Wednesday, April 26, 2017

McFaddin and Sabine Woods

My last day at Sea Rim was Saturday and I had 2 places to visit all lined up.  Just down the road was McFaddin WLR.   I took a drive down to see what I might find.  Its a nice drive around a lake and some channels, then you gotta turn around...Once again due to the road that was not replaced when Hurricane Ike destroyed it.  

Lots of nice grassland too, its wet though I'm sure it dries later in the summer.  There were many Sea Side Sparrows out there hiding and singing in that grass...I got a few horrible photos but I'll share one anyways..

and just as crazy is the marsh wren they never sit still...

here's a little video of the wren so you can hear the call

the marsh wren

Saw a few great blue herons, some great egrets, snowy egrets, and green herons...

...below is a Savannah Sparrow as best I can tell...I'm always confusing them with Song Sparrows...

At the end of the drive where you have to run around there was a tug pushing a barge up the canal.

On the way to Sabine Woods from here you have to pass road 69, it is the area of Sea Rim Park where you can rent boats and there is a good sized parking lot there...I stopped to eat a lunch and found this guy sitting right in the middle of an empty parking lot! 

There was this guy from MN camped close to me on the beach a couple nights and he had ABA stickers all over his Hyundai Fit and little bird statues glued to his dashboard.  A little bit eccentric but it's all good.  SO he and I viewed a similar bird in the grass at Sea Rim he told me they are lesser nighthawk, I wanted it to be the common paruaque but he said no, so I trust his knowledge.  Lesser was a lifer for me anyway!! 

And here is the one we viewed together...

I stood too close to his mate and he zoomed me... what a sound he made...very loud earth shattering almost. I guess different lighting is the reason for the difference in color this one was in later evening light.

In that same parking lot is this NOAA weather monitoring station, pretty cool to see. 

and a red winged blackbird perched on the tower...

After lunch I drove about 10 miles down the road to the Sabine Woods, I stopped by here on Friday but the bugs were so bad I I wanted to return. 


Great big trees in the woodlot, and at the back an open field, they charge $5 for non members..its a self pay station..

There is one pond on the property and it attracts birds and mosquitoes. 

There's lots of plants, insects, trees, nice trails, and some benches here and there to rest, they put out some trickle water features to entice birds to land for you to get a photo...I didn't have much luck, I should have come here first...

lots of flowers to attract pollinators too...

Here is a skipper on a blanket flower as I call this plant....all these plants are native to this area.  and above the Cherokee Rose. 

All the birders gathered at the water to wait for the warblers....

What we saw was this yellow crowned night heron try to swallow a turtle! He finally gave up but he whacked that turtle pretty hard...I had to leave I didn't want to see the turtle get hurt.

A grey catbird wanted a drink but he stayed hid in the thicket...

This Eastern Kingbird came right out in the open getting down to business gathering some nesting material.

I walked out of the woods to the field and back towards the entrance is a big mulberry tree, I saw a few orchard orioles fly in and out both males and females, and then one guy said there is a cape may warbler in the tree...took me forever to find him but finally I did...

Not a new bird for me, as warblers are plentiful in the Carolina's but it was sweet to get this photo.

I was hot and sweaty and tired so I went back to Sea Rim to get my van settled in for the last time there...

Sunday was a day of driving to get relocated...and I'll pick up there on the next blog. 

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Anahauc National Wildlife Refuge

I normally don't spend 4 days in one spot because i try to cover as much as I can in the time I have, but Sea Rim was just too hard to leave and the weekend hit, and south the way I'm headed it was gonna be impossible to get a camp site. So I stayed put on the beach.  I took a day trip to Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge.  It was about an hours ride as the road that used to follow the coast was washed away by Hurricane Ike and they never replaced it... so had to drive all the back to Port Arthur, and then West to Winnie, then south to Anahuac, and then back again, if that road was there it would be a 25 min trip. 

  It's a great spot for birds, and for just being out in nature.  I met some nice ladies from Canada, and we kept bumping into each other.  We all  loved Anahuac. 

What's not to love about such an awesome place?  This pond has a road all the way around it, so we all lined up and away we went.  First I saw right away one of my target birds, the Fulvous Whistling Duck, not just one but several.  

Have you ever seen a more striking duck?? He reminds me of moose tracks ice cream...yum. 

Another target bird on my list was the neotropic cormorant.  Now in my old Nat Geo Bird book they call this a Olivaceous Cormorant, but they changed the name.  He has this little white patch at the top of the beak to help with the ID on this bird. 

there is more than just birds here too...there's American Alligator.

and all sorts of wildflowers...I do not know this flower's name I need a new wild flower book, one that covers more than just SC.  

one of the dirt roads in the refuge borders ranching land so these cows were coming down to the watering hole to get a drink and cool off, how sweet they all were, I just love cows!  They are so docile, and inquisitive, and friendly.  

some cattle egrets were with them it was almost 2 birds per cow it seemed...

cattle egrets

I saw tons of common gallinules, and only one Purple Gallinule there...the strong midday sun bleached out his pretty blue head shield, but those florescent feathers sure were shining...


...these are def Texas sized Lily Pads.  Later I drove over to the Skillern unit of the refuge...

the heat of the day had driven most birds for deep cover, couldn't get a good look at anything, so I noticed some cool flowers..the passion flower is one and the other I think is a sun dew. 

this huge flock of Long Billed Dowitchers were by the main entrance to the refuge, it is surrounded by ranch and farm land, and that attracts the scissor-tailed flycatcher, normally you see one up high on a power line, or fence sitting this one was so obliging...he allowed me to actually roll down the window and snap a good shot of him.


they are stream lined for flying

I saw so much there I can only hit the highlights...on my way back to Sea Rim I found this guy he was up on wire...and he must have been tired to never offered to move.  

the hook billed kite, formerly known as the black shouldered kite, and I prefer the old name on this bird....check those awesome eyes!!

Back at the Sea Rim I got my spot on the beach for another night...and watching the antics of the great tailed grackles was my sunset entertainment, here two are trying to show off who is more handsome...

...and here they decide to position themselves just so....and dang if a common gallinule or moorhen as I call them photo bombed them and stuck her butt in the photo! 

Image may contain: bird, plant, grass, outdoor and nature

we all got ready to watch the sun go down....

I spent one more day exploring this area before heading south...that will be next
 Sabine Woods Bird Sanctuary and then goodbye to Sea Rim, SP.

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.