Spring migration is almost over but breeding season has just begun.
So, don’t pack up your binocular and scope just yet. There’s still plenty of birds to see here in Southeast Texas.
A great place to catch some of the action is the Trinity River Waterbird Rookery just east of Houston off of Interstate 10.
Neotropic Cormorants, Roseate Spoonbills and Anhingas are just some of the birds that breed in the bottomland hardwood forest. Yellow-Crowned Night-Herons, Great Egrets, Tricolored Herons, Little Blue Herons and Snowy Egrets also frequent the site.
Just last week, families of Neotropic Cormorants, Roseate Spoonbills and Anhingas perched on nests nuzzled in the rookery’s bald cypress trees. Viewers standing on a nearby observation deck could see the adult birds feeding their young.
Situated along a main migration route, the Trinity Waterbird Rookery is managed by the Army Corps of Engineers and is part of the Wallisville Lake Project, a 23,000-acre complex designed to prevent saltwater intrusion into the Trinity River and provide a variety of recreational opportunities to people far and wide.
Colonial water birds, shore birds, waterfowl, songbirds and raptors call Wallisville home for breeding, wintering or temporary residence during migration. Mammals large and small find forage and shelter in the grasslands, forests and swamps. And, the American alligator can be seen sunning near or swimming in the project’s waters.
More than 200,000 people are drawn to the Wallisville Lake Project annually. Thousands make a trip to the Trinity Waterbird Rookery, which is popular year round, attracting several species of ducks, Wideons, Blue- and Green-Winged Teal, Mallards, Gadwalls and Rink-Necked Ducks during the winter.
The rookery is such a good place to bird, it is noted as a hotspot on eBird, a real-time, online bird checklist program designed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society.
To get to the rookery, take Exit 807 off I-10. A sign adorns the entrance to the wooden walkway that will take you to a sizable observation deck.
If you go soon, you can see a Cliff Swallow colony nesting under the nearby interstate bridge girder. The colony’s babies should be hatching within the next 30 days.
For more information about birding in Southeast Texas as well as lodging in the area go to: http://chamberswild.com/?page_id=1175.
A map of favorite birding hotspots can be found at: https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=215276143441638350996.0004ae679b6c03377c49a&msa=0.
A short video of the Trinity Waterbird Rookery can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6w-bt9f9N88.