Monday, January 2, 2017

Racing the Storm

The storm over Sea Rim SP
Day 2 I left the house just before 4 am and headed east to look for owls in Chamber's County. I was crossing the San Jacinto River as the first EAS alert went off. Severe thunderstorms were rolling into northwest Harris County. I was almost to the opposite county line and the stars were still out. I decided to stay with the plan.

I pulled into Cedar Hill Park at Lake Charlotte in Chambers County about 4:45 am. It only took a few minutes to get an Eastern Screech-Owl to call. I tried a few barks and hoots of Barred Owl with not luck. The storm was coming and I was racing the rising sun so I didn't stay very long.

Next I stopped at the entrance road to Anahuac NWR and it only took a couple of minutes to locate a Barn Owl. I left and headed right for East Bay Bayou and the FM1985 bridge where we had a couple calling Great Horned Owls on the CBC a few weeks before. I got out of the car and listened for a few minutes. At first another Barn Owl screamed then a pair of Great Horned Owls started a duet.

By the time I made it to Winnie the rain had caught up with me. I had to skip my Barred Owl stop and headed for Port Arthur on my quest for Brown Booby.

White-tailed Kite
I made it to Pleasure Island right at sunrise. Couldn't tell from the fog though but no rain for the moment. I drove the length of the north levee to the end. I picked up some new things like Red-breasted Merganser and Common Loon but no boobies. As I was retracing my route five birds flew out of the fog, Dark brown backs, pointed wings and tails, and pale conical bills. Bingo! Brown Booby! I followed them down the levee but never relocated them for a picture.

I had a list of needs from the Sea Rim  CBC the week before and headed to Sea Rim State Park. It was getting pretty ugly looking though. On the way a White-tailed Kite posed for me. I picked up a few things waiting out the storm at Sea Rim but looking at the radar I decided to head back west to Anahuac NWR and get behind the storm. On the way back I was treated to one of the brightest rainbows I've ever seen.

Say's Phoebe
On the way to Anahuac a bird on the fence caught my eye. When it flew up to catch a fly the dark tail identified it as a Say's Phoebe, A really good bird for this county.

At Anahuac NWR I headed right down to Burrowing Owl stakeout. No luck, crabbers were trespassing behind the fence in the close area with the owl. They had likely spooked it down into its hole or flushed it. I took a few picture of the woman trespassing. It amused me to see her trying to get her shoe out of a nice wet cow flop. My pretty quick loop of Shoveler Pond netted me eight new ones.

A quick pass by a my newly discovered Red-headed Woodpecker stakeout ticked that bird off. A quick pass through Double Bayou Park also added three more woodpeckers, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Northern Flicker, and Downy Woodpecker.

Blue-winged Teal
My final stop of the day was White Memorial Park. This was the best woodland I had hit yet and I ticked 11 new birds for the year there. The highlight was a Dark-eyed Junco, only the third one I've ever had in Chambers County.

I picked up 37 new ones for the year, had a 104 bird day bringing my total for the year to 132 species. Tomorrow I'm off to chase a Great Black-backed Gull!


  1. Fantastic finds David. You are well on your way. Good luck in your quest.

  2. Off to a great start! May need to try and see the Barn Oel at Anahuac myself. It would be a lifer for me.

  3. Bravo! Look forward to following your blog throughout the year.

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