Trip report: Upper Texas Coast short tour (April 2012) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Scott Watson.

The sheer number, and diversity, of birds moving through the eastern half of North America during spring migration is a spectacle to behold, and this short tour targets this spectacle at one of the best migration hotspots on earth; High Island, Texas. Being such a short tour we have to be efficient using every possible hour, making this one of the most exciting fast paced tours on offer. When it comes to migration you never know where or when the birds will be at their highest concentration. That is why on this tour a cell phone is just as important as your binoculars. Although I was the guide, Tropical Birding had a network of scouts to keep me up to date regarding any bird movements at the drop of a hat. We may be peacefully looking at a Least Bittern in the marshes of Anahuac NWR, but when that phone rings and you hear simply “they have come, High Island, now”, one wishes Texas speed limits were raised for the month of April.

There were only 2 days of excellent passerine migration in High Island this season, and this tour landed smack dab in the middle of those 2 glorious days. Some call it luck, I call it awesome. In roughly 4 days of actual birding we recorded 208 species of birds, including 28 warblers, and 31 shorebirds, nearly all of them on migration. We covered a large area from the open marshes of Anahuac, to the coastal Oak mottes of High Island and Sabine Woods, the tidal flats of Bolivar Peninsula, and finally north to the “Pineywoods” for some resident marvels.

Click this link to view the full report in PDF format (2 MB file).