wildlife. With the emphasis of local people having to be on their own recovery, the energy and resources available to address the natural environment will in the short term be minimal. Unfortunately there is also significant destruction to the nesting sites of many birds in Florida.

    September 25, 2017 at 8:32 pm

  2. Joe Benzenhoefer

    Thanks for the update Tim and I’m happy to hear you did OK in the storm. We had a very similar experience and are thankful for that. Joe

    September 26, 2017 at 5:36 am

  3. Agree. The wildlife in both Texas and Florida will have their share of challenges ahead. I’m looking forward to getting back out and taking photos of birds instead of my roof.

    September 26, 2017 at 6:41 pm

  4. Thanks Joe. It’s good to hear that you are OK as well. Got our roof replacement done today with more gutters showing up tomorrow. Based on what they found in a few spots, should have done it a few years ago.

    September 26, 2017 at 6:44 pm

  5. Graham

    Hi Tim. Sounds like you were pretty lucky, but it must be awful in other ways to be one of those lucky few amidst the devastation. I hope the area around you regenerates soon enough…including the wildlife…although I guess wildlife seem to cope so much better than we do in such times, perhaps because they aren’t tied to possessions?

    September 27, 2017 at 3:53 am

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