Matt and I were aiming for San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge on our way to Houston to visit my folks and family. En route, we detoured by the end of the road and got a few photos for my dad - barges are in his blood.
As for San Bernard, we were serenaded by Boat-tailed Grackles (Quiscalus major), the marsh-loving cousin of the urban Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus). Great-tails are also featured in our "how to get rid of grackles" post. Boat-tails perhaps deserve their own post for birders, as they're a notoriously difficult species unless you're at San Bernard or Anahuac NWR - they are the nearly-exclusive grackle species at each location.
Hopefully these videos will work, otherwise I'll be tinkering with the post a bit - the first clip is of the BTGR call note (15 sec)
The second one (10 sec) is the full raspy call that is so not-Great-tailed in posture and pitch.
That little fellow above is a Solitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria). My photos suffered from heat haze, digi-bin photos and grubby windshield. Hopefully Matt will post his pictures!
Solitary, Solitary without bins (and a corner of Matt), American Alligator
While in town, we took a quick detour through Bay Area Park, where we re-vowed last May. The boardwalk that I love so dearly is still in a state of sad neglect, over a year and a half after Hurricane Ike. We were happy to see that a two-part dog park was added, perhaps next trip the pup can come along. Indeed, the olde golf course would be great fun for a pup as well!
A mystery Hymenoptera from Seabrook.
You may wonder why Pro-Fast Fastener & Supply Co is being featured. Look at the building. See any huge reflective windows? Me neither! Texas has plenty of awnings, but this sort of shade structure is brilliant for deflecting the sun and would be a great option for preventing bird strikes. Hacienda San Angel Mexican Grill (their site seems to be down) is featured through a drizzled-upon windshield because the fresh veggie enchiladas were absolutely mindboggling. It's at the top of our list to try again if we're ever in that area!