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January 9, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Flyers. Bits and pieces.

The whole idea of dinosaurs flying is mind-boggling – real Mother of Dragons crazy.

Apparently the dino flyers downsized, literally, to bird size. A survival strategy.

The newcomers on the block, humans, looked troublesome.

Hide in plain sight.

Do birds think humans hunt out of revenge for ill-treatment of prehistoric man by bird ancestors?

Comparison of dinosaur and bird. ( National Science Foundation:Zina Deretsky/

Obviously twins separated by birth era. (National Science Foundation/Zina Deretsky/

Who’s getting the last laugh now?

Did you know it’s much more difficult to down a winter dove than one during the earlier fall dove hunting season?

Winter doves are older. These are survivors of the first season: gained some marsh smarts and a wariness of humans.

Also doves can get some serious tail wind speed assist from the strong winter blasts.

Common winter dove hunting score: Dove: 1, Hunter: 0.

VIntage duck decoys. (Flickr/schmuck-by-nature/

What do they want? They won’t stop staring. (Flickr/schmuck-by-nature/

Then there’s the sitting ducks:

Redheads (species doesn’t seem to matter, that red head attracts men),

Wigeons, shovelers, pintails….

Who names these things? What a nomenclature.

Here’s a waterfowl cheat sheet with duck sounds included. (So just how bored are you this winter?)

Pintail duck on water. by Jukka Jantuen/VIREO/Audubon society

Now that’s a stylish nature toy. (Pintail duck by Jukka Jantuen/VIREO/Audubon society

We had a pintail duck.

Not a live one, too messy. (Not that there wasn’t a bit of whining about that.)

Pintail duck decoys have long skinny tail “feathers” – just right for a toddler to hold onto and drag around. Less than 2 yrs, she saw the decoy in a friend’s boat and confiscated it.

Considering it was almost as big as she was, it could be considered weightlifting.

It’s still around sitting here. (There is no truth to the rumor that the kid thought they were siblings. And that waddle was all due to those diapers.)

Daffy Duck as Carmen Miranda in Yankee Doodle Daffy. 1943/Warner Bros. Friz Freleng/USPD: Pub. date for animation/

They said they wanted a dressed duck.(1943/Warner Bros/Freleng/USPD:Pub. date/

They say a feast with ducks is healthy. (Not for ducks. Clarifying.)

Did you know that duck fat is the least saturated animal fat that people commonly eat?

Since ducks don’t get a lot of parasite, it’s relatively safe to eat the gizzard cooked rare.

Outdoor writer Shannon Tompkins waded out for ducks and ended up with a front row seat for a family of migrating whooping cranes.

“Waterfowlers are, by nature and practice, bird watchers,” he writes.

Read about his recent encounter with a family of whoopers here.

“Two notes, clear and deep and like a bugle, but with trill and timbre that clearly said a great, living thing made this music….” (He’s quite a writer, too.)

Do hope the state and federal authorities can determine what caused the death of the adult whooping crane discovered last Sunday. At five feet tall, would be pretty stupid odd to confuse a whooper with a legal hunted duck.

vintage duck cartoon.1941 Pantry Panic. (Warp3/

Whoop, but still no duck.(1941Woody Woodpecker/arp3/

These giant white birds have held people spellbound for over 10,000 years in the Gulf Coast area. 

Archeologists have found flutes made of whooping crane leg bones in the graves of Karankawa people.

Considering that, the whooping cranes might have been stopping by for a little celebratory stomp.

Pine Gully. All rights reserved. copyrighted, No permissions granted

Fenced off? The best sandy walking and shallow wading spot around.©

Recently,  a new sign went up on one of our favorite dog local trails.

Apparently, there’s an ancient shell midden, basically prehistoric garbage dump, here.

This refuge pile is composed of clam shells (rangia cuneata) that were once abundantly found in Galveston Bay.

Eventually the shells grew and became the site of a large campsite possibly inhabited over a long time by either Orcoquisac or Karankawa tribes.

Bone tempered pottery pieces, stone tools, deer bone artifacts, and an unfinished Yarbrough dart point got someone’s attention. (Artifacts’ dating suggests Late Archaic, 1500 B.C. to A.D. 100 or Early Ceramic A.D. 100-600)

All rights reserved. Copyrighted. No permissions granted.coastal prairie as Pine Gully flows into Galveston Bay

Coastal wetlands as Pine Gully flows into Galveston Bay. Squint to right and see in the far distance one of the tall rides at the Kemah Boardwalk. ©

Read more? Drawings and pictures of artifacts/pictures of Pine Gully midden and area from the Journal of the Houston Archeological Society. Start on Page 11.

Since it’s one of the best remaining examples of a prehistoric midden and campsite in the county, the site is given special protection as a State Archeological Landmark.

Now that it’s roped off, will archeological digging begin again?

Stay tuned. We’ll see if anything happens this summer.

Tide's out. This is a long public fishing pier. (Pine Gully is behind us) In the distance is a very large red super tanker headed to Houston in the Ship Channel. The concrete jumble of rocks is a bulkhead to prevent erosion by ship wave action and hurricanes.

Tide’s out. This is a long public fishing pier at a county park. In the distance is a red super tanker headed to Houston in the Ship Channel. The concrete jumble of rocks is a bulkhead to prevent erosion by ship wave action and hurricanes. Pine Gully is behind us. ©

Meanwhile lots of seagulls, waterbirds, deer, and other creatures are paying no heed to the signs and stomping all over the sandy banks.

Getting their two cents in.

He who laughs last laughs best?

Now who’s the dinosaur?

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Coastal map showing Pine Gully site by Galveston Bay. (www.historicalmarkerproject: Pine Gully. Marker HM005

Blue dot shows Pine Gully site by Galveston Bay. City of Houston is upper left, and Galveston Island partially seen across right corner (www.historicalmarkerproject: Pine Gully. Marker HM005)






  1. Kate Crimmins / Jan 9 2015 2:15 pm

    Always interesting for those of us who never lived in Texas!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 9 2015 3:57 pm

      Losing that sandy wading spot will be real loss this spring/summer if they do start a formal dig. Kids and dogs love those beachy flats. Just far enough hike from where we park the car that the dog has time to dry off. This location is one of the designated wild bird trail/watching spots – always something going on there. Thanks for wandering over

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beth / Jan 9 2015 2:34 pm

    Once again, I’ve learned something new and fascinating. Of course, I’ll have to tell Dad’s ducks to lie low for a bit – they don’t like being referred to as “healthy waddling deliciousness” – hurts their feelings and they get a bit nervous. They keep insisting they’re not just “low saturated protein”, they have names, names we can’t pronounce – hey look over there – waddle, waddle, waddle stage left.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 9 2015 4:25 pm

      We rarely ate duck growing up as dad was more woods than misery in swamps (hunting supplemented budget, not sport then).
      Everyone used to get a laugh out of seeing a little kid dragging this big duck decoy around by the tail..she was allowed to pick one out of the flock. Right now there’s a battle in one of the subdivisions with lakes: residents love the ducks and some/HOA says’ they are a nuisance and should be trapped and removed.Fly, ducks, fly now!
      Thanks for adding a bit to the comment pile

      Liked by 1 person

  3. heretherebespiders / Jan 9 2015 8:12 pm

    They sell goose fat here for what are meant to be the best roasted potatoes ever. I suppose the irish would know. Rare to find duck fat, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 9 2015 8:55 pm

      They say goose fat liquifies at a low temp and looks just like honey.
      Been reading an Irishman’s works recently for next post. Sadly how many young have the reading ability, vocabulary,attentions span, and training for witty satire these days?


      • heretherebespiders / Jan 9 2015 9:40 pm

        Look up waterfordwhispers on facebook 🙂


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 9 2015 9:47 pm

          The book “Duck, Duck Goose: Ultimate guide to coking waterfowl, both farmed and wild” by Hank Shaw is popular here – he’s been having cooking “schools”. Dick Williams is another chef big on hunting and cooking wild birds – part of some group called Coastal WIngs.
          Will check out that tip about FB!


  4. roughseasinthemed / Jan 9 2015 10:17 pm

    In my childhood we regularly ate duck. Totally yum. It might be unsaturated but it was very fatty. Just oozed grease.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 9 2015 11:55 pm

      I think dad brought some home once. The meat looked weird. Being picky, I think I drank milk instead which thrilled my carnivore brother. (You ate what was in front of you or went hungry…yes, I was skinny). Thanks for cooking up a comment


  5. jannatwrites / Jan 11 2015 11:09 pm

    I didn’t know duck was lowest in saturated fat. How cool to have an archaeological site nearby. So much history there- good to preserve it so maybe another generation or or more can see it.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 12 2015 3:29 pm

      The first thing I think about when someone says “eating duck” is Daffy. (Not so smart now, duck? Talk your way outta that?)
      There’s been a historical marker by that trail for a long time, but the area is orange fenced off now. (Although all the fog and rain has kept people off anyway).Wonder if someone got some funding.
      The fence is kind of funny – tons of deer, and other animal tracks all over that specific area…not sure if one of them put the barrier up themselves, or it’s a “nah, nah, you can’t make me…”
      Thanks for stepping in to chat


  6. jmmcdowell / Jan 15 2015 6:57 pm

    If the State’s protecting the site, any excavations would be very limited in nature and would need a good reason to be done at all. The preference in historic preservation is (surprise!) to preserve significant archaeological sites in place whenever possible. Often it’s not possible, though, and that’s when you’ll see us in the field doing data recovery excavations. At least then the information from features and middens, artifacts, site organization, and such will be preserved for the future. So hopefully your access won’t be impacted. 🙂


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 15 2015 9:08 pm

      THought you’d probably know the procedure/process.
      From what I can determine from the Archeology group is that there’s a big – and real – concern that artifacts/the site is now facing real danger of the sandy bluff sluffing off and bits washing away as the tide comes in and out and the little creek flows into the bay, wave action by ship channel traffic (although the new breakwater and recently planted marsh grasses are helping to stabilize erosion), and there was damage from Hurricane Ike 9 12 feet of water at least here). It’s been just a marker since mid 80’s, so the orange mesh fencing and these signs are a big change. Since this is also part of a well used county park in the summer, there may also be a concern about people finding stuff, digging for more, and destroying it all. It was safer when few knew what was there. Keeping an eye on developments.
      This all used to be ocean floor – all the way to Dallas. We used to find arrow heads, pottery, and fish fossils on the banks several hundred of miles from here. There’s lots of commonly called “Indian Mounds” in east TX. Some houses in Nacogdoches sell for more since there’s a mound with a historical sign on top of it in the yard. (and no digging allowed) Oddly, a status symbol. Intriguing that history is actually under foot.
      Thanks for digging up a comment to leave.


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