Join Jon Dunn, one of North Americas most knowledgeable ornithologists, for a birding tour of the Bolivar Peninsula. This peninsula stretches east of the confluence of the Galveston Bay system and the Gulf of Mexico. This barrier peninsula is the result of natural processes and human activity. Its natural features pull in fisherman, beach combers, shell collectors and birders. Thousands of Houstonians seek out Bolivar’s beaches every weekend but on any given day the birds far outnumber the humans.
The peninsula holds habitat zones that drift between brackish and briny depending on the tides. These habitats serve as the hatcheries for many species of saltwater fish. Fresh water is available on Bolivar, too. Between Bolivar’s shores, lie patches of coastal prairie grasses, willow and mangrove that surround rain charged ponds.
Its blend of wetland and tidal habitats hold lots of bird species not normally found together. But the peninsula attracts and holds birds year-round for three reasons: location, location, location. During spring migration, Bolivar is often the first spit of land migrants see marking the end of a Gulf crossing. Migrating shorebirds and songbirds mix with resident waders and wintering waterfowl.
We will follow Hwy 87 to Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary, a Globally Important Bird Area and an International site in the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network. This Sanctuary can surprise with a view of a few thousand waterbirds roosting on the flats and several hundred nesting species on the shore including the Least tern. We will visit additional areas along the peninsula depending on the tides, weather, and your leader’s expertise. Be sure to look up as we head back to Galveston Island, perhaps you will spot a Magnificent Frigatebird cruising over the bay!
Targets: Expect to see at least 80 – 100 species! For example, 5 species of plovers, 7 species of terns, 4 species of gulls, Dowitchers, Peregrine Falcon, Northern Harrier, American Avocet, Marbled Godwit, Long-billed Curlew, Whimbrel, Red Knot, White-tailed Kite, Marsh Wren, Seaside Sparrow, Clapper Rail and Osprey
Bring: water, lunch, sunscreen, bug spray