A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Texas Coast Migration Spectacle I 2022

April 16-22, 2022 with John Coons guiding

Field Guides Birding Tours
This image of a Yellow-throated Warbler captures this species well in the wooded stream setting of the Big Thicket. Photo by participant Stacey Essaid.

Our week of birding on the Upper Texas Coast and the Piney Woods of East Texas could not have started any better. Within minutes of arriving at Jones State Forest on our first morning we were getting great looks at three Red-cockaded Woodpeckers as they worked the pine trunks and vocalized to one another. It was also here that we found our first two warblers of the trip, a few singing Pine and a late-migrating Yellow-rumped. As we birded our way east through sections of the Big Thicket where most of the birds we saw were breeding we made a few stops in bottomland forest, pine plantations, and along wooded streams. By the end of the afternoon we had recorded ten species of warblers and a calling Red-headed Woodpecker atop a power pole at our lunch stop, which surprised us. We topped off the day with a wonderful Barred Owl that swooped in after dinner. After more birding in the Big Thicket area the next morning, where we had great looks at a Yellow-breasted Chat, we headed south to Winnie and on to High Island where we would be looking for migrants over the next several days.

In the woods at High Island and at Sabine Pass we encountered several of the warblers we had seen on the breeding grounds plus many more. Tanagers, orioles, grosbeaks, and thrushes were also showing well with a mini-fallout we experienced near the end of the week. With much of the woods birding being more active in the afternoon, we used the mornings to explore the coastal areas, marshes, and rice fields for shorebirds, gulls, terns, rail and other watery species. Anahuac NWR gave us some great marsh birding and a few songbird migrants in the small patch of trees. Our day of birding on the Bolivar Peninsula found the surf high with strong south winds which deterred us from walking on the beach at Bolivar Flats. Instead, we searched for shorebirds and the like on the bay side of the peninsula which was more protected.

Highlights of our trip were many and included great views of both King and Clapper rails, Piping, Wilson's, and Snowy plovers in the same binocular view at Rollover Pass, Upland Sandpipers next to the road, hundreds of Whimbrels, Hudsonian Godwits, Buff-breasted Sandpipers, breeding plumaged Black Terns, a large flock of Black Skimmers, nice looks at Least Bittern, and our white morph Reddish Egret. Additional highlights were Sedge and Marsh wrens, a colorful Nelson's Sparrow, finally nailing a Worm-eating Warbler, two male Golden-winged Warblers, great views of singing Swainson's Warbler, a few Kentucky Warblers showing well, our stunning Blue Grosbeak, and, of course, Painted Buntings.

Special mention should be made to the birds at the rookery at Smith Woods at High Island where Great, Snowy, and Cattle egrets, Tricolored Heron, Neotropic Cormorant, and magnificent Roseate Spoonbills were all in fine colors and plumes while tending to their chicks or nests. We also saw Texas's signature mammal, the armadillo, a couple of times, where they have been quite difficult to see in recent years after hurricane flooding.

The large numbers of birds we saw may only have been matched by the large portions at most restaurants. Our trip was a great time and I look forward to the next time we get together.


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)

We saw a handful of these uniquely colored ducks at Anahuac and another spot or two.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The rookery at Smith Oaks at High Island is a great place to sit and watch the nesting show in front of you. This pair of Roseate Spoonbills appears to be ready to start incubating as soon as an egg comes along. Photo by participant Dika Golovatchoff.

FULVOUS WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna bicolor)

There were more of these than usual at Anahuac NWR.

WOOD DUCK (Aix sponsa)

A single individual flew through the woods at Jones State Forest on our first morning.

BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Spatula discors)

This was the most common duck we encountered during the week.

MOTTLED DUCK (Anas fulvigula)

We had nice looks at a pair at the marsh near Beaumont.


A common wintering bird in the area, this species leaves early in the spring but we found a group in Galveston Bay that was still hanging around.

Podicipedidae (Grebes)

PIED-BILLED GREBE (Podilymbus podiceps)

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]

EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto) [I]

INCA DOVE (Columbina inca)

This is a species that recently moved up the coast and is often seen around High Island so it was very unusual to see a pair of these building a nest in a pine tree in the Big Thicket.

WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica)

We saw a handful in the area around Sabine Woods.

MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura)

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO (Coccyzus americanus)

We enjoyed a handful of these great birds in the woods at High Island.

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)

COMMON NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles minor)

A couple of individuals flew over us while driving back from the coast.

Apodidae (Swifts)

CHIMNEY SWIFT (Chaetura pelagica)

Several were heard twittering overhead and we saw them a couple of times with our first ones at our lunch spot in Kountze.

Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus colubris)

We encountered a few individuals feeding on flowers in the High Island area and at Anahuac NWR.

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

KING RAIL (Rallus elegans)

We had great views of this difficult-to-see species in the rice fields.

CLAPPER RAIL (GULF COAST) (Rallus crepitans saturatus)

We ended up seeing a few after our first brief encounter. One even walked across the road in front of us.

SORA (Porzana carolina)

The one along Shoveler Pond at Anahuac showed well for us.

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Apparently this Laughing Gull didn’t get the message it was time to fly when the skimmers and terns erupted. Photo by participant Dika Golovatchoff.

COMMON GALLINULE (Gallinula galeata)

AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana)

PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinica)

Our first, and best views, were at the pond at Smith Woods.

Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)

BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus)

Several were seen each day we made stops at ponds in the rice fields and along the Bolivar Peninsula.

AMERICAN AVOCET (Recurvirostra americana)

We saw a few groups of these gorgeous shorebirds, mostly along the Bolivar Peninsula.

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola)

These were mostly seen along the coast where a few were in full breeding plumage.

AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER (Pluvialis dominica)

We saw several in the rice fields early in the trip. These were all in full winter plumage.

SNOWY PLOVER (Charadrius nivosus)

Usually a species that takes a lot of looking to find. It was a real surprise to have this bird be the first shorebird we saw when we arrived at Rollover Pass.

WILSON'S PLOVER (Charadrius wilsonia)

Another quite local species along the coast; we had nice views with the preceding species at Rollover Pass.

SEMIPALMATED PLOVER (Charadrius semipalmatus)

There were a fair number in the rice fields and along the coast.

PIPING PLOVER (Charadrius melodus)

We saw a pair at Rollover Pass. We normally would have seen a few more but but the high surf deterred us from venturing very far down the beach at Bolivar Flats.

KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus)

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

UPLAND SANDPIPER (Bartramia longicauda)

On our final day we ended up seeing three individuals in a short grass meadow north of Winnie.

WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus)

We saw many hundreds of these large shorebirds in the rice fields.

LONG-BILLED CURLEW (Numenius americanus)

We only had a flying individual near Bolivar Flats. The majority of these would have headed north by mid-April.

HUDSONIAN GODWIT (Limosa haemastica)

One of my favorite shorebirds. We had nice views at a couple in a flooded rice field on consecutive days. These birds used to migrate with Eskimo Curlews in the old days.

MARBLED GODWIT (Limosa fedoa)

We saw about ten birds on the Galveston Bay side of the Bolivar Peninsula on the windy day we spent birding there.

RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres)

Good numbers of these distinctive shorebirds were seen.

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Blue Grosbeaks put on a good show for us at both Anahuac NWR and High Island. Photo by participant Dika Golovatchoff.

STILT SANDPIPER (Calidris himantopus)

Several of these, some getting into nice breeding plumage with the rufous cheek patches, were seen in the flooded rice fields.

SANDERLING (Calidris alba)

We saw a good number on the beaches in the coastal areas.

DUNLIN (Calidris alpina)

We saw surprisingly few of these but they were in nice plumage. Our low number were certainly due to the high surf from the strong winds.

LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla)

BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER (Calidris subruficollis)

There were about 20 individuals at the back of a wet rice field that we spotted near Anahuac NWR. This is one of the more sought after shorebirds that appear along the coast.

PECTORAL SANDPIPER (Calidris melanotos)

On our second vistit to the flooded rice field we estimated 300-400 individuals.


Only a few were seen.

WESTERN SANDPIPER (Calidris mauri)

Same here, only a few.

SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus griseus)

We had a couple of nice studies of this species in comparison to the more common Long-billed.

LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus scolopaceus)

Good numbers were in the rice fields and along the coastal areas we visited.

GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca)

Nice looks, but these were far outnumbered by Lesser Yellowlegs.

WILLET (Tringa semipalmata)

We saw many birds along the coast that were still heading north, as well as local breeders perched atop fence posts at Anahuac NWR and other sites.

LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes)

We saw over 500 in one field on our first afternoon near the coast and had many more over the rest of the week.

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

LAUGHING GULL (Leucophaeus atricilla)

The most commonly seen gull by far.

RING-BILLED GULL (Larus delawarensis)

We only saw these on the morning we headed down the Bolivar Peninsula.

HERRING GULL (AMERICAN) (Larus argentatus smithsonianus)

Only a few were seen along the beaches.

LEAST TERN (Sternula antillarum)

The high surf kept the numbers down but we had several good views.

GULL-BILLED TERN (Gelochelidon nilotica)

A couple of these interesting terns were seen on a patch of dry ground in the marsh leading to Bolivar Flats.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Dika Golovatchoff captured this nice image of a Red-cockaded Woodpecker at Jones State Forest on the first morning of our trip. This species is at the extreme western edge of its range here.

CASPIAN TERN (Hydroprogne caspia)

We found one with a bunch of Royal Terns.

BLACK TERN (Chlidonias niger)

Formerly a quite uncommon species along the coast in April, they are now more commonly seen and we had nice looks at beautiful adults.

FORSTER'S TERN (Sterna forsteri)

This is the local breeding tern that we saw flying over the marshes in many places.

ROYAL TERN (Thalasseus maximus)

Good numbers of these large terns were encountered, especially right along the coast.

SANDWICH TERN (Thalasseus sandvicensis)

A very handsome tern; we had good views at Rollover Pass.

BLACK SKIMMER (Rynchops niger)

Abut 80-100 individuals were showing well on the Galveston Bay side of Rollover Pass.

Anhingidae (Anhingas)

ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga)

We saw our first at the lake at Smith Woods where it had just speared a fish. Then we saw several at nests on our final morning as we headed back to Houston.

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT (Nannopterum auritum)

Only a couple were encountered.

NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Nannopterum brasilianum)

Many, many hundreds were seen.

Pelecanidae (Pelicans)

AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

A few were seen on the dredge island in Galveston Bay, then three birds flew over us at Sabine Woods.

BROWN PELICAN (Pelecanus occidentalis)

Many were seen along the coast.

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

LEAST BITTERN (Ixobrychus exilis)

We had great looks at a few of these small herons at Anahuac NWR where they were fishing right next to the road.

GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias)

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

We saw many at the rookery on nests and several of these had babies.

SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)

There were lots of these at the rookery. The birds seemed to still be nest building or incubating.

LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea)

Surprisingly, we did not see this species until our last day when we found a couple in a flooded field near Winnie.

TRICOLORED HERON (Egretta tricolor)

Good numbers of this nicely colored species were seen daily at High Island and along the coast, with several at nests at the rookery.

REDDISH EGRET (Egretta rufescens)

The high surf kept us from getting to some of the coastal areas where we hoped to see these, but we ended up with an immaculate white morph at Rollover Pass on our return visit.

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Nelson’s Sparrows winter in the marshes in the High Island area, and a few linger into late-April. This one sat up nicely for us. Photo by participant Stacey Essaid.

CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)


GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens)

YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nyctanassa violacea)

We only saw one along the Bolivar Peninsula.

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)

WHITE IBIS (Eudocimus albus)

We saw many, including while adults and mottled immatures.

WHITE-FACED IBIS (Plegadis chihi)

Many were in the rice fields and other freshwater areas.

ROSEATE SPOONBILL (Platalea ajaja)

Always a favorite, this unusual species put on a great show at the rookery at Smith Woods where several were sitting on nests. It did not seem like any of the eggs had hatched.

Cathartidae (New World Vultures)

BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)

TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

BALD EAGLE (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Stacey spotted one flying away from us north of Winnie on the day we headed to the airport.

BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus)

A single bird flew over us while driving through the Big Thicket area.

SWAINSON'S HAWK (Buteo swainsoni)

We saw about six individuals perched or flying on the morning we drove through the rice fields on our way to and from Anahuac NWR.

RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis)

On our final day we finally crossed paths with this widespread species.

Strigidae (Owls)

BARRED OWL (Strix varia)

It was a great experience to see this wonderful bird of the bottomland forest sail over us in the waning light during our excursion after dinner in the piney woods. We ended up seeing it very well as it perched on a limb above us.

Picidae (Woodpeckers)

RED-HEADED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes erythrocephalus)

Heading into lunch on our first day, it was a real surprise to hear this increasingly uncommon species call right above us. We found it atop a power pole right where we parked. The next morning we saw about five individuals along the trail. This is one of the great looking woodpeckers anywhere.

RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes carolinus)

DOWNY WOODPECKER (Dryobates pubescens)

RED-COCKADED WOODPECKER (Dryobates borealis)

What a great way to start our trip. We got out of the van at Jones State Forest and almost immediately saw two, then three, of these quite rare woodpeckers. We enjoyed great views as they flaked bark from the pines and called back and forth.

PILEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus pileatus)

Our only one was along the Trinity River on our first morning.

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The white morph of Reddish Egret is usually outnumbered by the typical red/blue form, but this one, with its intense breeding condition colors on the bill and face, was really putting on a show. Photo by participant Dika Golovatchoff.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara plancus)

This species has increased in numbers along the Upper Texas Coast in recent years. We saw these each day in the Winnie area with five seen one day.

Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)

EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus virens)

After our first calling bird in Jones State Forest we encountered a few in the coastal woods as migrants.

ACADIAN FLYCATCHER (Empidonax virescens)

A couple of these local nesters were giving their "pizza" calls in the Big Thicket on our first day.


We chased one around in Sabine Woods before getting a look at it.

EASTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus tyrannus)

A fair number were seen throughout the coastal areas.


After a few sightings on wires as we drove by, we finally got nice views of a pair in the open country north of Winnie on our final morning. This is another popular species.

Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)

WHITE-EYED VIREO (Vireo griseus)

We heard many more than we saw but had our best looks on our final full day.

YELLOW-THROATED VIREO (Vireo flavifrons)

After seeing this as a breeder in the Big Thicket area, we had a couple to a few as migrants at High Island and Sabine Woods.

BLUE-HEADED VIREO (Vireo solitarius)

Only a couple, seen at Smith Woods.

PHILADELPHIA VIREO (Vireo philadelphicus)

This was one of the last birds we saw at Sabine Woods before we headed to lunch. These are rarely in big numbers here.

RED-EYED VIREO (Vireo olivaceus)

We had this fairly common species daily in the High Island area.

Laniidae (Shrikes)

LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE (Lanius ludovicianus)

A pair were seen along the highway going down the Bolivar Peninsula.

Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)

BLUE JAY (Cyanocitta cristata)

Seen daily; I think this is the prettiest of the North American jays.

AMERICAN CROW (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

We saw this well-known species on our first couple of days in the piney woods.

FISH CROW (Corvus ossifragus)

This is a species that has moved more inland in recent years. We heard and saw individuals near Silsbee and in the Beaumont area.

Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)

CAROLINA CHICKADEE (Poecile carolinensis)

TUFTED TITMOUSE (Baeolophus bicolor)

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)

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We found this gorgeous Prairie Warbler singing away in the piney woods of East Texas. Photo by participant Dika Golovatchoff.

PURPLE MARTIN (Progne subis)

With martin houses in several places, we saw these nearly every day.

TREE SWALLOW (Tachycineta bicolor)

A few of the days we saw good numbers flocked together and migrating.

BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)

Seen daily with a few pairs observed at nests and feeding young.

CLIFF SWALLOW (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)

This is a rather common species that nests under bridges in much of the area we visited.

Sittidae (Nuthatches)

RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH (Sitta canadensis)

We saw one at Jones State Forest on our first morning. This was a late lingering individual from the winter.


This dainty little species is another specialty of the southeastern pine forests. We had nice views on our first morning at Jones State Forest.

Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)

BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER (Polioptila caerulea)

A breeder in the Big Thicket area; we saw a few and heard more giving their whiney calls.

Troglodytidae (Wrens)

SEDGE WREN (Cistothorus stellaris)

This local species showed well along the roadside amongst the rice fields.

MARSH WREN (Cistothorus palustris)

CAROLINA WREN (Thryothorus ludovicianus)

Though we heard them many times a day, we finally got a look at one at Sabine Woods.

Sturnidae (Starlings)

EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) [I]

Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)

GRAY CATBIRD (Dumetella carolinensis)

This was one of the most commonly seen birds in both Boy Scout and Smith Woods where they were frequent visitors to the water drips.

BROWN THRASHER (Toxostoma rufum)

At least one or two were seen each day at the migrant woods, where they also came to the water drips.

NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus polyglottos)


Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

EASTERN BLUEBIRD (Sialia sialis)

We saw both males and females at Jones State Forest where they use the nest boxes that are provided in the woods.

VEERY (Catharus fuscescens)

We saw a few of these nicely colored thrushes with the mini-fallouts we experienced the last two days.

SWAINSON'S THRUSH (Catharus ustulatus)

WOOD THRUSH (Hylocichla mustelina)

We heard this wonderful song on the breeding grounds in the Big Thicket area, then saw several migrants at High Island.

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A singing Prothonotary Warbler showed well on our first morning in the Big Thicket, then we found several more during the week as migrants along the coast. Photo by participant Stacey Essaid.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)

SEASIDE SPARROW (Ammospiza maritima)

A quite cooperative individual sat up for scope views in the coastal marsh on the Bolivar Peninsula.

NELSON'S SPARROW (Ammospiza nelsoni)

After getting nice looks at a rather dull colored individual, a brightly colored bird suddenly appeared and stole the show. It is a quite good looking sparrow.

SAVANNAH SPARROW (Passerculus sandwichensis)

LINCOLN'S SPARROW (Melospiza lincolnii)

We saw a couple of late lingering individuals at the migration woods. Most of these have headed north by this time.

Icteriidae (Yellow-breasted Chat)


After having to stand on our tip-toes to see one on our first morning, we had a scope view of a singing bird in the Big Thicket area the next morning. This species has always been a taxonomic anomaly and is now placed in its own family.

Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)

EASTERN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella magna)

ORCHARD ORIOLE (Icterus spurius)

Good numbers were seen at High Island on a couple of the days.

BALTIMORE ORIOLE (Icterus galbula)

Outnumbered by Orchard Orioles, we still had nice looks at High Island and Sabine Woods.

RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus)

BRONZED COWBIRD (Molothrus aeneus)

We saw a pair with the male displaying to the female on the athletic field in High Island. This is an uncommon species in the area.


COMMON GRACKLE (Quiscalus quiscula)

Seen daily.

BOAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus major)

In this area of the Gulf Coast, this species is pretty much confined to the coastal prairies. It is rarely seen in any developed areas.

GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus)

These are always seen in developed areas.

Parulidae (New World Warblers)

OVENBIRD (Seiurus aurocapilla)

We had a couple in the woods at High Island but they liked to stay hidden under the vegetation.

WORM-EATING WARBLER (Helmitheros vermivorum)

After being tantalized with a singing bird in the Big Thicket, we saw a couple as migrants near the coast.

NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis)

After we finally saw our first, we ended up seeing about four that day.

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We ended up getting a handful of nice looks at Painted Buntings, one of the most colorful birds in the in the U.S. Photo by participant Dika Golovatchoff.

GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER (Vermivora chrysoptera)

We had nice looks at males on consecutive days; this is always one of the most sought after warblers on the coast.

BLUE-WINGED WARBLER (Vermivora cyanoptera)

With a surge of birds on our final day, we saw about five between Sabine Woods and High Island.


We saw several during the week.

PROTHONOTARY WARBLER (Protonotaria citrea)

One showed nicely on the breeding grounds where it was singing away, then we found a few more as migrants with four on our last full day.

SWAINSON'S WARBLER (Limnothlypis swainsonii)

We enjoyed a great view of a singing individual in classic bottomland forest in the Big Thicket area. This bird was really belting out its song. We then had a prolonged look at a migrant at Sabine Woods that we watched at leisure as it picked through the leaf litter.

TENNESSEE WARBLER (Leiothlypis peregrina)

A good number of these arrived mid-week.

KENTUCKY WARBLER (Geothlypis formosa)

Nice views were made of a couple on the breeding grounds where they sang away, then we saw a few more as migrants.

COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas)

As usual, we heard more singing from the marshes than we saw.

HOODED WARBLER (Setophaga citrina)

After our first nice view in the Big Thicket, we encountered several in the migrant traps along the coast.

AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla)

Several males were seen the latter part of the week.

NORTHERN PARULA (Setophaga americana)

We had nice looks at this southern breeder on the nesting grounds and also saw a few as migrants.

MAGNOLIA WARBLER (Setophaga magnolia)

We saw one at Smith Oaks.

YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia)

A fair number were encountered, with nice looks at one of the water drips at Smith Oaks.

CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER (Setophaga pensylvanica)

We only had a fleeting look at one, as it didn't stay long at the water drip at Smith Woods.

PINE WARBLER (Setophaga pinus)

These were quite common by voice and we saw a few in the piney woods on our first two mornings.

YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (Setophaga coronata)

A "myrtle" type was at Jones State Forest on our first morning. This was a drab individual that was still hanging around from the winter after most of the others would have left a couple of weeks earlier.

YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER (Setophaga dominica)

We had nice views of a singing male in the Big Thicket then another at Sabine Woods. This is an early migrant, so there were not many that were still passing through the coastal woods.

PRAIRIE WARBLER (Setophaga discolor)

This wonderful bird sat up and sang well for us in the short pines that were regenerating. This is another early migrant that is rarely seen as a migrant along the coast in mid-April.

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We saw a couple of armadillos, which have become symbolic of Texas. They are one of the more bizarre mammals in North America. Photo by participant Dika Golovatchoff.


We saw a few most days at High Island and Sabine Woods.

WILSON'S WARBLER (Cardellina pusilla)

A molting male type with a reduced black crown was seen at Katrina's Drip at Smith Woods.

Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)

SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra)

The bright red males showed very well. We also saw several yellowish females. There were many more females of this species seen than female Scarlet Tanagers.

SCARLET TANAGER (Piranga olivacea)

A stunning species; we saw several during the week. Most were bright red and black males but there were a couple of females seen as well.

NORTHERN CARDINAL (Cardinalis cardinalis)

These were quite common throughout the trip and especially in High Island where this bird is the mascot of the high school.

ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus ludovicianus)

We enjoyed good views of males and females in all of the woodlots we visited.

BLUE GROSBEAK (Passerina caerulea)

We saw our first at Anahuac NWR where the male was incredibly bright blue. We later saw several in a garden at High Island.

INDIGO BUNTING (Passerina cyanea)

A fair number were seen here and there through the week.

PAINTED BUNTING (Passerina ciris)

After a quick first view, we ended up seeing a handful of these almost overly-colorful birds with the best views at the water drips at High Island.

DICKCISSEL (Spiza americana)

We had scope views of this migrant in the roadside shrubs in the rice field areas we visited.


NINE-BANDED ARMADILLO (Dasypus novemcinctus)

This quite unusual mammal showed very well a couple of times at Smith Woods and Boy Scout Woods at High Island.

SWAMP RABBIT (Sylvilagus aquaticus)

This is the fairly common rabbit we saw several times at High Island.

EASTERN GRAY SQUIRREL (Sciurus carolinensis)

This species was fairly common in the woods at High Island.

FOX SQUIRREL (Sciurus niger)

We saw one at Tyrrell Park near Beaumont.

NUTRIA (Myocastor coypus) [I]

Totals for the tour: 173 bird taxa and 5 mammal taxa