Texas Spring Migration 2012
April 15 - Anahuac Nat'l Wildlife Refuge
April 15 - Anahuac NWR
April 16 - High Island
April 17 - Bolivar Peninsula
April 18 - Big Thicket
April 19 - High Island
April 20 - Austin
Bird List

Tropical Birding Guide Scott Watson picked Mary Kay Teel, Nancy and I up at our hotel after grabbing Philip Martin at the Houston Int'l Airport. We trundled down the freeways around Houston and eventually east on I-10 towards beautiful downtown Winnie, Texas. From there we headed down Texas 124 to Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge. After some car birding around the Refuge, we joined a Yellow Rail drag. There are only a very few of these a year, to minimize the impact on the birds. But it works like this.

Two guides hold the ends of a 50 foot long rope. At five foot intervals on the rope there are plastic milk jugs with a few pebbles in them. The rope is dragged through the grasses in hopes of spooking up a Yellow Rail. Because Rails can move through the grasses at amazing speeds, this is done at a very fast walk. Birders trail the rope by a few feet, watching for the movement of the Rail. When one turns up, you surround the bird with birders. They can fly away, of course. But they don't right away.

Dragging for Rails

Skulking Yellow Rail
We had nice views of Yellow Rail and a Sora. The mythical Black Rail in the area – not seen in the last year or more – did not deign to appear. We picked up a lot of other very nice birds before and after dragging for Rails.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Northern Mockingbird

American Avocet

Belted Kingfisher
After a bit more birding in failing light, we drove back to the La Quinta Inn in Winnie to clean up a bit, and then had supper at All-T's seafood and Steakhouse.