Guided by Michael Retter.
This year, the tour started with a rushed sense of urgency. A cold front had passed through overnight, so we scrambled to get everyone picked up at the airport and back to High Island as soon as possible. The rush paid off: when we arrived at Boy Scout Woods that afternoon, the trees were crawling with exhausted birds, warblers in particular. We saw a number of species (including Cerulean and Swainson’s) that day only. Shorebirding was amazing over the subsequent week, with Hudsonian Godwit the only missed sandpiper species. An extremely rare Townsend’s × Black-throated Green warbler hybrid was undoubtedly the rarest bird of the trip.
We visited all the varied habitats of the region, from migrant traps on High Island, to the inland Pineywoods, to coastal beaches and salt and freshwater marshes. Trips to the world-famous Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge and Bolivar Flats added to an impressive list of marsh birds and shorebirds. The Pineywoods produced Bachman’s Sparrow, Prairie Warbler, Brown-headed Nuthatch, and the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker.