Trip report: Texas, High Island Migration Short Tour (Apr 2011) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Nick Leseberg.

Before starting this trip I was a little apprehensive. I learned that the group I was guiding had not only never been on a birdwatching trip, but most of them had never even been birding before! I suspected this might slow the pace of the trip down. I know when I’m guiding a trip in Australia for example, that everyone on the trip is keen to see all the birds they can, and this makes my job easy; everyone expects to get up early and ‘bird hard’ until there are no more birds to see. Would this kind of pace turn a group of beginner birders right off? What if they were expecting to bird hard, having heard that birding was all about early mornings and late finishes? You can see the conundrum I found myself in. How would I get everyone to see plenty of birds, while at the same time making it enjoyable for a beginning birder?

In the end, I needn’t have worried. The Upper Texas Coast proved to be the perfect location, with ample opportunities to observe a fantastic array of birds in easy conditions, while guiding a group of beginners proved to be an eye opener for me. As a keen birder, perhaps you don’t realize some of the things you take for granted, having seen them so many times before. When you show someone a Roseate Spoonbill for the first time though, the reaction is enough to make you remember the first time you saw it as well, and remind you why we all take up birding in the first place. We forget sometimes that so many amazing natural phenomena are right on our doorstep, and waiting to be experienced by everyone for the first time.

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