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Senior Bus Trip to Smith Point Hawk Watch

The Houston Audubon Senior Bus Trip on Thursday, October 24. 2019, took the hearty group east to Smith Point Hawk Watch, Anahuac NWR and Turtle Bayou Nature Preserve. We departed Houston early and headed to our first stop at Buc ee’s after quite a bit of traffic issues. From there we headed towards the hawk watch. 

We stopped at Whitehead Ranch along the road to see the Bald Eagles at their nest before proceeding further south. The hawk watch was buzzing with Broad-wing kettles and close looks at Swainson’s Hawks, accipiters and a very dark morph Broad-wing. Hawkins Camp road was still flooded so we only got part way before having to back the bus up. 

After a great visit with Bob at the hawk watch we headed east to Anahuac to see caracara and kites. The coots and gallinules were abundant along with teal and whistling ducks. Departing Anahuac for the return trip to Houston we stopped at Turtle Bayou Nature Preserve. Turtle Bayou Nature Preserve is comprised of 514 acres of protected wetland, prairie and forested habitats along Turtle Bayou and Lake Anahuac in Chambers County. The Preserve is owned by the Chambers-Liberty Counties Navigation District, for the purposes of preserving coastal habitat and protecting water quality. Galveston Bay Foundation holds a conservation easement on the property to permanently protect the land. 

We were able to rustle up a Common Yellowthroat hiding in the vegetation and 2 Bald Eagles soaring overhead. It was a beautiful day spent with great folks! We truly appreciate Harris County for providing the transportation and all the people who work and volunteer at these destinations to protect habitat for wildlife and to make it accessible to all.

Photo gallery

Smith Point--Candy Abshier WMA (UTC 048)(GCBO Hawk Watch loc.), Chambers, Texas, US

Oct 24, 2019 10:24 AM - 11:51 AM

Protocol: Stationary

16 species (+2 other taxa)


duck sp. (Anatinae sp.)  5

Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)  1

cormorant sp. (Phalacrocoracidae sp.)  5

American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)  30

Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)  11

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  1

Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)  26

Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja)  2

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  11

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)  1

Northern Harrier (Circus hudsonius)  4

Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)  2

Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus)  30

Swainson's Hawk (Buteo swainsoni)  2

Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)  2

American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  3

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)  1

Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)  1


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Turtle Bayou Nature Preserve--West Tract, Chambers, Texas, US

Oct 24, 2019 2:49 PM - 3:03 PM

Protocol: Traveling

1.0 mile(s)

5 species


Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)  2

Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)  1

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  2

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)  1

Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)  1


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Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Anahuac US-TX (29.6119,-94.5333), Chambers, Texas, US

Oct 24, 2019 12:19 PM - 1:56 PM

Protocol: Traveling

3.0 mile(s)

26 species


Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis)  67

Blue-winged Teal (Spatula discors)  45

American Wigeon (Mareca americana)  3

Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)  1

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  3

Common Gallinule (Gallinula galeata)  34

American Coot (Fulica americana)  58

Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinica)  1

Neotropic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax brasilianus)  2

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  1

Great Egret (Ardea alba)  2

Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)  1

Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor)  3

White Ibis (Eudocimus albus)  1

Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)  1

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  3

White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus)  1

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  1

Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway)  1

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus)  2

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)  1

Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris)  4

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)  4

Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)  2

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  4

Boat-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus major)  2

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