Houston Arboretum & Nature Center – Houston – Texas.
Bird species seen 12.
Today we took a drive to the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center which is located on the west side of Houston and situated within the Memorial Park area. This is and has been a picnic and camping place for Houston residents since the 1800’s. As we arrived the clouds were grey and it looked like rain would be arriving at the same time as we did? Thankfully the rain managed to stay off, however the heat didn’t and this meant that our walk would be one of a leisurely slow pace, stopping every now and then to rest to take in more water.
Taking the trails through the reserve we came upon swamps, meadows and woodland, the first birds seen were White Winged Doves which there were a great many followed by Starlings, American Crow, Mourning Dove, Mockingbird and American Robin. Stopping at the first swamp area for a short rest we noticed that many of the lily pads were moving, soon the reason was plain to see as the local Red Eared Slider Turtles were going about their business of feeding.
As we walked around many of the fallen trees had Ground Skink Lizards posing motionless and at times were showing their bright orange throats. Swamp Rabbits were seen along with Fox Squirrels. On our approach to the birding platform overlooking Buffalo Bayou we were made aware of the other larger reptiles that inhabit this area, sadly we didn’t come across any Alligators, but were mindful that they are there and we needed to keep an eye out at all times.
Other birds of note were Red Headed Woodpecker, Red Tailed Hawk, Carolina Chickadee and Loggerhead Shrike.The highlight for me was to see my first ever Ruby Throated Hummingbird a truly fabulous tiny bird which is currently moving through Texas on its migration.
A very exhausting day due to the high temperatures, but seeing todays wildlife was worth every moment. The Butterflies were in abundance, however keeping up with them proved to be impossoble! This Gulf Fritillary stayed just long enough for a record shot.