Sunday, July 2, 2017

Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge: June 2017, Part II

Anahuac NWR combines two wonderful qualities: a tremendous variety of birds in a relatively small area, and outstanding visibility to those birds. As much as I love to hike, I don't mind the opportunity to just shoot from my car once in a while. Anahuac has given me that on both my visits so far.

Neotropic Cormorant, Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge
A fitting depiction of how comfortable the birds are with the presence of people -- this Neotropic Cormorant was perched comfortably atop a road sign.

Cattle Egret, Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge
The Cattle Egrets lining the western edge of the Shoveler Pond Auto-Tour Loop road were a little less accommodating.  They would tease, hanging out in large groups and then lazily flying a little farther down the road as I approached.  I was fortunate to get a clear shot of this one before it did the same.

Marsh Wren, Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge
My longest walk was all of 750 feet down the boardwalk on the loop.  It was relatively quiet until I'd almost gotten back to the car, when I heard this Marsh Wren singing.  I watched him make his way up his stalk with sporadic hops punctuated by bursts of song.

Common Tern, Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge
This isolated Common Tern was an unexpected sight, like so many birds at Anahuac just sitting on a rail along the side of the road.

Eastern Kingbird, Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge
Moving deeper into the refuge Eastern Kingbirds became a common sight on the barbed wire.

Eastern Kingbird, Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge
They appeared so frequently, I eventually gave up stopping to shoot them.  Once I had an image of each profile, I figured I was covered.

Willets, Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge
I'd seen plenty of Willets over the course of my time along the coast, but the mirror-like effect from these two passing each other was unique.

Common Nighthawk, Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge
Like my visit last year, I saw several Common Nighthawks on fence posts just south of Jackson Woodlot.  As relaxed as they seemed, they were not big fans of me getting out of my car.  So I had to content myself with shots from the roadside.  I find it interesting how much of their bodies and tails hang off the edge when they perch.

Killdeer, Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge
I apparently got pretty close to a Killdeer nest at one point, because I was treated to the entire broken-wing display.  As much as I wanted to see baby birds on my trip I didn't hunt for the nest, not wanting to stress out the adult any more than I already had.

And with that, my second trip to the Texas Gulf Coast was done.  Great weather, great wildlife, and some great photos!

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