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Birding Along the Texas Coast

Updated 414 days ago

You already know that Galveston and the upper Texas Gulf Coast are popular destinations for pleasure seeking humans of all stripes, but you should also know that it’s on the “must visit” list for thousands of winged visitors.

That’s especially true in the spring, when birds who’ve been wintering along the Texas coast and points southward start making their way back north. And that’s a good thing for an intrepid group of outdoors lovers who refer to themselves as birders. Maybe you’re looking to join them on their quest to spot rare and elusive birds? Let’s take a look at some of the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council’s (GINTC) best birding spots in Galveston and along the upper Texas coast.

Take a look at a few photos from the winners of the 2016 FeatherFest photo contest, compliments of the nice folks at Galveston Nature Tourism Council.

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Two in a Million
2016 Grand Prize Winner and Week One First Place by Richard Howard taken at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge.
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On The Hunt
2016 Week Two Second Place by Sandra Kroeger taken taken at Texas City Dike.
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Avocet Portrait
2016 Week One Third Place by Matt Hyner taken on Bolivar Peninsula.
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Hummingbird on Porterweed
2016 Week One Honorable Mention by Matt Hyner taken taken at Mont Belvieu.
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Cuckoo With Webworm
2016 Week Two First Place by Dan Lotan taken taken at High Island.
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Black Skimmer
2016 Week Two Second Place by Sandra Kroeger taken taken at Texas City Dike.
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Egret Mating Posing
2016 Week Two Third Place by Julie Cheng taken taken at High Island.
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Under Construction
2016 Week Two Honorable Mention by David Alaniz taken at Smith Oaks Rookery, High Island.
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Splish Splash, Taking A Bath
2016 Week Three First Place by Carl Henry taken near North Deer Island.
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Triple Threat
2016 Week Three Second Place by Kevin Malo taken taken at Simonton.
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Off I Go
2016 Week Three Third Place by Susan Ellison taken taken at Bolivar Flats.
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Red Breasted Nut Hatcher
2016 Week Three Honorable Mention by Dub Hamilton taken taken at Texas City.
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Red and Ruby
2016 Week Four First Place by Dan Lotan taken at Copperfield, Houston.
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Late Night Snack
2016 Week Four Second Place by Cissy Beasley taken taken at Sportsman Road (roadside marsh), Galveston.
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Marbled Godwit At Early Morning Lights
2016 Week Four Third Place by Susan Ellison taken taken at Bolivar Flats.
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Hummers Fight
2016 Week Four Honorable Mention by Marilyn Holloway taken taken at Mont Belvieu.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

East Beach and the East End Lagoon
Sure, East Beach is a great place to hang out and soak up some rays, but it’s also in the middle of one of the best places to see birds along the coast. The northeast end of Galveston, including the long lagoon, is legendary for the heavy concentration of migratory birds, and if you’re a beginning birder, this is a great place to break in that new pair of binoculars. You’re sure to see an array of egrets, herons, terns and gulls and you may not even have to leave your car.

Bolivar Peninsula
The Bolivar Peninsula is located across the ship channel from Galveston and the area known as Bolivar Flats is one of the top shorebird wintering sites in all of North America. Veteran birders are absolutely giddy about this spot because the marsh area creates such a welcome environment that the GINTC reports that over 100,000 birds have been seen on the flats in a single day! Other great nearby spots include High Island and the Anahuac National Wildlife Reserve.

Galveston Island State Park (GISP)
Covering over 2,000 acres, Galveston Island State Park forms one of world’s biggest sandboxes for birders to play in. It’s got all of the favorite avian habitats covered: barrier islands, beach, dunes and fresh and salt water marshes. It’s no wonder that enormous groups of waterfowl are on hand for your viewing pleasure. Meadowlarks, white-tailed kites, northern harriers and black-necked stilts are just some of the birds on parade here. Plus, there’s even a cool observation tower to improve your viewing opportunities.

8 Mile Road
Located on the west end and just off the Seawall, 8 Mile Rd. is ideal for birders who don’t necessarily want to get out in the elements, as it offers easy viewing right from the comfort of your car.

There are so many great birding spots in Galveston and along the upper Texas coast that we’ve really just scratched the surface here. For more information, check out the GINTC’s site at Galvestonnaturetourism.org.

Article written by Rod Evans

A veteran journalist, writer and editor with experience in print, broadcast and online media. I am the former editor in chief of Health & Fitness Sports Magazine in Houston and am currently a freelance writer.

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