Sunday, March 30, 2014

Baytown Nature Center

My pocketbook says I need to stay close to home for the next couple of weeks.  Fortunately, I don't have to go far to find birds.

In the shadow of refineries, chemical plants, and heavy vessel traffic, space has been set aside for wildlife.  This used to be a neighborhood until the land began to sink, the area began to flood, a hurricane caused extensive damage, and the homes were abandoned.  Eventually, the buildings were removed and the area became the Baytown Nature Center.

That's a Snowy Egret at bottom left.

I found a Great Blue Heron nest.  The noise she made when another heron got too close is what attracted my attention.  No one is going to steal any sticks from her.  She wasted no time running off the intruder.  I couldn't see any eggs, but she is sitting.  I'll have to add this to my list of sites to revisit in search of babies.

My first Scissor-tailed Flycatcher of the year is in the above photo.  He winters in South America and returns to Texas in the summer to breed.  That blur in the background is a passing barge.  The birds seem to be used to the noise.

I saw a Northern Shoveler, too, so not all of our winter visitors have departed.

The Black-necked Stilts are year-round residents.  They scolded incessantly as I was photographing from a distance, clearly not happy at my approach.  It was a loop trail, so I had to walk past.  One more step after I snapped this picture, they decided they were done with me and flew away.

In my last post, I mentioned I hadn't been seeing Anhinga this year.  They made up for it yesterday.  I've never seen so many in one place.  This is a small part of the group that flew overhead.

There were recent reports of a rare bird here.  I went to the spot where I was told the White-winged Scoter had last been sighted and found a noisy Boy Scout troop.  If he was there, they ran him off.

The Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail - Upper Texas Coast
Date of visit:  March 29, 2014
Time of day:  Mid-morning thru early afternoon
Conditions :  Cool, overcast, and windy at first - becoming clear and warm with a light breeze in the late morning
Species Identified (21):  Turkey Vulture, Northern Cardinal, Black Vulture, Snowy Egret, Great Egret, Little Blue Heron, Great Blue Heron, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown Pelican, Laughing Gull, Neotropic Cormorant, Mottled Duck, Black-necked Stilt, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, White Ibis, Killdeer, Anhinga, Forster's Tern, Least Sandpiper

I'm linking up with I'd Rather B' Birdin'.


  1. I've never seen so many Anhinga in flight. What an incredible sight. Your photos are great.

  2. I love how you captured these birds!

  3. Oh I love those stilts! Hope to see one in person some day. Your lovely shot will do for now. :) I miss seeing the scissor-tailed flycatcher here; we used to see them in Texas all the time. Beautiful captures, all!

  4. Nice set of birds - even if the background in the first picture is hardly scenic.

    I think my sock drawer once had a far more noble occupation!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  5. wonderful shots. I wanted to see the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher when I visited CostaRica but we only saw it from the bus so it was not a good sight. Love your image.

  6. you've got great birding in your area! glad that place was returned to nature. i adore the scissor-tails. can't wait to hear their burbling. :)

  7. The Scissor-tailed is just fantastic Jen. I can't believe the length of that tail!

    Those stilts are just as flighty over here too. My sympathies to you.

  8.'s wonderful, isn't it, to live in Texas where the bird life is so abundant!?!! Love the photo of the heron on the nest. That one is a special treat.

  9. Great outing, Jen! I love the flycatcher, I would love to see one someday.. And the stilts are pretty. Great sightings and photos.

  10. Hi Jen, I'm an energy historian who just finished a fellowship at Rice University, and am writing a short open-access academic article about the Baytown Nature Center for the Society for the History of Technology. Your photos are incredible, and I would love to use one for my article, but I can't figure out how to contact you. Would you get in touch with me about this when you have a minute? You can find my contact info here: Thank you so much!!