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Field Guides Tour Report
Texas Coast Migration Spectacle I 2016
Apr 16, 2016 to Apr 22, 2016
John Coons

The high water from the big storm created habitat galore for many species, including this Reddish Egret and Tricolored Heron at Bolivar Flats. Photo by participant Neil McDonal.

We had a great week in the Big Thicket of East Texas and on the Upper Texas Coast. Wonderful views of breeding specialties in the Piney Woods and a few days of fantastic migration fallouts on the coast made for top-notch birding. Leaving Houston on our first morning, we were well aware of an impending large storm moving into our area later that night, so we hustled around to find a number of the area's specialties, as we did not know what the next day had in store for us weather-wise. We headed to Jones State Forest and had fine views of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, Brown-headed Nuthatches, and Pine Warblers in the pine forests. Heading east, we stopped in bottomland forest for Prothonotary and Kentucky warblers as well as Northern Parula. A great Swainson's Warbler was followed by Hooded, Yellow-throated and Prairie warblers, as well as Mississippi Kites, Red-headed and Pileated woodpeckers, and Painted Bunting. That evening, we kept an eye on the weather radar and hoped for clear skies (for at least a bit) in the morning. Our plan to drive north to look for Bachman's Sparrow was quashed when I saw that Jasper, Texas (an area near our destination) had already received 8 inches of rain by 5 a.m.; the creeks were rising and there was flooding in Houston. We decided to head towards the coast, where there was less rain, and this turned out to be a wise move.

We got to High Island just as the skies cleared and big numbers of birds started arriving from the south. Summer and Scarlet tanagers and Baltimore Orioles were all over the place. I knew it was going to be good when one of the first warblers we saw was a Bay-breasted. We saw Ovenbirds, and Blue-winged, Worm-eating, Blackburnian, Chestnut-sided, and Black-throated Green warblers, among many others. It was actually tiring, as we had to raise our binoculars hundreds of times! Over the next few days, we had more rain at opportune times, which resulted in smaller fallouts that brought in additional species, including our first Cerulean Warbler, Black-billed Cuckoo, and lots of thrushes; we had great views of Veery, Gray-cheeked, Swainson's, and Wood thrushes, as well as an out-of-place American Robin.

We also saw a lot of birds away from the woods. The heavy rain had turned all of the fields into shorebird habitat, and there was so much of it that there were no concentrations of birds. We still did well, and between the flooded fields and the coastal areas, we had nice views of Snowy, Wilson's, and Piping plovers, American Oystercatchers, Upland Sandpipers, lots of Whimbrels, Hudsonian and Marbled godwits, breeding-plumaged Red Knots, good comparisons of Long-billed and Short-billed dowitchers, many Dunlin, Wilson's Phalaropes, and nine species of terns.

In the marshes at Anahuac and along the Bolivar Peninsula, we saw Black-bellied and Fulvous whistling-ducks, many Purple Gallinules, and all of the possible herons, including multiple Least Bitterns, American Bittern, and both white and dark morph Reddish Egrets. King and Clapper rails showed very well, allowing us to see their subtle differences, and Sedge and Marsh wrens and Nelson's and Seaside sparrows appeared for fine views.

A visit to the rookery at High Island gave us close views of nesting Great and Snowy egrets with all their plumes on full display and bright colors on their legs and bills. Roseate Spoonbills were equally decked out in bright pink with orange tails.

We also got to experience the friendly culture of the Texas Coast, where Becky and Pam took good care of us. The whole week was a lot of fun, and seeing so many great birds with all of you was a great time. I only wish I hadn't eaten so much! I hope to see all of you again in the future.

-- John

One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis) – A good number of these unusual waterfowl were seen at a few locations.
FULVOUS WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna bicolor) – Outnumbered by the above species, we saw a few at Anahuac and another site or two.
WOOD DUCK (Aix sponsa) – There was a quick fly-by at Jones State Forest and we heard one at Lake Charlotte on our last morning.
MOTTLED DUCK (Anas fulvigula) – A quite shy species, we only had brief looks at them on the water before they flushed.
BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Anas discors) – This was the most common puddle duck we encountered.
NORTHERN SHOVELER (Anas clypeata) – We saw a single individual in a rice field.
RING-NECKED DUCK (Aythya collaris) – We saw a single female on the pond at Anahuac.
RED-BREASTED MERGANSER (Mergus serrator) – We saw two or three individuals still hanging around from the winter in Galveston Bay.
Odontophoridae (New World Quail)
NORTHERN BOBWHITE (Colinus virginianus) – A distant bird was heard at Anahuac where they have been very scarce since Hurricane Ike. [*]
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
PIED-BILLED GREBE (Podilymbus podiceps)
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus)
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax auritus)
Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) – A few were seen on one of the dredge islands in Galveston Bay.
BROWN PELICAN (Pelecanus occidentalis)
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
AMERICAN BITTERN (Botaurus lentiginosus) – At Anahuac, we saw about three individuals in the marshes and coastal prairies.
LEAST BITTERN (Ixobrychus exilis) – We saw seven different birds on our day at Anahuac. Always great to see this inconspicuous species.
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias)
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba) – Some of those at the rookery were in very fine plumage and showed the bright green lores they only have for a few days during the breeding season. A few nests already had chicks and we saw others tending to the blue eggs.
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula) – Many were seen well at nests at the rookery at Smith Woods including some with very bright red lores and orange feet.
LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea)
TRICOLORED HERON (Egretta tricolor)
REDDISH EGRET (Egretta rufescens) – We saw both a white morph and a reddish morph individual as they fished in the shallows of the Gulf and Galveston Bay.
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)
GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens)
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)
YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nyctanassa violacea) – We had a close view of one at Tyrrell Park near Beaumont.

Roseate Spoonbills are always a highlight for birders, and seeing them up close at the nesting colony is always a treat. Photo by participant Neil McDonal.

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
WHITE IBIS (Eudocimus albus)
WHITE-FACED IBIS (Plegadis chihi)
ROSEATE SPOONBILL (Platalea ajaja) – It was so great to see this colorful species so well at the Smith Woods rookery. The colors on the head and plumage get very intense at this time of year.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus) – A daily sighting, these birds were not seen on the Bolivar Peninsula before Hurricane Ike.
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
MISSISSIPPI KITE (Ictinia mississippiensis) – We saw two birds in the Big Thicket area on our first afternoon.
NORTHERN HARRIER (Circus cyaneus)
RED-SHOULDERED HAWK (Buteo lineatus)
SWAINSON'S HAWK (Buteo swainsoni) – A handful were seen soaring and perched in the open country near Anahuac NWR.
RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis)
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
BLACK RAIL (Laterallus jamaicensis) – One was heard calling at Anahuac NWR but once we got out of the van we could not hear it again. [*]
KING RAIL (Rallus elegans) – We enjoyed great views of about three different birds in the marshes at Anahuac.
CLAPPER RAIL (GULF COAST) (Rallus crepitans saturatus) – We ended up seeing a couple and got to contrast them with the King Rails.
VIRGINIA RAIL (Rallus limicola) – One made a short flight in the marsh at Anahuac but I may have been the only one to see it.
SORA (Porzana carolina) – We came across a couple of these at Anahuac before hearing a few more.
PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinicus) – We saw more than the usual number at Anahuac.
COMMON GALLINULE (Gallinula galeata)
AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana)
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus)
AMERICAN AVOCET (Recurvirostra americana) – There was a large flock on the beach at Bolivar Flats.
Haematopodidae (Oystercatchers)
AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus palliatus) – A quite handsome species and a favorite of all we saw a couple of pairs on the Peninsula.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola) – Good numbers were seen in all stages of dress.
SNOWY PLOVER (Charadrius nivosus) – After a bit of looking we found two birds among the numerous shorebirds at Bolivar Flats.
WILSON'S PLOVER (Charadrius wilsonia) – Another sandy beach specialist, we saw a few during out travels.
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER (Charadrius semipalmatus) – Lots of these were in the flooded fields.
PIPING PLOVER (Charadrius melodus) – A threatened species throughout its range we saw a handful at Bolivar Flats.
KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus)
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius)
SOLITARY SANDPIPER (Tringa solitaria) – Our only one was at Anahuac.
GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca)
WILLET (Tringa semipalmata) – Many, many were seen and heard.
LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes)
UPLAND SANDPIPER (Bartramia longicauda) – Karen spotted our first one in the rain along the roadside near Nome, then we saw about 10 on our last morning in the rice fields.
WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus) – This large shorebird gave us many good views including a couple of fields with 100+ individuals.
HUDSONIAN GODWIT (Limosa haemastica) – We were able to spot three individuals on our last morning on the way to the airport. This is one of the most sought after shorebirds on the Texas Coast. It is a real beauty.
MARBLED GODWIT (Limosa fedoa) – Our first at Rollover Pass showed well. These are rarely seen in the muddy rice fields, preferring to feed along the coast.
RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres) – A quite sharply marked shorebird we had to drive around some on the beach.

It's one of the best-looking woodpeckers on the planet, and this Red-headed Woodpecker showed well right next to the road in the Big Thicket. Photo by participant Neil McDonal.

RED KNOT (Calidris canutus) – There were two gorgeous breeding plumaged individuals on the beach at High Island. This is one of the shorebirds that passes through in the fewest numbers this time of year.
STILT SANDPIPER (Calidris himantopus) – About 15 birds were found in a rice field on our first full day on the Coast.
SANDERLING (Calidris alba) – Nearly all of the many hundreds that we saw were still in winter plumage/
DUNLIN (Calidris alpina)
LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla)
PECTORAL SANDPIPER (Calidris melanotos) – We also found our first ones on the last morning as we headed to the airport.
SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER (Calidris pusilla) – Surprisingly, we only saw a few.
WESTERN SANDPIPER (Calidris mauri)
SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus griseus) – We saw and heard good numbers in the flooded fields and got to compare them with the following species.
LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus scolopaceus) – We saw the majority along the coast.
WILSON'S PHALAROPE (Phalaropus tricolor) – A couple of brightly plumaged females were in a rice field north of High Island.
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
LAUGHING GULL (Leucophaeus atricilla)
RING-BILLED GULL (Larus delawarensis)
HERRING GULL (AMERICAN) (Larus argentatus smithsonianus)
LEAST TERN (Sternula antillarum) – There were good numbers of these tiny terns on the beach at Bolivar Flats and a few places on the Bay side of the Peninsula.
GULL-BILLED TERN (Gelochelidon nilotica) – Our only individual was in the rice fields as we drove to High Island on our second day. This species tends to be seen more over fresh water or brackish water than right on the coast.
CASPIAN TERN (Hydroprogne caspia)
BLACK TERN (Chlidonias niger) – We saw a surprising number of these handsome terns. I think all were in mottled plumage and not their full black garb.
COMMON TERN (Sterna hirundo)
FORSTER'S TERN (Sterna forsteri)
ROYAL TERN (Thalasseus maximus) – In the big flocks of gulls and terns, these were the most numerous.
SANDWICH TERN (Thalasseus sandvicensis) – One of my favorites when seen well.
BLACK SKIMMER (Rynchops niger) – We saw about 80 of these unusual birds on our first visit to Rollover Pass, then we found at least 400 at the same place the following morning.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto) [I]
INCA DOVE (Columbina inca) – A few were seen or heard around High Island on most days.
WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica) – We finality saw two on our last day at High Island. These did not formerly occur this far northeast in Texas.
MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura)
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO (Coccyzus americanus) – In our days in the High Island woods we saw about 1-2 on each visit.
BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO (Coccyzus erythropthalmus) – The much less common of the two similar cuckoos, we had one perched along the edge of the trail for the first few folks that got there. It flew off and we could not locate it again.
Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)
BARN OWL (Tyto alba) – We had pretty good scope views of one peeking out of a nest box on the Bolivar Peninsula.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
COMMON NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles minor) – We saw far more than normal perched and flying about during the day, especially at Anahuac NWR.
CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW (Antrostomus carolinensis) – We were fortunate to arrive at High Island and be shown this odd species which was perched on an open limb in the back yard of a house.
Apodidae (Swifts)
CHIMNEY SWIFT (Chaetura pelagica)
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus colubris) – We saw these daily, at least flashing by.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon) – A favorite of all we saw a few here and there.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) – One of the best woodpeckers of the world, we saw one in Jones State Forest on our first morning, then later in the day in the Big Thicket.
RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes carolinus)
YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER (Sphyrapicus varius) – Our best views were of two birds at Sabine Woods.
DOWNY WOODPECKER (Picoides pubescens)
RED-COCKADED WOODPECKER (Picoides borealis) – We had great looks at a couple of individuals at Jones State Forest on our first morning. One of the rarest birds in the US in terms of total numbers it was great to see it so well. Yip! Yip! Yip!
PILEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus pileatus) – In the Big Thicket we had a cooperative individual make a few passes over us. This was within one mile of the last confirmed specimen of Ivory-billed Woodpecker for the state of Texas.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara cheriway) – A couple of individuals were seen on the Bolivar Peninsula. This is just about as far northeast in Texas as these birds regularly occur.
AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius)
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus) – Neil spotted an adult in a field that seemed to be feeding on something, but it was too far to identify the prey.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus virens) – We saw or heard these conspicuous flycatchers each day.
ACADIAN FLYCATCHER (Empidonax virescens)
EASTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus tyrannus)
SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Tyrannus forficatus) – Always a favorite, we saw a fair number on fence wires in the open country.
Laniidae (Shrikes)
LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE (Lanius ludovicianus) – A good number of individuals were seen amongst the rice fields. It was encouraging to see so many of them.

Live oaks and other deciduous trees are a magnet for migrants once they cross the Gulf of Mexico or proceed along the Texas Coast, and each afternoon found us in one of the traps to see the latest arrivals. Photo by participant Neil McDonal.

Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
WHITE-EYED VIREO (Vireo griseus) – Many more were heard than seen as they call from dense cover.
YELLOW-THROATED VIREO (Vireo flavifrons) – Our first was along Turkey Creek in the Big Thicket but we saw a handful as migrants on the Coast.
BLUE-HEADED VIREO (Vireo solitarius)
RED-EYED VIREO (Vireo olivaceus) – Good numbers were seen as migrants on the Coast after we heard a few on their breeding ground in the Big Thicket.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
BLUE JAY (Cyanocitta cristata) – I think this is the prettiest of the jays.
AMERICAN CROW (Corvus brachyrhynchos)
FISH CROW (Corvus ossifragus) – Our only one was when we were waiting at the railroad crossing near the refinery in Port Arthur. We got rained out of seeing it in other likely places.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
PURPLE MARTIN (Progne subis) – We saw a few nesting colonies in towns along the route with the first ones being at lunch in Kountz.
TREE SWALLOW (Tachycineta bicolor) – Some big numbers were seen moving over the rice fields and at Anahuac.
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) – Those at the hotel may have been on their second clutch of eggs.
CLIFF SWALLOW (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) – Many were seen under bridges we crossed through the trip.
Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)
CAROLINA CHICKADEE (Poecile carolinensis)
TUFTED TITMOUSE (Baeolophus bicolor)
Sittidae (Nuthatches)
BROWN-HEADED NUTHATCH (Sitta pusilla) – A great little specialty of East Texas, we had scope views on our first morning in the field at Jones State Forest.
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
SEDGE WREN (Cistothorus platensis) – We had a great view of this tiny skulker right along the roadside on our way to Anahuac.
MARSH WREN (Cistothorus palustris) – A quite cooperative individual popped up well for us at Anahuac.
CAROLINA WREN (Thryothorus ludovicianus)
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER (Polioptila caerulea)
Regulidae (Kinglets)
RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET (Regulus calendula) – A late wintering bird was still hanging around the woods at High Island.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
VEERY (Catharus fuscescens) – We had great looks at a few birds on our thrush day at High Island. Particularly good was the one that was hanging on to the base of the large oak.
GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH (Catharus minimus) – Based on recent years, we saw a surprising number of these northern breeders.
SWAINSON'S THRUSH (Catharus ustulatus) – Several were seen during the week.
WOOD THRUSH (Hylocichla mustelina) – A great songster and a real beauty.
AMERICAN ROBIN (Turdus migratorius) – Perhaps the rarest of the thrushes we saw on the Coast. Most would have headed north long ago.
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
GRAY CATBIRD (Dumetella carolinensis) – Lots.
BROWN THRASHER (Toxostoma rufum) – A few.
NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus polyglottos) – Also lots.
Sturnidae (Starlings)
EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) [I]
Bombycillidae (Waxwings)
CEDAR WAXWING (Bombycilla cedrorum) – There were big flocks around the woods at High Island and at Jones State Forest on our first morning.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
OVENBIRD (Seiurus aurocapilla) – We had great looks at this skulker on a few occasions.
WORM-EATING WARBLER (Helmitheros vermivorum) – We chased one around a bit before getting better views the next day.
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis) – Several were encountered during the week.
BLUE-WINGED WARBLER (Vermivora cyanoptera) – A handful were seen on our first afternoon with the Fallout, then a few more later in the week.
BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER (Mniotilta varia) – These were always available for viewing.
PROTHONOTARY WARBLER (Protonotaria citrea) – It was great to see this beauty on its breeding grounds and hear its song. We also saw a couple as migrants on the Coast.
SWAINSON'S WARBLER (Limnothlypis swainsonii) – Wow! We had great looks at a singing bird in the Big Thicket on our first afternoon. Always a tough one to see, it took some work but we got it well.
TENNESSEE WARBLER (Oreothlypis peregrina) – These were quite common on some days.
KENTUCKY WARBLER (Geothlypis formosa) – We saw and heard one on the breeding grounds in the Big Thicket and then saw a couple more migrants on the Coast.
COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas)
HOODED WARBLER (Setophaga citrina) – Another southern warbler we saw well on the breeding grounds and then again with several at High Island.
AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla) – Both males and female types were seen at High Island.
CERULEAN WARBLER (Setophaga cerulea) – This one took some work but we ended up getting nice looks of a male at High Island. This bird was even singing a partial song.
NORTHERN PARULA (Setophaga americana) – This was another species we saw in its native habitat in the bottomland forests of the Big Thicket.
BAY-BREASTED WARBLER (Setophaga castanea) – it was a surprise to see a male on our first day at High Island, in fact, it was one of the first birds we saw there. These are usually one of the later species to move through.
BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER (Setophaga fusca) – One of the real dazzlers in the warbler world. We saw at least three different individuals on our first day with the Fallout at High Island.
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia) – We saw a handful of these during the week.
CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER (Setophaga pensylvanica) – Another sharply marked warbler, there were a few around with the Fallout.
BLACKPOLL WARBLER (Setophaga striata) – We saw this species near the Cerulean Warbler site. This is another that usually comes through later in the spring.
PINE WARBLER (Setophaga pinus) – Rather common in the Piney Woods of East Texas we saw our first near the Red-cockaded Woodpeckers.
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER (Setophaga dominica) – This one took some searching but we ended up with great views of a pair right above us in the Big Thicket.
PRAIRIE WARBLER (Setophaga discolor) – We really had close views of one in the regenerating pines right along the side of the road. Really a beauty.

Nelson's Sparrow is a wintering bird along the upper Texas Coast, but there are usually a few still lingering into mid-late April, as was this one on the Bolivar Peninsula. Photo by participant Neil McDonal.

BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER (Setophaga virens) – Another species that showed well for a couple of days at High Island.
YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT (Icteria virens) – We heard a few but never had a close enough one to see. [*]
Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
NELSON'S SPARROW (Ammodramus nelsoni) – After a bit of looking we had wonderful views of 2-3 lingering winter birds in a marsh on the Bolivar Peninsula.
SEASIDE SPARROW (Ammodramus maritimus) – At Anahuac NWR we saw a few perched atop the reeds in the coastal prairie. Another specialty of the area.
WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW (Zonotrichia leucophrys) – A very late wintering birds was seen along the trail at Anahuac.
WHITE-THROATED SPARROW (Zonotrichia albicollis)
SAVANNAH SPARROW (Passerculus sandwichensis) – These were quite common along the road edges at Anahuac.
SWAMP SPARROW (Melospiza georgiana)
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra) – We had a lot of these on our Fallout day and then several more the rest of the week. These can really light up the forest with their bright colors.
SCARLET TANAGER (Piranga olivacea) – Great views of many, many birds at High Island. This was a direct result of the big rains we got during the night and morning.
NORTHERN CARDINAL (Cardinalis cardinalis) – It's even on the water tower in High Island.
ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus ludovicianus) – These were really working on the mulberry trees at High Island.
BLUE GROSBEAK (Passerina caerulea)
INDIGO BUNTING (Passerina cyanea) – We saw a fair number here and there.
PAINTED BUNTING (Passerina ciris) – Our first was a stunning male right next to the road in the Big Thicket, then we had a couple more including some greenish plumaged females.
DICKCISSEL (Spiza americana) – One of the later arrivals on the Coast each spring, we had a very nice view of a singing individual near Anahuac.
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus)
EASTERN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella magna)
COMMON GRACKLE (Quiscalus quiscula)
BOAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus major) – These were common in the coastal prairies and marshes surrounding High Island and especially at Anahuac.
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus)
ORCHARD ORIOLE (Icterus spurius) – A good number dropped in as migrants at High Island and we saw several at Anahuac where some will stay to breed.
BALTIMORE ORIOLE (Icterus galbula) – Another brilliant bird we saw a lot at High Island with some even dropping in during the afternoon.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

EASTERN COTTONTAIL (Sylvilagus floridanus)
SWAMP RABBIT (Sylvilagus aquaticus) – These were the larger rabbits that were in the woods at High island.
EASTERN GRAY SQUIRREL (Sciurus carolinensis)
INDIAN ELEPHANT (Elephas maximus) – As we drove by a yard in Cut and Shoot, Texas, some of us saw this large beast standing behind a shed where it has been here for many years.


Totals for the tour: 191 bird taxa and 4 mammal taxa