Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge on the Texas Gulf Coast is one of my favorite places for birding. It's an hour-and-a-half drive from my house, if the traffic is light, but it is well worth the effort.
In the past, we've had a family tradition of visiting Anahuac every January, often on January 1. It's a nice way to start off the year. We haven't made the trip yet this year, but I'm hoping we will be able to in the next couple of weeks.
Looking back over my records from previous January trips, I selected some of my bird photographs to show you. The refuge is visited by more than 300 species of birds throughout the year. Not all of them are there in January, but here are a few that are.
American Coots with their striking red eyes are always plentiful on the refuge.
Forster's Tern searching for lunch over the bay waters.
A small flock of Red-breasted Mergansers bob along in the waters.
Willets look like very plain birds until they take flight and you can see their colorful underwings.
Black-necked Stilts search the marshes for their lunch.
There are thousands of Snow Geese at the refuge in January and most of them are truly snowy, but a few are of this dark phase variety. They do stand out in the flock.
Pied-billed Grebes are present every month of the year.
Where the flocks of geese go, flocks of raptors of many kinds follow. Often they are difficult to identify, but there is no doubt about this guy's identity; it is a Red-tailed Hawk.
Little Savannah Sparrows are numerous at the refuge.
I think the Green Heron is one of the most attractive members of the heron-egret family.
Double-crested Cormorant posing for its portrait.
Several Great Egrets with a few White-eyed Ibises in the foreground.
This Greater Yellowlegs seems to be wondering what that object is that I'm holding.
Both Brown Pelicans and White are present on the refuge. Here is one of the Whites in flight over the bay.
Any visit to the refuge would not be complete without encountering at least one Great Blue Heron.