We decided to end the year with a 2-day trip to the coast. We started at Anahuac NWR, where birds were comparatively scarce.
A male Vermilion Flycatcher was a welcome sight but the bird refused to come within camera range. We were luckier with an Osprey that posed on a sign at the start of the Shoveler Pond loop.
There were also quite a few Black-bellied Whistling Ducks and Pied-billed Grebes.
Most of the ducks we saw were Northern Shovelers, like this female.
The others were Blue-winged Teal.
Herons and Egrets were few and kept their distance, except for one Snowy Egret that was near the road.
We saw only a couple of White Ibis.
As we were leaving, I noticed a White-tailed Kite hovering behind the butterfly garden. When I reached the area, the bird was perched but it soon flew off.
The road down to Rollover Pass on Bolivar was lined with American Kestrels and Red-tailed Hawks: We counted over 30 Kestrels and 19 Red-tails.
The water was very high at Rollover and so most of the birds were on sandbanks too distant for photos. There were plenty of birds present, though: Both Pelicans, many Gulls, hundreds of Black Skimmers and American Avocets, several species of Terns and Plovers, a dozen Long-billed Curlews, Marbled Godwits, scores of Willets, Ruddy Turnstones, etc.
I had to content myself with photographing the few birds that were on the beach.
American Avocets are always worth a look and a photo.
Willets are much plainer but I can never resist them.
I ignored the many Laughing Gulls but took a quick shot of a Ring-billed Gull.
A Black-bellied Plover looked rather drab in its non-breeding plumage.
Several smaller Plovers were scuttling around on the beach and I managed to get pictures of a Semipalmated Plover and a Piping Plover.
After that, it was time to head to Galveston for a late lunch at Mario's on the Seawall.
As usual, the ferry ride provided lots of opportunities to photograph Laughing Gulls as they followed the boat.
By the time we finished eating, it was to late for photography and so we headed for our motel. My plan was to get up early the next day to go out and look for Sandhill Cranes. As it turned out, there were plenty of Sandhills around, as well as plenty of other interesting birds.