Nutmeg Mannikin in our yard
A little further afield, Dee and I made several very enjoyable birding trips to other Upper Texas Coast wildlife sites. Of these, the most exciting by far was a weekend in the Anahuac/High Island area in early May, during spring migration.
The rookery at High Island in May
The birding highlight of the late summer was supposed to be several days at Surfside with my daughter, her partner and our first grandchild. Although Hurricane Ike intervened to cut short the trip, we still got to do some good birdwatching at Brazoria, Surfside and Bolivar. (Unfortunately, several of our favorite birding sites were devastated by Ike and will take a very long time to recover.)
Black-bellied Plover on Surfside beach
Several business and family-related trips outside Texas were less productive for birds. A few days in London and Cambridge in March turned up plenty of birds but later trips to Mexico City and New Orleans were largely bird-free.
Tufted Duck in London
A day spent in the Denver area during the summer was also disappointing for birds, although the scenery certainly made the day worthwhile.
Swainson's Hawk in Denver
Roxborough Park near Denver
The highlight of the year was definitely our December trip to Marathon and Big Bend National Park. Birding was excellent at both places and the park scenery was absolutely breathtaking.
Chisos Basin in Big Bend
Canyon Towhee in Big Bend
My US species total for the year was 245, much higher than I managed in any previous year. I also added a dozen species to my US/Canada life list, which now stands at 421.Other Sightings
The year was good for other wildlife, too. Among the animals we saw were numerous alligators, javelinas and deer, plus armadillo, possum and coyote.
Alligator at Brazos Bend State Park
Coyote at Brazoria NWR