By Janice R. Edwards
Spring is different this year; so many things are changing around the lower San Bernard River.
At River’s End, where we live, there is not a tree between our homes and the northwest wind.
Those winds howling around the house, especially at night, make you believe in Banshees.
Darn that Blarney Stone.
The variety of birds across the river so far this year has been limited to mostly gulls and shorebirds. There aren’t even many Pelicans, brown or white, chasing the push boats traversing the river.
But, on Saturday, April 9, we had a red-letter Spring day. According to Dan Garza, the project manager of the project to dredge open the mouth of the San Bernard River. The dredgers finished at Station 97+00 earlier that afternoon. That means to us lay folks that Rigid Constructors reached the end of the dredging work into the Gulf of Mexico.
Now, that does not mean they are through working on this project. They were performing final surveys to determine where the contractor may need to go to clean up some siltation along the length of the river. Dan asked that everyone stay clear of the dredge pipeline, floating barges, and the contractor’s other equipment to allow the crew to complete the project safely.
For a project that should have been finished last year, it’s finally getting done. Maybe the Speckled Trout will find the mouth again this year and migrate back into the shallow bays and estuaries to reproduce. There’s nothing like the firecracker “pop” sounds of Specs feeding under the lights. The Flounder should be swimming back in soon if they aren’t already.
The Hummingbirds are making it back from their winter hideaways, so everyone, get your bird feeders out. Our flying friends will be tired and hungry and looking for new homes so they can raise their spring families.
There is a pair of Morning Doves that must be nesting near here; I hear them talking to each other over their breakfasts when I am getting up each morning.
The Indian Paintbrushes are blooming along the roadside. Look a little harder, and you might find a bluebonnet or two, among other wildflowers.
And if you are not careful, especially at dawn or dusk, you’ll run into deer or feral hogs checking out Mother Nature’s spring banquets set out for them at the San Bernard Wildlife Refuge.
And something different is going on now at the newly opened mouth of the river. Although we haven’t seen this phenomenon ourselves, since Roy and I no longer own a boat, our neighbors are reporting that cadres of Bull Sharks are thrashing in the shallows.
In the 20-plus spring seasons we’ve lived here, I don’t remember Bull Sharks ever congregating at the mouth of this river. So, beware of your surroundings when you are on the river this year. Bull Sharks are known man-eaters, and they can tolerate freshwater. They have been known to travel miles up fresh-water rivers.
And people are busy doing some spring cleaning here and not just inside their homes. Maybe because Hurricane Nicholas created issues in a lot of our homes, and it’s taken a while to get contractors down here, but homes are getting facelifts. I think there is just one house on Fisherman’s Isle that hasn’t had some work done on it this spring.
It seems like more than wildlife is migrating down to the end of the river these days. Old homes have been sold and refurbished; lots have been sold; RV’s have moved in. People are cleaning up and fixing up and enjoying the bounty Mother Nature sends us this time of year.
But look out because the Oak pollen is out to get us all. Maybe we need to wear those darn face masks a little longer, just long enough for the oak-tree pollination to end.
Happy spring, y’all, but hold on to your hats – it’s going to be quite a ride this year.
(Write Jan in care of The Bulletin. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. )Snail mail: The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton TX, 77516.)