Monday, March 29, 2010

South Padre Island

We spent our first couple of nights in Texas on South Padre Island. South Padre Island is a small tourist town located at the southern tip of the South Padre barrier island. South Padre Islands was first discovered by the Spanish explorer Alonso Alverez de Pineda in 1519, although there is evidence that Native Americans inhabited the island as early as 2700BC. Pineda named the island Isla Blanca which means White Island.
In the early 1800s Padre Jose Nicolas Balli received portions of the island in a land grant from Mexico and began to raise cattle, horses, and mules at his settlement which he named Rancho Santa Cruz. In the early 1900 most of the island was under the control of the National Park Service and was closed to the public. In 1962 new access to the island was opened up and the city of South Padre began to grow. Today the beaches are lined with condos and hotels, like the Best Western that we stayed in.
People come from all around the country, and sometimes even further, to enjoy the beaches of South Padre. Many retired people spend the entire winters in the area living in trailers and mobile homes while young people invade the beaches for spring break.
Fortunately we were there the week before spring break so the beaches were calm and peaceful. I spent my mornings walking up and down the beach looking at shells and anything else that was washed ashore during high tide. On a couple of occasions I found starfish on the beach. I was worried that they would not survive marooned out on the sand but a local woman told me that they would probably survive and would wash back out to see when the tide came back in that night.
Stranded jellyfish are not so lucky. Each night new jellyfish would wash up on the shore and each morning the gulls would eat their favorite parts for breakfast, leaving the dead gelatinous bodies to litter the sand.
On the inward side of the island, the side that does not face the gulf, the habitat is somewhat different. There is still plenty of sand and beach but there is also streches of vegetation which provides food and shelter for many birds, fish and other wildlife.

13 comments:

Frostbite and Sunburn said...

Jellyfish for breakfast - mmmm, yumm!

Lovely starfish and thanks for an intro to the area

awarewriter said...

Beautiful photos and commentary (as usual LOL). The lighting is excellent. I've discovered a small nature preserve within walking distance from my home. Wow am I excited. I love the morning light. Last trip I saw turtles sunning on logs but I didn't have a lens longer than 85mm with me. Next time I will.

noel said...

aloha,

thanks for sharing a little bit of your world, it looks like a wonderful time to be there early in the morning and away from the crowds..i love looking for shells and i bet that must be a big past time.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Looks like a nice place to visit~ I have seen the Jellyfish come on shore like this before as well and the Gulls do enjoy their feast.

Denise said...

Enjoyed all your photos, thank you. This is an area I would love to visit one day.

Jossie said...

Great post again. I really like your pictures of the seagull having breakfast.

allhorsestuff said...

That looks like a delightful place to visit. Glad you beat the spring break crowd, for a calmer time. Lovely photo's!
KK

Lawstude said...

beautiful scene as always and your photography is always sharp. i love it.

Sylvia K said...

South Padre Island is a lovely place -- I haven't been there in many years, but it was always a fun trip! Your photos are terrific as always! So glad you've had a great trip! Enjoy!

Sylvia

LadyFi said...

Lovely photos of the beach!

Randi said...

This must be a lovely place to visit! Great shots!

Joyful said...

You have some wonderful photos of the beach and wildlife. I haven't been to Texas and it was lovely to see this part of Texas in photos.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Fabulous bird shots. We have spent several winters on NORTH Padre and the birding there is also terrific, hope you get up there. But love your pictures no matter where they're from. Tx for sharing.