Sunrise over Lower Red Rock Lake

Sunrise over Lower Red Rock Lake
Sunrise over Lower Red Rock Lake

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Birding at Galveston Island State Park


Last spring, I met a lady that was photographing birds in South Texas.  She was just starting to enjoy birds and asked me lots of questions. My friend, Winnie, an avid birder and I invited her to join us.  We were birding at Estero Llano Grande State Park, part of the World Birding Center network.

We stayed in touch, and just before I left Galveston,  I got a message from her that she was in town and wanted to go birding.  I suggested we meet at the Texas City Dike, and she suggested 8:30 AM.   I arrive early and take some pictures in good light.  After I was almost ready to stop looking for photographic birds and go to our meeting place, she called and suggested we bird at Galveston State Park.

The following pictures were from the birding loop that starts just before the dike.


White pelicans

Juvenile black crowned night heron

Roseate spoonbill greeting  sunrise

We met at the Nature Center at the park and immediately starting birding.  We began with the little trail behind the center.  Some very shy pied bill grebes dove and then hid as soon as we arrived at the pond, but these mottled ducks were more cooperative.




Next, we slowly drove through the bay side of the park, stopping often to look at birds. It was fun to see our largest heron together with one of our smallest.


Great blue and tricolored herons

Osprey with fish

White ibis fighting over feeding territory

A reddish egret


White ibis


Juvenile yellow-crowned heron

There were so many monarchs flying and feeding, that I was constantly thinking I was seeing a bird flying, but it then saw it was just a monarch.  Goldenrod is coloring up whole fields and is an important source of nectar for the migrating butterflies.


Monarch on goldenrod
Sparrows have barely started arriving. The only sparrow I could see enough to identify was the lark sparrow below.

This was another high tide day, so we missed many species that are usually found on the mud flats on the bay side. And I had to leave before we got to really explore the beach.

Lark sparrow

Birds were still in short supply.   I was hoping for the pair of white-tailed kites that are found here in winter, but apparently, they too have not yet arrived. (I checked eBird, and found one was reported a few days earlier.) We would have found a few more species on the Gulf side, but ran out of time before we could even get started.

If you bird here,  start on the Gulf side first.  There are more birds on the beach before the joggers and beach-goers arrive. Texas was the first state to map out birding hot spots. Galveston State Park is on the Galveston Loop map which will give you a day or two of great birding.

When this blog comes out, I'll be playing with my friend, Laurel in South Carolina.  Then I'll get to meet a blogging friend for a paddle in North Carolina before checking in on my job the following Monday.  Stay tuned for reports of my adventures and my new home at Alligator River NWR.

For more wild bird blogs from around the world, click on the picture  below.