Thursday, April 02, 2015

Baytown and Sheldon

Sunday morning we drove down to visit the Baytown Nature Center on our first birding trip since returning from the Rio Grande Valley. I was sure we would see a reasonable selection of shorebirds and several species of large wading birds, such as herons. 

I was wrong about the shorebirds. An hour's visit turned up only two Yellowlegs and three Willets. I was wrong about the wading birds, too. We saw perhaps 80 large waders but, except for a single Tricolored Heron, they were all of just three species.

Great Egrets were everywhere - in trees, on the ground, in the ponds and in the air.

Snowy Egrets were common, too.

In several areas both egret species were hanging out together.

However, the most numerous waders were White Ibis.

Other birds were also surprisingly scarce, although we did get to admire a couple of Ospreys.

As the birding was so (comparatively) poor at Baytown, we didn't picnic there but instead headed up to Sheldon Lake. Unfortunately, perhaps because it was now early afternoon, birds were even more scarce there than they had been at Baytown.

I walked the trail past the ponds, where the only bird on the water was an American Coot.

I had slightly better luck at the final pond. It's a reliable spot for finding Yellow-crowned Night Herons and, sure enough, there were three perched by the water.

Having largely dipped on birds at Baytown and Sheldon Lake, we decided that it wasn't a good day for birding and headed back home. 

This weekend we're heading over to High Island and Galveston. It's probably too early for there to be many migrants but northerly winds forecast for Saturday may cause some birds to stop at the coast. Failing this, we should at least get to see some nesting activity in the High Island rookery and a good selection of shorebirds and terns on Bolivar.

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