I did not plan it this way, but it turned out, on this trip, I did a tour-de-force of the most interesting birding places around Houston.

(Click on each image to see the high-resolution version)

My "tour" started humbly enough -- at the Seabourne Creek Nature Park in Rosenberg, and this Neotropical Cormorant obligingly posed for me.

Neotropical Cormorant

Next, I would go to St. Bernard National Wildlife Refuge.

St. Bernard National Wildlife Refuge

The wetland habitat of St. Bernard is an excellent place to see water birds.

Least Sandpiper

Least Sandpiper

Roseate Spoonbill

Double-crested Cormorant


Snowy Egret

Here, I was also reacquainted with an older friend, the Pink Evening Primrose.

Pink Evening Primrose

I drove toward the Gulf of Mexico and through all the ugly (and smelly) oil refineries, and eventually reached Freeport. I made two stops at Quintana Beach and Surfside Beach, really two slivers of beach just a stone's throw away from a vast jungle of industrial buildings. But if one can block out the distracting and disturbing elements, the beaches can look almost natural.

Quintana Beach

Surfside Beach

I did not see many birds on the beach besides a few usual suspects.



But just when I was leaving, a Loggerhead Shrike landed on a side right in front of my car and posed for me. This was a pleasant surprise.

Loggerhead Shrike

On my way back to Houston, I stopped at Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge. Light was fading in the late afternoon, but the water birds were actively foraging. I took the auto road and took most of these pictures from my car.

Wilson's Snipe


Northern Shoveler

Northern Shoveler

Northern Shoveler

Even an American Pipit popped up, at that time a new bird for me, and I happily snapped a few pictures of it.

American Pipit

The next day, I actually made another trip to Surfside Beach. At that time, I was reading Kenn Kaufmann's Kingbird Highway, a wonderful book and a cult classic among birders. At the end of the book, he talked about the A-frame buildings (where they stayed the night before their Christmas Bird Count) and the Freeport Jetty where he manned for the day. Semi-seriously, I paid a pilgrimage to this site. A few years later, I made yet another visit.

Surfside Beach

Freeport Jetty

My last outing was at Brazos Bend State Park, one of my favorite places around Houston. Here, wildlife sightings are guaranteed.

Brazos Bend

Water birds (herons, waders, ducks and geese) are the mainstay at Brazos Bend, and you can also count on getting close to them.

American Coots

Black-bellied Whistling Duck

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

Blue-winged Teal

Blue-winged Teal

An Eastern Phoebe also popped up over the wetlands, hawking insects.

Eastern Phoebe

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