Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Kelly Hamby Nature Trail

with 36 comments

On October 6th, Linda Leinen drove Eve and me from League City to a rendezvous with Shannon Westveer and her husband Scott at the Kelly Hamby Nature Trail on the south shore of the peninsula that’s just across the bridge from the west end of Galveston Island. It was the first meeting for the three of us with the two of them, and we all sang Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Getting to Know You” (okay, so we didn’t actually do that). In this post you’ll see three times two of the things we found on the beach.

Beach evening-primrose flower, Oenothera drummondii

Gulf croton, Croton punctatus

Beach morning-glory, Ipomoea imperati

Shannon has made the case for this being woolly tidestromia, Tidestromia lanuginosa

A colorfully banded shell

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 19, 2019 at 6:05 PM

36 Responses

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  1. That Gulf croton is positively furry! Your crisp image gives it an edge all its own, never mind the confusion when it comes to the variety of crotons along the coastal plains of Texas.

    It was so nice meeting you finally. Eve was a delightful bonus!


    October 19, 2019 at 6:32 PM

    • I’m always happy to have an edge—and also a delightful bonus. Fun was had by all, as they say.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 19, 2019 at 6:56 PM

  2. I would have loved to hear all of you sing, “Getting to know you.” I imagine it was wonderful catching up with everybody in person!


    October 19, 2019 at 6:35 PM

  3. The beach morning-glory is SO stunning.. woweee!

    Ms. Liz

    October 19, 2019 at 9:47 PM

  4. I would have loved to be with you and your friends on this amazing exploratory trip, Steve. Each picture has a story to tell about the beauty of the peninsula. I especially liked the beach morning glory.

    Peter Klopp

    October 19, 2019 at 10:43 PM

    • Yes, it was a fun communal outing. You’re the second commenter in a row to single out the beach morning-glory.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 19, 2019 at 11:05 PM

  5. Cool plants! I love to see beach versions of familiar plants and gulls are always pleasing by the sea (not parking lots). What a fun day for all of you.


    October 20, 2019 at 7:42 AM

    • Austin is home to two common native wildflowers in the morning-glory family, one white and the other purple (the purple one found on the coast as well). You’re right that I enjoyed seeing their beach counterparts. As for birds, well, the coast abounds in them, and I’ll have more avian pictures in upcoming posts.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 20, 2019 at 8:31 AM

  6. I’m still intrigued by that spurge. I know I’ve seen at least three or four other beach plants with red stems; I need to find their photos and see if there’s a commonality. Your photo does a fine job of making the croton interesting, too. It’s so easily passed over, and yet the details are lovely. The best single detail? For me, it’s the vertical/horizontal contrast in the photo of the shell and what I presume to be driftwood. I really, really like that.

    It’s fun to see your takes on familiar plants, and it was great fun to share the day with you and Eve, and Shannon and Scott. I’m thinking of going down at low tide this afternoon, just to see what can be seen.


    October 20, 2019 at 8:48 AM

    • Your reference to the area as a peninsula caught my attention and sent me looking. I’ve known the area between San Luis Pass and Surfside as Follett’s Island as long as I’ve been going there, and everyone I know refers to it as an island. Apparently it was an island at one time, although the TSHAOnline calls it a peninsula, and mentions that it used to be called the Velasco peninsula. (Today’s Surfside, home of the Purple Cow, encompasses what used to be Velasco.)

      The old Velasco lighthouse was on the Brazoria river, and from what I can tell, the island status goes back to those days. Today, the channel that’s been cut for shipping at the south end and the Intracoastal Canal, which you crossed on the high bridge at Surfside, probably contribute to the sense of island-hood. It’s interesting to look at an area like that and see how the effects of natural forces endure in the language. However tenuous its connection to the mainland, it does function as a barrier island. Very interesting.


      October 20, 2019 at 9:35 AM

      • What a difference a map makes. Until I looked at one while preparing this post, I kept thinking Kelly Hamby is on Galveston Island, even though I knew we’d crossed a bridge to get to it. I believe I found one reference to it as being on West Galveston Island. The land clearly developed as a barrier island, with shifting sands over the years redefining its boundaries and even its islandness, which it has currently lost. New York’s famous Coney Island has suffered a similar loss of island status (and most likely all its coneys, i.e. rabbits, as well).

        Steve Schwartzman

        October 20, 2019 at 10:16 AM

    • Too bad we can’t join you at low tide this afternoon. You’re fortunate to live so close to the sea that you can saunter along the shore whenever you wish. Eve misses that closeness, having spent her childhood a short walk from the coast, as do I, who grew up a half-hour’s drive from beaches on the south shore of Long Island.

      As we’ve discussed, numerous low, sprawling spurges defy easy identification. After a little searching, I decided I’d never figure this one out. Rather than “Look but do not touch,” I’ve adopted “Look but do not identify.”

      Yes, crotons are under-appreciated. Probably the most common one in Austin is doveweed, Croton monanthogynous, which I see I’ve featured only once, and in a secondary role at that:


      I hadn’t fully appreciated the horizontal~vertical contrast in the shell picture till you pointed it out.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 20, 2019 at 9:38 AM

  7. The spurge picture caught my eye, the word that popped in my mind, I guess because of the reddish grid, is “interstitial” – -just mentioning that random association! I like the first shot a lot, I don’t know much about plants, as I think you know, but I like the strange little pistil (?) sticking out into the sky, so the flower looks like an elaborate creation for a festival

    Robert Parker

    October 20, 2019 at 11:46 AM

    • The word interstices or interstitial came up somewhere recently, here or on another blog, but I don’t remember where. I think of the red stems as forming a network.

      Many of the flowers in the genus Oenothera do have that cruciform stigma—the tip of the style that rises from the ovary, all collectively called the pistil, as you said. The festival was our being on the beach.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 20, 2019 at 2:13 PM

  8. I would’ve loved to have been with you all, as well. A bursting celebration of life.

    Michael Scandling

    October 20, 2019 at 3:58 PM

    • We’d’ve been glad for your company. More life from Kelly Hamby will burst forth in the next post.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 20, 2019 at 4:28 PM

  9. I like the possible woolly tidestromia spurge with its deep pink stems and light leaves. Glad that you all had such a great time together.

    Steve Gingold

    October 20, 2019 at 5:53 PM

    • It’s the only time I’ve met with two blog friends simultaneously. All the other meetings (perhaps eight) were one-on-ones.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 20, 2019 at 5:59 PM

  10. […] The previous post showed you six of the things we saw on October 6th at the Kelly Hamby Nature Trail on the south shore of the peninsula that’s across the bridge from the west end of Galveston Island. Now here are another half-dozen finds. […]

  11. Another lovely set of photos but the loveliest part of this post is learning of your meeting with blogging friends.


    October 21, 2019 at 5:50 AM

    • Christchurch set a great precedent. The first meeting with Linda took place not long after Eve and I returned from the first New Zealand trip. I figured that if we could go to the other side of the earth to meet a blog friend, a three-hour drive was no obstacle.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 21, 2019 at 7:37 AM

      • Indeed. No obstacle at all for someone who not only came to New Zealand but also negotiated our roads for hours on end.


        October 21, 2019 at 8:15 AM

        • I well remember the first tentative, trepidation-filled, wrong-side-of-the-road-for-me drive from the Christchurch airport to your house.

          Steve Schwartzman

          October 21, 2019 at 8:22 AM

          • It was an act of courage! The entrance to and exit from the airport are much easier to negotiate these days, now all the roadworks and changes have been completed.


            October 22, 2019 at 1:26 AM

            • The road construction I remember is from the second trip. As we drove up from Oamaru and got to the southern reaches of Christchurch, my phone’s navigation wanted me to turn onto streets that I couldn’t turn onto because construction had blocked them. After several instances of that, I looked at the map and figured out for myself where we needed to go. As you know, we eventually arrived.

              Steve Schwartzman

              October 22, 2019 at 8:08 AM

  12. Wonderful images Steve … a super collection 🙂


    October 27, 2019 at 12:08 AM

    • I’ve been doing groups of pictures lately because I have so many things to show from our coastal visit that I don’t want to string them out for months by showing one picture at a time (which is my preferred approach).

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 27, 2019 at 8:33 AM

  13. I’m charmed by the series of photos, the “three times two” and the fact that you all got together – wonderful!


    November 3, 2019 at 12:30 PM

    • And let’s not leave out the charming fact that whether you add the numbers 1, 2, and 3, or multiply them, you get the same result: 6.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 3, 2019 at 3:31 PM

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