Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Texas Gulf Coast Birding Trip

“Who in their right mind would go to Houston Texas in August?!” This was a question asked to me by many of my friends and coworkers. The answer, of course, is to see birds!

My family was headed to Colorado for the long Labor Day weekend, so Travis and I devised a plan for a short trip to the Gulf Coast. It’s a little early for migration in those parts but there was sure to be no shortage of interesting species and Life Birds for me.

As is my way, I spent far too much time planning a route that would maximize the number and variety of species. Varying habitat was a sure way to see more species. We selected three major “target” locations: Brazos Bend State Park, Brazoria National Wildlife Reserve, and Anahuac National Wildlife Reserve. Our route would take us out of Houston, southwest toward Brazos, then southeast to Brazoria, and then east toward Bolivar and Anahuac.

I'll skip over all of the boring travel details which included a total car rental disaster at Hobby Airport. In short, avoid Priceline and Alamo. We arrived at Brazos Bend around 8:00am after numerous stops along the way to scope some interesting birds including my first Crested Caracara: 

Brazos was great. It has a lot a varied habitat ranging from grassland to swamp. Highlights were too numerous to list but I will say that a Mississippi Kite(a Life Bird for both of us) generated a lot of excitement, as did several close encounters of the American Alligator kind. Here's the ebird Checklist.

to be continued....