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2021-03-08 Anahuac NWR

White-Faced Ibis - Plegadis chihi
I met several White-Faced and White Ibis on my tour of the pond. I broke camp at High Island early Monday and set a course for nearby Anahuac National Wildlife Reserve. There are several roads to explore there, but I chose the loop around Shoveler Pond.

I broke camp at High Island early Monday and set a course for nearby Anahuac National Wildlife Reserve. I planned a quick visit before heading east on my clock-wise journey around the gulf. Everyone I spoke with about must see places on the upper Texas Gulf coast spoke well of this 53 square mile reserve. Looking at a map of the Texas Gulf coast, you can see very little developed land there. Most of the natural habitat has been undisturbed. It’s a shame the rest of the coastal USA has not preserved more of its coastal habitat.

There are several roads to explore in Anahuac, but I chose the loop around the 280 acre Shoveler Pond. There I found and photographed American Alligators, American Coots, Blue-Winged Teals, Boat-Tailed Grackles, Common Gallinules, Great Egrets, Killdeers, Northern Shovelers, Pied-Billed Grebes, Neotropic Cormorants, Red-Eared Sliders, Red-Winged Blackbirds, White-Faced Ibis, and White Ibis. At distances too far to photo, I saw Snowy Egrets, a Tricolored Heron, Roseate Spoonbills, and most likely dabblers besides the teals and shovelers I photographed.

Until today, I’d been planning to drive all the way to northwest Florida on this trip, but I’ve reconsidered. I looked at my maps and saw little in the way of natural habitat along the road ahead until well down the Florida gulf coast. My drive time to get there and back would be considerable. Time for explorations would further complicate the schedule. I hope to experience as much of spring migration in the lower Rio Grande as I can. A trip to Florida would cut into the time I want at South Padre Island and other key locations in The Valley. My explorations in Florida will have to wait until another trip. With explorations east of the Mississippi River off the docket. I will drive no further east than an hour and a half from Port Arthur (Texas) to visit a couple of reserves in south Louisiana. Then I will explore some reserves I passed by while driving east.

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