A Spring Birding Bonanza - On April 21 I left my new home in Andrews, Texas and headed east to the upper Texas coast to spend three and a half weeks observing and chasing the spring migration.
Headquartered in the town of Winnie, I spent a week at most of the usual hot spots (Anahuac NWR, Bolivar Peninsula, Sea Rim State Park Willows, and the Texas Ornithological Society's Sabine Woods Sanctuary). I even discovered two rare birds - the Green-breasted Mango at Sabine Woods, and the Greater Pewee at the Sea Rim Willows! What a great start!
Then I drove north to Great Bend, in central Kansas, to spend a week catching up with the shorebird migration at The Nature Conservancy's Cheyenne Bottoms Reserve and Quivira NWR. This area has had a lot of rain and the pools and causeways were filled to overflowing. I'm not sure where the shorebirds were, but the were not too visible from the refuge roads. But there is always a silver lining - I saw thousands and thousands of Wilson's Phalaropes, including one flock of at least 800 that landed in a pool by the road no bigger than my living room! There are a couple of shots of this below.
While I was in Great Bend, a tornado destroyed the town of Greensburg, about 75 miles southwest by car (60 miles as the bird flys). The next night a tornado was sighted only 8 miles southeast of Great Bend. The weather system producing these horrific storms also dumped torrential rains on an already rain-soaked area, causing local flooding.
I finished the trip in southwestern Kansas in the Cimarron National Grasslands observing an amazing mixture of "eastern" and "western" birds. As I write this note in my hotel room in Elkhart, Kansas, it is May 9th, the last day of the trip. Tomorrow I head south to come full circle to Andrews, Texas again.
I hope you enjoy the photos below as much as I enjoyed taking them!
Andrews, Texas (almost)
ps: Keep scrolling down for additional pictures from an alkali lake near Andrews and a three day whirlwind trip to southern Texas chasing a few rare birds.
TOS Sabine Woods
Sea Rim State Park Willows
TNC Cheyenne Bottoms Reserve and Quivira NWR
Cimarron National Grasslands
Shafter Lake - Andrews, TX
Mittag Pond - Riviera, TX
Sabal Palms Sanctuary and Resaca Boulevard - Brownsville, TX