We Might Be Lost

So there are times when I’m out in the wild and something out of the ordinary happens. Maybe an unexpected bird decides to come out and pose for me or the light will hit a subject just right to reveal an awesome shot otherwise hidden in an overcast day. There are times when I’ve come face to face with a creature higher on the predator list than I was adequately prepared to deal with and wandered into areas where the daylight’s false sense of security relented to uncomfortable darkness. With all those experiences, I had really never experienced a “what the hell is that” followed quickly by the unsettling thought “where the hell am I !?!” .. that is until last December while on our birding trip down the Texas Gulf Coast. Linda had given me a Texas birding book that we were using to find places we had missed on our previous trips. One of the recommended places was at the end of Smith Point Road near Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge. Since that was a planned stop anyway, we detoured slightly to check it out.

Plains Zebra found in Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge at end of Smith Point Road\

When we arrived, the road that followed shoreline was closed. That literally left us at the end of road right at the waterline. Linda turned the RV around and parked it off the road. I jumped out to see what I could fill the tin with. Not sure if it was the unseasonably cold weather they were having or the generally drab day, but there was very little moving about. Snapped a few shots of a Tern hunting quite a ways off the shore. Three Brown Pelicans then came flying by warranting some attention even though Brown Pelicans in Texas might as well be shooting Bison in Yellowstone – sure it’s exciting for the first 50 encounters, but soon after the thrill subsides. Eventually found myself trying to track a Sparrow through a nearby thicket. It is there I looked up and uttered those alarming words. There in front of me was a Zebra staring right at me. Somewhere Linda had apparently made a very wrong turn – last I checked those black and white beasts preferred the Serengeti, not a field on the Gulf of Texas. Even went over to tell Linda so she could check my sanity.. One thing for sure, this was a lot more interesting to shoot than a Sparrow.

Hit the jump to see a couple more shots of our mysterious friend.

Plains Zebra found in Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge at end of Smith Point Road

Never did figure out what Mr. or Ms. Monochrome was doing in this field – my guess it wasn’t too pleased with the low temperatures. It must have been used to visitors seeing as it didn’t show much concern I was pointing large glass directly at it. Basically just looked my way to check my position on the other side of the fence and went about a lazy afternoon. I had to laugh to myself in the middle of the shoot. It occurred to me that this species was the true punk rocker of the desert – sporting a mohawk Tim Armstrong would be jealous of.

Zebras are not in my realm of expertise and little did I know before doing a little research that there are multiple species. There’s the Mountain Zebra, Grévy’s Zebra and the Plains Zebra. Based on the large dark patch on the muzzle, my assessment is the Smith Point specimen is of the Plains variety which is also referred to as the Common Zebra due to the broader region it inhabits – funny, Wikipedia didn’t mention it roaming through Texas. Oh, also learned that the stripe pattern on each zebra is unique like fingerprints. Based on that, I think they deserve credit for the invention of the barcode (ha).

After looking at the shot above thought it needed some additional treatment in the digital darkroom.

Plains Zebra found in Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge at end of Smith Point Road

There, much better.

Hope you enjoyed this little tangent from our birding trip. You never know what you are going to find when out in wilderness. This sure expanded my expectations for the future. Stay stripey everyone!

14 thoughts on “We Might Be Lost”

    1. The fact it was just one zebra and no other exotics I opted to rule out a petting zoo or traveling show of some sort – just one zebra and one horse (which I didn’t mention in the post) just passing time watching foolish humans passing by in their whirlybirds. Chalk one up for odd-world – Appreciate you stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was looking for a picture for a post and came across the zebra and then found your article. I had to reach out to you because it gave me and my husband a great laugh. The Zebra’s name is Shack, and he was orobkey wondering if you where going to give him his favorite snack. He belonged to my dad Runt, who grew up in smith point and passed in December 2016. He use to give him graham crackers for a snack every time he went out to the field. He had bought Shacks parents, Sherman and Sheba to have something to look at and help keep coyotes out of his deer field. As years went on Shack was born and a all the other wildlife where sold to ranchers. He kept Shack and his companion, a Donkey named Scratch. When Scratch passed Shack was depressed so we paired him with my paint horse, Cash. They have been moved to a different location due to him being an escape artist! He even escaped from the new location a couple times when we first moved him and a deputy that came up on him in the road had the same words you did! Lol! Just wanted to give you a little info on him 🙂

        … Amber – thank you so much for the backstory couldn’t get my comment to follow right after your comment. so please jump to the bottom for my response.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed! Linda swore she followed the directions in the birding book and we even checked, “south at Nairobi and then right at Arusha” Oh wait, that’s the map to the Serengeti National Park! You never know ha – thanks for stopping by – FYI, looks like we are in for snow tonight so feeling your trip back to Minnesota.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Amber – Thank you so much for the additional information!! I can’t believe you found my post on my encounter with Shack. He made the whole trip for us and is now a regular part of the various speeches I’ve given on birding the Texas Gulf Coast – in fact have one tomorrow night with the local camera club – now I’ll be able to give them the back story you shared. Sorry to hear about your father, but his legacy continues — all the way back to the plains of Illinois.


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