At Anahuac NWR we had a picnic lunch in the old visitors center, which we had to share with some nesting Barn Swallows. One nest had five hungry youngsters in it.
Meanwhile the parents were hanging out on the road.
It was very hot by the time we started our tour of Shoveler's Pond and so it wasn't surprising that we didn't see a lot of birds. It was odd not to see a single alligator, though.
The ditch around the pond had a few Black-necked Stilts, Green Herons, Tricolored Herons and Killdeer, as well as a solitary Cattle Egret.
After the number of Clapper/King Rails, Soras and Least Bitterns that we had seen three weeks earlier, we were very disappointed to see only a solitary Rail.
Even Eastern Kingbirds were scarce this time.
As our Saturday afternoon visit was so unproductive, I decided to return to the refuge just after dawn on Sunday. It was a good decision. Even before I turned onto the entrance road, I came across a young Swainson's Hawk.
The ditch around Shovelers' Pond looked beautiful in the morning light.
On one side of the road a Yellow-crowned Night Heron stood motionless by the water.
The far bank on the other side of the road was in deep shadow, causing a Least Bittern to look rather ghostly and almost hiding a Rail that was passing behind it.
Killdeer were trotting along on and by the road.
Down in the ditch another Killdeer was taking two fledglings for a walk. The light was just good enough for me to get a recognizable photo of one of the youngsters.
Male Great-tailed Grackles were calling everywhere. Some were displaying alone, perched on fence posts or bushes.
Others were competing for the attention of females.
Down in the ditch the most common birds were Black-necked Stilts, looking very elegant as they searched the water for prey.
A second drive around the pond turned up even more birds, including a couple more Least Bitterns, one of which stretched its neck right up at the sound of my camera shutter.
I had good looks at three more Rails.
One of several Tricolored Herons was so focused on fishing that I was able to get a couple of decent photos.
My final bird was a female Orchard Oriole perched in the reeds.
On my way out of the refuge I stopped to admire a rabbit that was sitting on the road enjoying the morning sun.
Now it was time to head back to pick up Dee from the motel in Winnie so that we could start our drive along the Bolivar peninsula to Galveston.With any luck Bolivar would have some interesting shorebirds and the ferry ride over to Galveston might produce my first Magnificent Frigatebird of the year.