On Tuesday, I finally got around to reading my favorite section of USA Today. Destinations appears in the Friday edition. The waves, sun and beach of High Island, Texas had been my weekend priority, not the newspaper. So imagine my gasp aloud, when I found High Island featured in page 11D in the article “10 great places to experience spring on the wing” – a listing of Audubon Society President John Flicker’s favorite spring bird-watching sites.
According to Flicker, High Island is one of the best places to view the spring migration of millions of birds flying up to the Texas Gulf Coast from Mexico. He also mentioned that the Houston Audubon Society has four sanctuaries on the island. We noticed two as we explored the island over the weekend.
I am not a bird watcher because of a fright involving birds as a child. I keep a respectful distance away from birds. Ed, on the other hand, loves winged creatures. So when he gets excited about seeing a bird, our daughter teases him that he’s on his way to winning a fictitious game of Exotic Bird Bingo.
If Ed truly held a game card, he’d have claimed the prize. Our travels through Texas since January gave us opportunities to see all kinds of birds, more than we could identify without study. We had sat in bird blinds in Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park to watch Green Jays, Olive Sparrows, and Altamira Orioles. Throughout the Park, we watched flocks of noisy Chachalaca feeding. During a bicycle ride in Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, we enjoyed seeing ducks dive for food and float on the glassy surface of Cattail Lake. On High Island, I counted the number of Pelicans flying overhead. There were as many as 9, 13 and 27 Pelicans flocked together. Some pelicans just rested on poles of what may once have been piers jetting into the Gulf. We recognized Great Egrets in the Island’s wetlands, but there were so many more that Ed or I could not name. If we knew the names of all the birds we’ve seen, Ed would be shouting “BINGO!”