Saturday, February 1, 2014

Anahuac NWR Shoveler Pond

The Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail - Upper Texas Coast 
UTC049 Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge (Main Entrance)

The original plan for this weekend was to visit Bolivar Flats at low tide.  The photography Meetup (visit if you're not familiar) event organizer wanted to visit when sunrise and low tide coincided. When he realized he made an error in reading the charts and was a day off, then the weather reports called for cold temps, Plan B was to visit Anahuac NWR.  We met at the Shoveler Pond boardwalk, pictured above.

The boardwalk is nice, but I saw more birds along the driving trail that loops around the pond.  The trick is to stay inside the car.  If you exit your vehicle, you'll chase the birds away.  Roll down the windows and creep along slowly.  

I was slightly intimidated at first.  I have a small case of camera envy.  It seemed everyone else had lenses longer than my arm.  At least one was a professional photographer.  I use a Canon Power Shot SX40HS, which is basically a point-and-shoot with a 35x optical zoom and a few more bells and whistles than less expensive models.  I can adjust the aperture and have several shooting modes, most of which I still haven't learned to use.

I think I was the only one to capture this American Bittern with his freshly caught meal, though.  Indeed, I might be the only one who even saw him.  They were busy taking amazing shots of the geese flying overhead that were out of my range.  I do a decent job of capturing birds that are a little closer to me, and my camera is easier to tote on long hikes.  That's what I'll keep telling myself.

They did get shots of the Pied-billed grebe.  I think mine is comparable with most of theirs.

I knew it was a grebe because as soon as I spotted it, it disappeared under the water then eventually popped up somewhere else.  I had to be quick to frame and focus when he did or miss the shot.

I'm proud of this one, a Snowy Egret, which is my Weekend Reflection. I didn't see any reflection shots posted on Meetup, so maybe this should be my contribution to the event album.

Shortly after I captured the White-faced Ibis, my camera battery died because I forgot to charge it the night before.  I should buy a spare in case I forget again - or end up somewhere with no electricity for several days.

Date of visit:  January 26, 2014
Time of day:  Sunrise
Temp:  40's (F)
Conditions:  Some clouds, very little wind
Species identified(15):  American Coot, Red-winged Blackbird, Snow Goose, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, American Bittern, White Ibis, Great Blue Heron, Pied-billed Grebe, White-faced Ibis, Snowy Egret, Neotropic Cormorant, Brown Pelican, Common Moorhen, Great Egret, Osprey.


  1. I have the same problem with a camera battery...:-)
    The Coastal Birding Trail must be stunning as well as your photos...Nicely done...

  2. these are great shots! i've heard such good things about the zoom capability on that camera. love the snowy reflection, and adore those pied-billed cuties.

  3. You and your camera are doing a fine job. The simplicity and ease to carry and use the modern ultra zoom point and shoots have many benefits. Enjoyed viewing all the photos from the trail. Looks like a great place to visit.

  4. Your photos are fantastic, I would have loved to have taken those. I have never seen the American Bittern, the Pied-billed grebe or the White-faced ibis. Beautiful birds, all of them.

  5. Great photos! I have both a DSLR and a point and shoot. Often I am astounded at how well my point and shoot does, so don't be intimidated by those long lenses. You may actually be taking better photos. ;)

  6. American bitterns are very secretive birds and difficult to capture, so I am highly impressed by your shot!

  7. Great bird shots! I love the egret reflection.

  8. Great pictures - how do people get all these pictures of herons with food - mine just stand there, waiting, waiting …………. waiting …………….. until I can wait no more!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  9. Great collection of birds. I love the Bittern with the meal. Lovely reflection shot! Awesome photos! Have a happy week!

  10. I have a DSLR but got a similar version of your camera SX50HS over Christmas and I'm loving it!! (and still learning it) You got some awesome shots! LOVE LOVE LOVE the Bittern!

  11. You Bittern photo is outstanding!