Date: March 23, 2015
Temperature: start 54º
Wildlife count: Red-eared Slider, Anole
Year List: 211; Life List: 493
Birds: Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Fulvous Whistling Duck, Black-necked Stilt, Royal Tern, Forster’s Tern, Black Skimmer, Long-billed Curlew, Dunlin, Western & Least Sandpipers, Marbled Godwit, Spotted Sandpiper, Laughing, Herring, and Ring-billed Gulls, American Golden, Black-bellied, Wilson’s and Piping Plovers, Snowy and Great Egret, Sanderling, Willet, Long and Short-billed Dowitchers, Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron, Green Heron, Black and Yellow-crowned Night Heron, American White and Brown Pelicans, Neo-tropic Cormorant, Lesser & Greater Yellowlegs, American Avocet, Brown Cowbird, Northern Mockingbird, Osprey, Gull-billed Tern, Loggerhead Shrike, American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Northern Harrier, White-tailed Kite, Boat-tailed Grackle, Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Phoebe, Cattle Egret, Black and White Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Purple Martin, Gray Catbird, Northern Cardinal, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Red-tailed Hawk, White-winged Dove, Black & Turkey Vulture, White & White-faced Ibis, Eastern Meadowlark, Belted Kingfisher, Mottled Duck, Sora, Tree & Cave Swallow, Northern Shoveler, Wilson’s Snipe, Killdeer, Blue-winged Teal, Common Gallinule, American Coot, Blue Jay,
The sun was shining, there was just enough breeze to keep the mosquitoes at bay – a perfect day for birding, and that is just what we did! The first stop was the Skillern tract, where the birds were rather quiet, although we found quite a few Blue-gray Gnatcatchers – in the morning light, their heads were bright blue and they allowed some good photographs.
From there, we went to Winnie to find a UPS drop, which proved a challenge. The location listed on line was not accurate, but after several stops and inquiries, we found the pharmacy where the UPS truck stops.
High Island is the location of several of the Houston Audubon Society birding sites. We stopped at Boy Scout Woods, which is the headquarters for the area and purchased the year pass for each of us – a good contribution to Audubon. This will allow us entrance to all of the sites while we are here, and we hope to come often.
There were several volunteers at the outdoor kiosk and we enjoyed the discussion with them. Just looking from the kiosk, we observed several birds, including a Louisiana Waterthrush, a life bird, which we didn’t even realize until later. We had seen a Northern Waterthrush in Idaho, but this is a new southern bird.
It was close to lunch time, so we just briefly explored the woods, and then headed for Bolivar peninsula, where we picked up a sandwich and enjoyed sitting on the beach for lunch. At the jetty, we saw lots of shorebirds – it was low tide with a good mudflat showing, a certain shorebird magnet. A stop on the NW side of Rollover netted a lot more shorebirds, and by that time, we were pooped!
Dinner was left-over Shepherd’s Pie, followed by a drive back to the refuge for sunset. When we got back we enjoyed great campfire with the other volunteers.