It was a dark and stormy day when seven doughty LTVBC members ventured onto the roads of Chambers County on January 27 in pursuit of birding fame and glory. The “Magnificent Seven” survived unscathed and with some lifers tucked into their belts at the end of the day. The waterproof participants were Renie O’Connor, Mary Hannigan, Ceal Stirling, Barbara Tilton, Joe Hall, Gary Holmes, and Marvin Masters.
Stops where made at ANWR and the Double Bayou Park. Flooding had closed the Skillern Tract trail, but vehicular birding through fogged windows rewarded the group with the sight of close to a bajillion (give or take a few thousand) blackbirds feeding in flooded cut-over rice fields along the access road. Danger was present under the threatening skies as lightning flashed and hundreds of Common Gallinule swarmed the roadways and muddy shoulders of the roads of ANWR in pursuit of drowned insects. The throngs of COGA (four-letter Bird Banding Code nomenclature) threatened to damage car tires with their pointy beaks and long pointy toes as they crossed and re-crossed the road in front of the group’s vehicles. The question was asked why did the marsh hen cross the road and the answer given—to get to the other side so they could turn around and cross again. Other road warriors included an elusive Black Rail and a well-fed and brave King Rail that royally paraded before the group’s binoculars for a couple of minutes - Noblesse oblige.
At Frozen Point, Wilson’s Snipe (15) were more seen than heard at the former home of the Burrowing Owl as on East Bay fishing groups of Red-Breasted Mergansers (75) and Cormorants (20) snapped up a fishy bounty. The participants ended the day cold and wet but with their perseverance in the face of adverse weather well rewarded.
Photos by Marvin Masters