More Glorious Springtime Birding Adventures on the Texas Gulf Coast

Snowy Egret in breeding colors at Smith Oaks Rookery, High Island, Texas
Snowy Egret in High Breeding Color at Smith Oaks Rookery, High Island, Texas. All images Canon EOS 7D/600mm f/4L IS (+1.4x TC).

Over the past week we’ve been visiting our favorite springtime haunts and hotspots. The Smith Oaks Rookery on High Island was an explosion of color dominated by Snowy Egrets (some in breeding, some in high breeding colors), Great Egrets, Roseate Spoonbills and Neotropic Cormorants. At Lafitte’s Cove the Hooded Warbler invasion continued, accompanied by a new invasion of Orchard Orioles and Indigo Buntings. Tennessee Warblers and White-eyed Vireos were common, too.

First spring male Indigo Bunting on Bottlebrush at Lafitte's Cove, Galveston Island, Texas
First Spring Male Indigo Bunting on Bottlebrush (Callistemon sp.) at Lafitte’s Cove, Galveston Island, Texas. Bottlebrush is native to Australia and is used as an ornamental in many places around the world. Stamens constitute the bulk of the visible part of flowers, which are highly attractive to insects and birds alike. Visiting birds usually come away dusted with pollen like this fellow. Indigo Buntings winter from Panama to South Texas and summer in the eastern U.S.

Lafitte’s Cove is wonderful because in one small preserve one can explore oak motte, marsh, and prairie habitat. The motte, of course, is famous for migrating songbirds, but the marshes and ponds, too, are almost always productive during migrations. This time, at the pond south of the trail we saw Solitary Sandpipers and Long-billed Dowitchers, both firsts for us at this locale. Explorations continuing . . . .

Long-billed Dowitcher at Lafitte's Cove, Galveston Island, Texas
Long-billed Dowitcher at the south pond, Lafitte’s Cove, Galveston Island, Texas. This bird is fattening up for a trip to the High Arctic.

For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it.—Jean-Paul Sartre

©2014 Christopher R. Cunningham. All rights reserved. No text or images may be duplicated or distributed without permission.