Trip report: Upper Texas Coast (April 2014) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Cameron Cox. This was a custom tour.

The legends that surround the Upper Texas Coast are famous amongst North American birders. While much of this reputation has been built on the huge “fallouts” of migrant birds that are known to occur here, even a “slow” day on the Upper Texas Coast in spring is exciting. Legions of shorebirds and wading birds occur every day in spring no matter the weather. Flashy Scissor-tailed Flycatchers chatter and hawk insects from fence lines; Purple Gallinules and Roseate Spoonbills ensure everyday will comes with a splash of color; and Reddish Egrets dash and strut on tidal mudflats. There is always something new to see, something to learn, and often a surprise around the next corner. It is truly a special place, and arguably one of the best birding areas in North America.

Our tour was based primarily in Winnie, a small community a short ways north of the hamlet of High Island. While most of our focus was on High Island and the neighboring Bolivar Peninsula we also ventured out to Galveston Island, Beaumont, and Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge. We made a day trip to the East Texas Pineywoods and mopped up many southeastern specialties like Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Bachman’s Sparrow, and Swainson’s Warbler. In just 4½ days we tallied 212 bird species, including 26 species of warbler, 34 species of shorebird, and 16 species of wading birds! And, for the second consecutive year we found an OLD WORLD shorebird on our Upper Texas Coast Tour. This year it was a Ruff, (last year it was the first state record of European Whimbrel). What will we find on our 2015 Texas tour? Join us and see for yourself!

Click this link to view the full report in PDF format (2.3MB file).