Our weekend away started with a picnic lunch with friends at El Franco Lee Park. It was almost noon when we got there and so the site was understandably quiet for birds. However, a short walk along the lake side produced an Osprey, a pair of Red-shouldered Hawks and an Eastern Screech Owl.
The highlight of the visit, though, was a close encounter with a possum. He trotted near the car for a while.
Then - probably to avoid me and my camera - he popped into the water and swam away.
When we arrived in Galveston, our motel room wasn't ready, so we bought lattes and drank them sitting on the rocks below the seawall. We were entertained by watching a Common and a Forster's Tern (both new year birds for me) fishing nearby.
I was up at dawn to explore - in thick fog - the area along Stewart Road.
Lafitte's Cove is recovering well from Ike and had my first spring warbler of 2010, a Black-and-White Warbler.
Settegast Road was empty of birds except for three male Boat-tailed Grackles perched on a wire and singing to attract females. The largest bird, on the right in the photos below, kept singing out while edging up to the others and pushing them further along the wire.
Then they would try to assert themselves by displaying their feathers and singing out, too.
As always, Sportsmen's Road had a range of birds. I watched a Laughing Gull sitting on a post and making the occasional squawk. It didn't seem to me to be a very productive way of passing the morning - until I realized he was calling in his partner. They made a cute couple.
The jetty had a solitary Ruddy Turnstone.
The water by the edge of the road had a handful of Yellowlegs and Willets.
More interesting were a Belted Kingfisher and some larger waders, including several White Ibis.
I don't know anywhere better for getting close-up views of Tricolored and Great Blue Herons ...
as well as Reddish and Snowy Egrets.
A Herring Gull made a nice change from the scores of Laughing Gulls.
By now it was time to pick up Dee from the motel and to take the ferry to the Bolivar Peninsula.