One of the highlights of our recent vacation was being able to drive along the beach for several miles eastward from Surfside. This allowed me to check out different sections of the seashore for birds - and to get much closer to birds than I could have done on foot.
The beach was beautiful in the mornings.
Flights of Brown Pelicans crossed the sky every few minutes.
Small Sandpipers were very common. I think this one is a Semipalmated.
I took a lot of pictures of American Oystercatchers!
Most of the larger Terns were Royal Terns, but there was the occasional Caspian Tern.
All along the beach Brown Pelicans were diving constantly into the sea.
Laughing Gulls outnumbered all other bird species. I wasn't going to bother photographing them but then I started watching how they ran through the surf to launch themselves into flight.
On two mornings, I drove over to Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge. This site has not yet totally recovered from the effects of Hurricane Ike in 2008 but I still always enjoy visiting it.
My early-morning arrival at the pond near the visitor center scared off a Great Egret and several Roseate Spoonbills.
Some Black-necked Stilts and Dowitchers were less skittish.
On a later visit, a Swainson's Hawk circled high above the same pond.
Elsewhere on the autoloop, several Clapper Rails were very audible but very difficult to see.
A Least Bittern flew over too fast to photograph, while this young Yellow-crowned Night Heron decided the best thing to do was to stand still as I passed.
On my way out of the refuge I spotted a Great Horned Owl.
It was my first Great Horned of the year and a good sighting with which to finish the visit to Brazoria.