Birding in Texas - Days 5 & 6

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Here's the final post for our trip. We're home now, and although we had a great time, I'm glad to be back on familiar turf. We were in Texas for six days, but really only had 4 days to bird - days 1 & 6 were travel days. For the trip, we tallied 158 bird species, 26 of which were warblers.

We also saw four reptile species: Alligator, Red-eared Slider (turtle), Water Moccasin (see my Day 4 post for a photo) and Anole (lizard).

Surprisingly, not much in the way of mammals - a couple of Eastern Fox Squirrels, some cows, horses and a couple of dogs was about it. I was disappointed not to see armadillos (road-kill or otherwise). We did see a road-kill young pig though. That was odd, it looked like a wild/feral pig.

On day 5, we stopped at some rice fields to look for shorebirds which can be plentiful on the mud of the drained fields. We weren't disappointed and were fortunate to find a Hudsonian Godwit - another life bird for both of us. The birds were too far away to take photos, but our spotting scope provided excellent viewing.

Then it was on to Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge to find alligators, shorebirds and waterfowl. It was pretty quiet at Anahuac since much of the water-filled areas were temporarily dry, but we did see some nice shorebirds in one of the areas that was ponded and quite a few alligators in the main canal.

This large gator was basking on the edge of a canal that runs throughout Anahuac.

About to call it a day and heading to the Bed and Breakfast to check in, we stopped at a marshy area to look for shorebirds. We were fortunate enough to see a Clapper Rail, and John actually managed to get some photos.

Rails rarely come out of the marsh vegetation. You can hear them, but seeing them, much less photographing them is a different story.

On our last day, we ate breakfast and heard stories of Hurricane Ike with our B & B owner/hostess, Carole. She was unable to evacuate and spent a harrowing few days trapped in the B&B. The B&B suffered major damage, but it's almost back to where it was in 2008. Sadly, a large number of the homes on the Texas coast are no more. The destructive force of the hurricane was tremendous and hard for us to comprehend. You can learn more about Ike's fury in this episode of Storm Stories.

After breakfast, we headed toward Point Bolivar to catch the ferry to Galveston, stopping at a few spots along the way to see if we could find any new shorebirds.

I took this photo of one of the other ferries from our ferry.

Laughing Gulls wait at the ferry docks and fly along with it, hoping for kindly passengers to give them food. I was eating a piece of bread in the car and this gull landed on the railing 3 feet from me. I'm sorry, but I didn't share.

We added one more species to our trip list on the drive from Galveston to the airport in Houston, a familiar and handsome raptor - a Red-shouldered Hawk.

I've uploaded more Texas trip photos than what I posted on my blog, see them all on Flickr.


Wendy Wright April 29, 2010 at 9:50 AM  

Sounds like you had a wonderful trip. The photos you posted are wonderful! I love the alligator shot. Thanks for sharing. :)

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