We will concentrate on gaining a deeper understanding of bird identification. Our approach is to observe differences in body structure, behavior, habitat preferences, and feeding styles of various species of birds. This trip allows us time to observe and discover the distinct characteristics of each species as opposed to generating a list of a larger number of species that we know little about. Notebooks are encouraged!
We will first travel to east beach, viewing a precious and increasingly rare ecosystem. We will explore 684 acres of Galveston’s largest undeveloped habitat including one of the few remaining sizable tracts of coastal prairie. The site contains both tidal and nontidal wetlands, beach dunes, a freshwater pond, black mangroves and upland prairie, along with an extensive marine coastline. The wetlands and lagoon create a variety of food sources that attract many species of birds. Raptors hunt in the grassy uplands, which serve as a breeding ground for certain species and winter habitat for different birds. Sandpipers and plovers pick for food along the sandy edges of the lagoon and ship channel, while large flocks of gulls, pelicans, terns and cormorants often rest on the sandbars along the beach.
We then travel to Corps Woods, an area of woods, brush, grasses and fresh water, accessed by paths, decks and a viewing blind. This area is famous for migrating songbirds. Here we will search buntings, tanagers, and warblers, among others and learn identification strategies for these colorful migrants.