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After attending my 60th High School reunion in Sarasota FL, in mid April, we took the opportunity to come home via a week stopover on the Texas coast, especially High Island and the Galveston area. High Island is a very well known site for observing migrating song birds coming north in the spring. After a long flight over the Caribbean, the slightly elevated woods around High Island represent their first stopping place. High Island seems a misnomer since it is not an island and is only a few feet higher than the surrounding land. However, the owner of the Gulfway Motel were we stayed, showed us an aerial photo of High Island during the flooding of hurricane Ike. High Island was truly an Island totally surrounded by water.
As shown in the following map, High Island has one of the densest collections of birding reserves I have ever seen.
The Houston Audubon Society has a kiosk at the Boy Scout Woods Sanctuary. Admission is $7.00, well worth it. The highlight was the rookery in Smith Oaks Sanctuary. See photos and MOVIES of the Roseate Spoonbill. The biggest surprise for us was the number of other birders – hundreds. Except at the rockery there were more birders than birds.
After we landed in Houston the thunder and lightning was so bad that the baggage was delayed for an hour. When we finally got on the road the rain was torrential, 7 inches in some areas. I have always heard that the best time to bird in High Island was after a heavy rain storm when the birds are driven to the ground. – a “fallout.” Unfortunately by the time we got to High Island it was almost dark and I did not know where to go so we missed this opportunity. Next day was clear and sunny – ideal for photos of colorful tanagers, orioles, buntings, cardinals, and others, both at High Island and around Galveston.
Visitors to this area should obtain a copy of The Great Texas Costal Birding Trail Upper Texas Coast map from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department www.tpwd.tx.us. In our experience the best sites in the Galveston area were UTC 058 Bolivar Flats, UTC 8-mile Road and Sportsman Road (late in the day) and UTC 069 Lafitte’s Cove.
This website for Texas birds is a work in progress. I hope to return to the Rio Grande area at a future date.
REMEMBER: WHEN YOU ARE ON THE INDIVIDUAL PAGES, TO SEE THE PHOTOGRAPHS ENLARGED, DOUBLE CLICK THE FIRST PHOTO AND PROGRESS BY CLICKING "NEXT."
Don't forget to visit the MOVIES section especially for the Roseate Spoonbills and Great Egrets and a beautiful singing Northern Cardinal.