Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Rookery at High Island

When we finally reached the rookery, we were thrilled to see there were hundreds if not thousands of birds present.

Roseate Spoonbills were the most numerous in the trees closest to the observation platforms.

One reason we love this rookery is that you are near enough to be able to watch the behavior of individual birds. We watched the antics of several individual Spoonbills for quite a while.

They look rather ungainly on their feet but they are extremely graceful in flight.

There were plenty of Great Egrets, too, both in the trees and flying around.

I'd never noticed before how the area in front of the eye turns green in mating season.

Most of the Great Egrets looked splendid in their breeding plumage.

But we both agreed that this bird easily won the most-beautiful-plumage prize.

Mixed in with the Greats were quite a few Snowy Egrets. In their case, the area in front of the eye turns red in this season. Their normally bright yellow feet turn red, too.

Given the spectacular appearance of the Egrets and Spoonbills, it was easy to overlook the presence of other, less dramatic birds. Common Moorhens paddled around on the water while Double-crested Cormorants posed on snags.

A solitary Anhinga looked quite forlorn as he perched on a branch among all the more brightly colored birds.

By now it was time for us to head for home and so we reluctantly left the rookery and walked back to the car. We both agreed that we'd had an excellent day of birding - and that we'd return to High Island in May. Next time we might not hit on a day with so many migrants but we can be sure of seeing lots of action - and lots of baby birds - at the rookery.

At this time of the year, roadsides in Texas are a mass of wildflowers. Our personal favorites are the Indian Paintbrush.


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