Sunday, May 13, 2012

Proper Texas Bird Greeting

I know.  I'm lolly-gagging around again.    When we left off, we had visited Lake Martin near Lafayette, Louisiana, and were headed off toward the spring birding destination of High Island, Texas, located on the upper Texas coast, between Galveston and Beaumont.  It's just a tiny community set on a salt dome which provides the only treed area for miles around.   Thus, migrating birds are drawn to it like a magnet as they complete the trans-gulf flight.   The marshland and flats surrounding it are also magnets for wading birds, shorebirds and raptors.   In other words, the whole area is a birder's version of heaven in the springtime!! 

Stiff southerly winds buffeted us around quite handily as we headed southwest toward High Island.  The winds had picked up on Saturday and continued all night and through the day on Sunday to our arrival.  We pulled into the little campground, spotting a scissor-tailed flycatcher like this before even getting started with setup.  
Scissor-tailed flycatcher
Once the bare minimum setup was accomplished, Birdlady and I bolted to see the birds.  Due to the strong southerly winds for many hours, a timely high tide and significant rain prior to our arrival, the flats behind the park were mostly standing pools of water.   

There were so many birds that we didn't know which way to look first!!   There were birds in every direction and flying overhead.  It was magical.   More than once we each commented that we were behaving like little kids in a candy store.
Reddish Egret fishing 

Clapper Rail
As we continued down the road beside the campground, the water kept creeping further and further into the road.  By the time we reached the Inter-coastal Waterway and headed back, it was across the road in some places.  Most of these flats held water that was only a few inches deep, but it was enough to make for wonderful foraging by the birds.  We had gulls, pelicans, terns, roseate spoonbills, ibis, dowitchers, long-billed curlews, willets and so many more.    

I had seen most of these birds before but there were a few new ones, most notably the long-billed curlew.  What an extraordinary creature and he is beautiful.  The beak must be about 8 inches or more.  It is North America's largest shorebird.
Before we headed back to the RV, we had counted 46 different species of shore and water birds.  We hadn't been gone more than a couple of hours, either.  This was a glorious way to start off our week in the area.

More coming. 

Y'all take care.  


  1. I lived in Lake Charles for a number of years so I'm familiar with that area. Too bad I wasn't into birding back then!

  2. I love the photo of the redish Egret.

  3. Your pictures of the birds are amazing. Looks like you had an interesting adventure.
    Thanks so much for stopping by and your lovely sweet comments! I'm your newest follower, Mary Alice

  4. I love birding! You got some great shots. :)

  5. Fun, fun! (and I mean I am having fun reading your blog!). Happy to see the Scissortail. That is our state bird and we have a pair that have nested nearby. They are one of only 2 - 3 state birds that are migratory. That photo of the reddish egret is great.