The Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail - Upper Texas Coast
I tried to time my arrival late enough so that it wouldn't be just me, the birds, and the derelicts, but early enough that I could still see some birds. I arrived around 8am, which seemed to be just about perfect. This was confirmed by a jogger who stopped to talk to me. She wanted to know if I was looking for the bald eagles that had recently been sighted and tried to steer me in the direction they might be found. She made it clear that I was not safe here before daylight. "Make sure there are joggers around."
I'm not sure if she was exaggerating, but this is an urban park in the United States' 4th largest city. It's probably wise to err on the safe side.
|Sam Houston statue. He's pointing toward Hermann Park.|
I didn't find the bald eagles or the hawks she said were often to be found in the Japanese Garden. I did find plenty of other birds, though.
I either saw several blue jays, or this one was stalking me. Do you ever find yourself wondering if birds watch people as intently as people watch birds?
This is the first ring-necked duck I've ever seen. He's wintering on the lake within the park. The ring around his neck is not evident in this photo, but that unique bill helped identify him.
There are two different cormorants to be found on the Gulf Coast, so it took a closeup of his face to confirm he is a Double-Crested Cormorant. You can also tell by the slight crook of the neck if seen in flight.
I saw some sparrows bathing in a puddle and headed over to a bench, planning to sit quietly and watch. A pair of mountain bikers stopped and began conversing quite loudly, chasing them off before I could identify them. Would it have been rude to ask, "Are you going to ride or chit-chat?" I stayed a few minutes, hoping they'd move on soon. They didn't.
The park was becoming more and more crowded with people as the morning went on. I decided it was probably a good time to head over to the Houston Zoo, which is within the park. They have some amazing birds to see any time of day. There's an aviary where birds (more than 200 according to my map/guide) fly freely within the enclosure, as well as the usual cages. I don't think I'm supposed to include them in my diary, though. It doesn't really count if they're captive.
Birds seen this visit: Mallard, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Blue Jay, Mourning Dove, Ring-necked Duck, Rock Pigeon, American Coot, Double-crested Cormorant, Snowy Egret, Grackle, domestic geese, domestic ducks.
This is a large, multi-use, city park with jogging, walking, and biking trails, picnic areas, grills, playgrounds, and restrooms. There is also a train, a zoo, a theater with free performances during the summer, and a golf course. The Houston Museum of Natural Science, IMAX theater, planetarium, and butterfly center are across the street. One could easily spend an entire weekend here.
The park and zoo are wheelchair accessible.
I'm linking up with Wild Bird Wednesday. Visit to see more birds or link up photos of your own.