Texas Spring Migration 2012
April 16 - High Island
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

Birds migrating across the Gulf of Mexico leave the staging areas on the Yucatan Peninsula at dark, and, in the case of smaller birds like Warblers, take about 12 hours to cross to the Texas Gulf coast in good weather. Which for birders means you don't have to get up at painfully early hours to get the birds. At least not the migrants.

So we hit the road around 7:30 AM, with time for another very productive pass through Anahuac NWR before visiting High Island. Turns out it's not high; only about 15 feet above sea level. It's not an island; it's at the base of the Bolivar (pronounced "buhl-i-ver") Peninsula. And it is surrounded by oil wells. And hard economic times look like they have come to High Island. But the birding in the two major woods is very good. So for the three or four weeks of spring migration, High Island is booming.

Acadian Flycatcher, Anahuac NWR

Green Heron, Anahuac NWR
The two major forested areas are Smiths Oaks and Boy Scout Woods. Smiths is larger, but had many more birders. Boy Scout counts as the only birding destination I've seen with bleacher seats. Boy Scout has a better photo blind.

Brown-headed Cowbird, Smith Oaks

Scarlet Tanager, Smith Oaks
We didn't experience one of the famous "fallouts," when weather ocnditions exhaust the birds and clouds descend for all to see. You had to work to get the birds. But there were an anstonishing number of species present.

Savannah Sparrow, Anahuac NWR

Grey Catbird, Smith Oaks

Great-tailed Grackle, Anahuac NWR

Blue-winged Warbler, Boy Scout Woods
After a bit more birding in in Anahuac in failing light, we drove back to the La Quinta Inn in Winnie to clean up a bit, and then had another supper at All-T's Seafood and Steakhouse.