Sunday, May 12, 2013

High Island Birding

Black-throated Green Warbler
Our Texas trip was fabulous!! We got 50 lifers!! I've decided to do a post per area we were down there so this post will be on High Island, Texas Monday and Tuesday. (April 22,23 I know I'm so slow at doing this blog!!)

Summer Tanager

Monday afternoon we got into Houston, got a rental car, and we headed out to High Island and made our way to Smith Oaks Sanctuary. At the parking area there was a crowd of people searching the tree branches for birds. We later found out the group of trees by the parking area is a bird favorite. Right away we spotted a Black-throated Green Warbler. That was our first lifer! Those were abundant at the parking lot!

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

We also spotted our next lifer; Scarlet Tanager, in the trees. There was also Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Orioles, Summer Tanager, Indigo Bunting, Red-eyed Vireo and Eastern Kingbird. Just to name a few.

Next we headed for the trail. Having never been there we were impressed by the platforms at the Heron nesting island. Very nice for photographers.

Neotropic Cormorants playing with a stick.

Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron
We spotted a juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron right away, but we didn't see any adults. There was Neotropic and Double-crested Cormorants building and laying on nest. Roseatte Spoonbills, Snowy, and Great Egrets also nesting there. Very nice photo opportunity. We even saw a few American Alligators and a Prothonotary Warbler. A few of the Great Egrets had chicks, they were so cute!! The Purple Gallinule below was also a lifer!!

Great Egret feeding chicks
Purple Gallinule

American Alligator

After we got done there we headed to the beach and saw some shorebirds. A few Sanderlings, Black-bellied Plovers, Western Sandpiper and Willets.

Ruddy Turnstone
Wilson's Plover

Sanderling Searching for Food

Willet in Flight

On Tuesday we got up extra early and head back to High Island. Our first stop was Boy Scout Woods. They have a nice setup by a water dip with bleachers. We didn't see anything right away so we had our way around the trails walked out to the marsh. We didn't really see anything except Tanagers, Buntings, and Catbirds. So we headed back to the drip and picked up a few more lifers!

We saw Yellow-billed Cuckoo and Worm-eating Warbler both of those were LIFERS! We also saw North Parula, Black-and-white Warbler, Brown Thrasher, Rudy-throated Hummingbird, White-throated Sparrow, and Northern Waterthrush at the drip.

We left the drip and went across the road to the tower, before going up we checked out what was going on on the ground. Not much but Simon found a Eastern Garter Snake.
Simon with a snake

We then when up the Tower; which is a little wobbly. >.< Once up there we sawTennessee Warbler, Yellow-billed Cuckoo and Rose-breasted Grosbeak.
Snowy Egret preening

Roseatte Spoonbill
After lunch we headed for the beach again, but this time we went down much farther. We saw a flock of about 40 Brown Pelicans and a mixture of terns. We picked up Sandwich Tern, Least Tern, Royal Tern, Forester's Tern, Caspian Tern, and Common Tern.We drove down the beach some more and spotted some Royal Terns mating!

Brown Pelicans
Reddish Egret
Royal Terns
After watching a Reddish Egret feed and doing its prance we headed back to Houston and prepared for the long drive to McAllen.

 Next blog will be about Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park in Mission, Texas!


  1. I don't know what to say but, wow! What a trip. Great photos, amazing birds.

  2. Sorry I haven't replied sooner, been so busy with photos and getting my blog post up! But Thank you it was a lot of fun up in High Island!!!