flew from Dublin to Houston via Atlanta with KLM, collected our rental
car and based ourselves in Winnie (Hampton Hotel), Upper Texas Coast,
which was a very central location just twenty minutes drive from High
Island, with the better wader sites enroute. Areas birded during our
ten days were Anahuac National Wildlife Reserve, the woods at High
Island, Bolivar Pennsula, the ferry to Galveston. The main aim was
to see waders and warblers and take time with them. A Birders Guide
to the Texas coast by Mel Cooksey and Ron Weeks was the only guide
we needed, local bird lines were easy to use via internet as they
are updated quickly. Notice boards in Boy Scout Woods were also updated
as news broke even with local rares.
National Wildlife reserve was fantastic for waders. We visited the
reserve every morning enroute to High Island, several hundred American
Golden Plover were present on the early dates, in one count in one
field we saw sixty plus Upland Sandpipers, this filtered over the
next few days, on two dates hundreds of Buff breasted Sandpipers were
present. Most days saw plenty of Long billed Dowitchers, Stilt Sandpipers
and smaller numbers of Bairds and Pectoral Sandpipers, only a few
Spotted Sandpipers and one Ruff which we found, I mention this because
it caused quite a stir as they are a decent rare in the US. Fortunately
it lingered for several weeks. We did the Rail Run which consists
of several people dragging noisy plastic bottles filled with pebbles
in a line to flush Rails, we flushed Sora, Yellow and King Rails,
not a bad result. Several American and one Least Bittern were seen
with the huge array of Heron's. Both species of Whistling Ducks were
easily seen. Every pond had Blue and Green winged Teal. Northern Harriers
were at every turn, several stands of trees had American Warblers,
Tanager or Flycatcher, The Yellow rail prairie was the only site we
saw Nelson's Sharp tailed Sparrow, hundreds in fact. We saw six species
of Sparrow overall on this site. Both yellowlegs were always present
as were Black necked Stilt.
also spent every day birding High Island working Smith Oaks, Hooks
Woods and Boy Scout Woods. All the warblers listed were seen here,
some days were quiet but still held ones interest. Big rain fell overnight
later in the week and what a difference that made, the woods were
just spilling over with passerines and near passerines. Most of them
listed were after this northerly rain storm, just magic birding! High
Island (Smith Oaks) also hosts a rather large Heronry, well worth
a visit as the views are incredible.
Pennusla was visited on two dates, this area is littered in waders,
gulls, and Terns. Tidal birds including hundreds of Dunlin, Western
and Semipalmated Sandpipers. Always present, Royal, Caspian, Forsters
Terns, Skimmers and Least Terns. Long billed Curlew, Whimbrel, American
Avocet, Wilsons, Piping, Snowy and Semipalmated Plovers. Both Pelicans
and the ever present Laughing and Ring billed Gulls, smaller numbers
of Herring and Bonaparte's. Most if not all the Dowitchers seen here
were Short billed on call.
crossing produced Magnificent Frigatbird but added nothing else of
the list of birds is only around two hundred, it was the sight of
pure quantity that was fantastic! All day long no matter were we where
there was good numbers of birds migrating north, calling or/and in
flocks overhead. We have been to the States on numerous occasions
but have never observed so many birds in such a small area. The Upper
Texas coast is just busy with birds.
list of birds.
bellied Whistling Duck (L)
billed Curlew (C)
Whistling Duck (L)
winged Teal (C)
crowned Kinglet (L)
winged Teal (C)
grey Gnatcatcher (C)
breasted Merganser (C)
billed Grebe (C)
rumped Sandpiper 6.
White Pelican (L)
crested Cormorant (C)
breasted Sandpiper (L)
winged Warbler 2.
billed Dowitcher (C)
billed Dowitcher (C)
crowned Warbler (C)
Blue Heron (C)
Gull (L) 19.
Blue Heron (C)
billed Gull (C)
rumped Warbler (C)
Herring Gull (C)
Black backed Gull 1.
throated Warbler 1.
crowned Night Heron (C)
billed Tern (L)
and White Warbler (C)
faced Ibis (C)
eating Warbler 8.
tailed Kite 5.
Collard Dove 4.
||White winged Dove (L)
||Hooded Warbler (L)
||Mourning Dove (C)
||Summer Tanager (C)
||Inca Dove (L)
||Scarlet Tanager 4.
shouldered Hawk 1.
||Yellow billed Cuckoo (L)
||Savanagh Sparrow (C)
||Great Horned Owl 3.
||Nelsons Sharp tailed Sparrow (L)
tailed Hawk (C)
||Lesser Nighthawk 1.
||Seaside Sparrow (L)
||Chimney Swift (L)
||Lincolin's Sparrow 1.
||Ruby throated Hummingbird (C)
||Swamp Sparrow 4.
||Belted Kingfisher (L)
||White throated Sparrow (L)
||Yellow bellies Sapsucker (L)
||White crowned Sparrow (C)
||Downy Woodpecker (L)
||Northern Cardinal (C)
||Pileated Woodpecker 1.
||Rose breasted Grosbeak (L)
||Acadian Flycatcher 1.
||Blue Groabeak 2.
||Eastern Phoebe 4
||Indigo Bunting (C)
||Great Crested Flycatcher 4
||Painted Bunting 1.
||Eastern Kingbird (C)
||Red wing blackbird (C)
bellied Plover (C)
||Scissor tailed Flycatcher (C)
||Eastern Meadowlark (C)
Golden Plover (C)
||Loggerhead Shrike (L)
||Brewer's Blackbird (L)
||White eyed Vireo (L)
||Common Grackle (C)
||Yellow throated Vireo 1.
||Boat tailed Grackle (C)
||Blue headed Vireo 3.
||Great tailed Grackle (C)
||Warbling Vireo 2.
||Brown headed Cowbird (C)
||Red eyed Vireo (L)
||Orchard Oriole (C)
||Blue Jay (C)
||Baltimor Oriole (L)
necked Stilt (C)
||American Crow 2.
||House Sparrow (C)
||Purple Martin (C)
||Rough winged Swallow (C)
||Bank Swallow (L)
||Cliff Swallow 2.
||Cave Swallow (L)
||Barn Swallow (C)
||Carolina Chickadee (L)
||Red breasted Nuthatch 5.