Date: December 18, 2015
Weather: bright sunshine
Temperature: start 41º
Wildlife count: Gators, Feral hogs
Birds: Northern Harrier, American Kestrel, Crested Caracara, Black Vulture, American Coot, Common Gallinule, Eastern Meadowlark, Great Blue Heron, Northern Mockingbird, Eastern Phoebe, Double-crested Cormorant, Snow Geese, Snowy Egret, Blue-winged Teal, Gadwall, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Tri-colored Heron, Northern Shoveler, Redhead, Red-winged Blackbird, Pied-billed Grebe, Fulvous Whistling Duck, White Pelican, Savannah Sparrow, Canada Geese, Little Blue Heron, Mottled Duck, Lesser Scaup, Ring-billed Duck, Ruddy Duck, Osprey, Turkey Vulture, Tree Swallow, Black Rail, Willet, Killdeer, Brown Cowbird, Orchard Oriole, White-tailed Kite, Swainson’s Hawk, Royal Tern, Greater Yellowlegs, Little Green Heron, Ruddy Turnstone, Dunlin, Horned Grebe, Brown Pelican, Sedge Wren, Red-breasted Merganser, White-tailed Hawk, Sora, Merlin, White-faced Ibis, White Ibis, Common Snipe.
Awakening early, we packed up and went to What-a-burger for breakfast. Our birding began on the main refuge, stopping at the VIS to meet long-time volunteers Al and Betty. This was their last day for this year, so enjoyed meeting and talking with them – they lead the birding tours at Laguna Atascosa, so hopefully one day we will work with them there.
Due to the warm weather in much of the eastern part of the US, most of the large flocks of waterfowl have not yet arrived. We did, however, see huge flocks of Snow Geese winging over the refuge. Around noon we were hungry, so we drove back to Winnie and enjoyed BBQ at Tony’s, a real treat. On the refuge again, we drove down to Frozen Point and enjoyed the quiet of the East bay of Galveston Bay. Again, we saw lots of great birds.
Jim and Karen called when we arrived back home and invited us to dinner. We met them at Al-T’s, a Cajun seafood place in Winnie. We had a great time reconnecting and the food was wonderful.