Late Saturday morning we spent an hour in the park around the San Jacinto Monument.
To be honest, the park isn't one of my favorite birding sites: Although it can host some good birds, the latter are usually too far away for comfortable viewing and photographing. So why did we visit? We were on our way to have lunch at the nearby Monument Inn, and I thought the park might have one of the bird species that has eluded me so far this year: Black-crowned Night-Heron.
We started our visit with a quick walk along the boardwalk, which yielded only very distant views of a few common wading birds, such as Great Egret and Great Blue Heron.
When we drove to the two areas that give views over the bay, we had better luck, although most of the birds were still so distant that photographing them was a challenge.
Several Cattle Egrets in breeding plumage were wandering about on the grass.
A couple of American White Pelicans were cruising the waters while others had settled on islands.
One of two Brown Pelicans was much closer to the shore.
I was delighted to spot two Black-crowned Night-Herons as they flew off when I approached the water. Although I didn't manage to get a photo of them, I did manage to get some shots of seven Wood Storks perched in nearby trees. What extraordinary looking birds they are!
A Tricolored Heron was too intent on fishing to notice our presence.
The size of the prey it caught hardly seemed to justify the effort involved.
A Great Egret was rather more successful.
Further out, Neotropic Cormorants were lined up. These ones were in the company of a Snowy Egret.
A handful of Roseate Spoonbills were grazing in the water.
Other birds, such as a Brown Pelican and a Great Blue Heron, were perched on rocks or pieces of debris that protruded from the water.
So while the park didn't provide great birding, we saw enough to make an hour's visit worthwhile.