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Events for Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - Sunday, April 22, 2018 › Birding Field Trips

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April 2018
Tuesday, April 17, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - Wednesday, April 18, 2018 @ 4:30 pm

The Lagow Ranch is a working ranch with rice fields, plowed fields, pasture land, brackish marsh and a fresh water reservoir. This property is located between the main and East units of Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge and has been maintained for many years to provide excellent habitat for wildlife. In the winter, waterfowl abound and there should still be some of them around at festival time. The reservoir has large patches of open water and Sea Cane which attracts water…

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018 @ 7:00 am - 1:00 pm

We are very excited to be able to offer this pre-festival trip to our FeatherFest registrants once again! Only an hour or so west of Houston, the Katy Prairie contains a wide array of habitats critical to migratory and resident birds including coastal prairie uplands, agricultural grassland, prairie and agricultural wetlands, bottomland hardwoods and wetlands, and freshwater impoundments.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018 @ 1:30 pm - 5:30 pm

The Lagow Ranch is a working ranch with rice fields, plowed fields, pasture land, brackish marsh and a fresh water reservoir. This property is located between the main and East unit of Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge and has been maintained for many years to provide excellent habitat for wildlife. In the winter waterfowl abound and there should be some of them left in the spring. The reservoir has large patches of open water and Sea Cane which attracts water loving…

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Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 6:30 am - 11:30 am

Galveston is a Gulf coastal island renowned for its many habitats. On the Gulf beaches, you’ll scan out on the swells and incoming surf for rafts of waterfowl and seabirds. Walking along the beach the edge of the surf is active with the antics of the island’s year-round and migrating peeps, Reddish and Great blue herons and shorebirds foraging on “what the tide brung-in.” Away from the water among the dunes of San Luis Pass, East Beach and GISP Savannah and Horned lark flit about. Beyond the dunes are briny ponds holding roosting seabirds, Nelson’s and Seaside sparrow, rails, coots and water birds. In the Bay and tidal marshes migrating and nesting herons, egrets and cormorant in their breeding best, forage. The avian fauna is always in flux with the advance and retreat of the tide moving the food chain in and out. Among the tidally influenced habits and the open coastal prairies and oak mottes migrating songbirds need to refuel and find fresh water.

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Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 6:30 am - 3:30 pm

Boy Scout Woods, Smith Oaks, The Rookery, and more! The accident of geology makes the Upper Texas Coast a beacon to weary neotropical migrants finishing a 10+ hour, nonstop flight across the Gulf of Mexico. From under an ancient sea, a salt dome emerged. After a few thousand years the dome reached just 38-feet above a pancake-flat coastal plain where it became covered with 20-30-foot oak trees, creating a vast canopy. This created High Island, which is now a beacon…

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Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 6:30 am - 3:00 pm

Join Greg Miller at what is called “one of the finest migratory locations in North America” – the southern end of the Bolivar Peninsula. Shorebirds, terns, herons, egrets and other water birds will give participants an unforgettable field experience. 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, Marbled Godwit, Long-billed Curlew, Whimbrel, Red Knot, White-tailed Kite, Marsh Wren, Seaside…

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Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 7:00 am - 12:00 pm

The group will travel by bus to the Nature Conservancy’s Texas City Prairie Preserve. This preserve is 2,303 acres of coastal prairie at the intersection of urban expanse and rural beauty. The coastal grasslands found here are vital to the natural resilience of the Gulf Coast—prairies and marshlands act as a natural buffer during storms and hurricanes, absorbing and dispersing water from storm surges and floods. The sponge-like qualities of the prairie are also important for filtering the freshwater that…

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Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 8:00 am - 12:30 pm

FeatherFest favorite Glenn Olsen is so much fun to bird with that we decided to add a trip where he will concentrate on just Galveston Island! We’ll let Glenn decide where he wants to go depending on what he’s scouted out before the festival. He’ll check out Corps Woods, Lafitte’s Cove, the East End Flats, Sportsman Road and sites all the way to San Luis Pass so that he’ll be able to take you to all the best birding spots…

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Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 10:15 am - 3:45 pm

Birders will find this workshop and field trip the perfect introduction to coastal birding. You will spend the first hour and 15 minutes in a workshop learning about the diversity of species and state of the art techniques to rapidly identify birds on the Upper Texas Coast.  After a lunch break, we will meet back at headquarters at 12:45 p.m. to board our bus and head out to one of the hotspots on the Upper Texas Coast where we will view these incredible birds. The trip is designed to give each participant the extra attention needed to develop a skill set to have confidence in the field.

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Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 12:30 pm - 4:30 pm

This field trip searches for the spring songbird richness found on West Galveston Island, with a special emphasis on warblers, vireos, tanagers, orioles, grosbeaks and buntings. Guests will walk through Lafitte’s Cove Nature Preserve, Galveston’s crown jewel for migrating songbirds. Several species of vireos and warblers were seen in the oak mott last spring. Freshwater ponds at the entrance to the preserve provide up-close views of migrating shorebirds, ducks, both species of dowitchers and yellowlegs, Solitary, and Pectoral Sandpipers, Marsh…

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Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 12:45 pm - 5:00 pm

This is your opportunity to explore “the other side” of Galveston Bay. We head over the causeway bridge to explore birding areas on the Mainland side of Galveston Bay in the Tiki Island, Texas City, and La Marque areas. One of our best kept secrets and most under explored areas, participants will be surprised at the number and variety of birds seen on this outing. Birding locations will include some privately-owned land with fresh water ponds that provide easy observation…

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Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 5:30 am - 3:30 pm

This is a 75-mile bus trip to Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge which is located on the mainland side of East Galveston Bay. With 35,000 acres of brackish and freshwater marsh, flooded moist soil units and the East Galveston Bay shoreline, the refuge offers the full range of coastal and migratory birds. Park roads, trails and boardwalks provide excellent viewing of several varieties of rails, herons, egrets, waterfowl, Seaside Sparrows, late Nelson’s Sparrows, Sedge and Marsh Wrens, some raptors, early migrant…

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Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 5:45 am - 1:30 pm

The first part of this trip is similar to the trip to Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge. It will head west over the San Luis Pass bridge and off Galveston Island. The first destination will be Gulf Coast Bird Observatory to watch migrant songbirds being caught in mist nets and banded by professional bird banders. The bus will then continue to San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge and search for spring migrating songbirds, late waterfowl and shorebirds. This 54,000 acre wildlife refuge…

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Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 6:00 am - 2:00 pm

Photo: Dave Williams We are pleased to offer a very special birding adventure with one of the worlds foremost birders (or in his own words “bird lover”), our own Victor Emanuel! Join Victor on a trip to one of the finest migratory locations in North America – the western end of the Bolivar Peninsula. Here are the Houston Audubon Horseshoe Marsh and Bolivar Flats bird sanctuaries. This combination of salt marsh, mud flats and beachfront hold the highest rated designation…

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Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 6:30 am - 3:30 pm

Boy Scout Woods, Smith Oaks, The Rookery, and more!
The accident of geology makes the Upper Texas Coast a beacon to weary neotropical migrants finishing a 10+ hour, nonstop flight across the Gulf of Mexico. From under an ancient sea, a salt dome emerged. After a few thousand years the dome reached just 38-feet above a pancake-flat coastal plain where it became covered with 20-30-foot oak trees, creating a vast canopy. This created High Island, which is now a beacon to weary Trans-Gulf migrants. This area provides wooded habitat that supplies food, water and places to rest for these migrants.

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Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 6:30 am - 3:00 pm

Have you ever wondered what the Texas Birding Classic, Birdathon and birding competitions are all about? Here’s your chance to have that experience! Local birders will lead you to their best, secret Galveston County birding locations where participants will spot, listen, locate, describe, identify, verify, agree, record, and count as many feathered species as possible within an 8-hour period. The goal of the group will be to find more bird species than the previous high number for this trip, which…

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Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 6:30 am - 3:00 pm

Bird Galveston Island with one of the world's most famous birders! In 1998, Greg zig-zagged 130,000 miles across the USA hoping to reach at least 700 species of birds in one calendar year. His effort was chronicled in Mark Obmascik's novel, The Big Year, which later became a movie. You'll see the great diversity of the Island as Greg leads you to all of the birding hot spots - East Beach, Corps Woods, Laffites Cove, Sportsman Road, San Luis Pass…

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Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 7:15 am - 11:15 am

Participants will travel to Galveston Island West End shorebird hot spots to bird the freshwater ponds, coastal marshes and bay waters. These areas provide habitat for Clapper Rails, Black-necked Stilts, Common Loons, diving ducks and “peeps.” There’s excellent viewing of American Oystercatchers, Dunlins, Ruddy Turnstones, dowitchers, gulls and terns that gather on the private piers on Sportsman Road. At the far end of the Island, the San Luis Pass mudflats and marshes provide close-up viewing of American Avocet, American White…

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Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 8:00 am - 11:00 am

Drive your own car to the Galveston Island State Park for a delightful, natural experience. Enjoy paddling in a provided kayak while slowly exploring the open lagoons and marshes of Galveston Island State Park, one of the area’s premier ecological jewels. This 2,000-acre public park offers a multitude of habitats that support a wide variety of birds: waders like herons, egrets, Roseate Spoonbills and shorebirds; waterfowl and overhead raptors like ospreys; White-tailed Kites and Northern Harriers. If you have time…

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Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 8:15 am - 12:45 pm

The spectacle of a water bird nesting rookery is a birder “must see.” North Deer Island has 1.7 miles of protected shoreline which supports nesting habitat for the threatened Reddish Egret and 16 other bird species. Rookeries dot the Texas Gulf coast. Among the best in Texas is 144-acre North Deer Island shared by nesting herons, egrets, ibis, cormorants, shorebirds and seabirds. You’ll witness the sight, sounds and smells of thousands of Brown pelican (approximately 40% of TX coastal nesters),…

Find out more »
Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 10:45 am - 4:00 pm

Birders will find this workshop and field trip the perfect introduction to coastal birding. You will spend the first hour and 15 minutes in a workshop learning about the diversity of species and state of the art techniques to rapidly identify birds on the Upper Texas Coast.  After a lunch break, we will meet back at headquarters at 1:00 p.m. to board our bus and head out to one of the hotspots on the Upper Texas Coast where we will…

Find out more »
Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 10:45 am - 4:00 pm

This workshop and field trip is for beginning birders learning the fundamentals and those wanting to brush up on their birding skills. You will spend the first hour and 15 minutes in a workshop learning how to get started and improve birding skills, techniques, and confidence. Topics include: birding practices, optics selection and use, field guides, bird identification considerations and techniques, field notebooks, birding etiquette and ethics, and common birds of Galveston Island. Emphasis will be placed on the field…

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Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 12:30 pm - 4:30 pm

This field trip searches for the spring songbird richness found on West Galveston Island, with a special emphasis on warblers, vireos, tanagers, orioles, grosbeaks and buntings. Guests will walk through Lafitte’s Cove Nature Preserve, Galveston’s crown jewel for migrating songbirds. Several species of vireos and warblers were seen in the oak mott last spring. Freshwater ponds at the entrance to the preserve provide up-close views of migrating shorebirds, ducks, both species of dowitchers and yellowlegs, Solitary, and Pectoral Sandpipers, Marsh…

Find out more »
Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Galveston Island has all the habitats associated with a barrier island – beach, uplands, fresh water ponds, brackish lagoons and wetlands. Join local birders Allen Hardee and Chuck Davis on this “birdy” trip as you learn to identify Black Skimmers, gulls, terns, sandpipers, plovers, herons, egrets, ibis, spoonbills, ducks and much more.

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Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 5:30 am - 3:30 pm

Six rail species winter or live year-round at the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge. This year, with an earlier departure time than in past years, this trip provides a good possibility for seeing or hearing them all – Yellow, Black, Sora, Virginia, Clapper and King Rails. Before the Yellow Rail Walk, the morning will begin with a search for Black Rails, which are very hard to see but can be heard calling most mornings in the spring. Participants may then choose…

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Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 5:30 am - 12:30 pm

Explore the mainland beyond the western tip of Galveston Island, along Bluewater Highway, and in route to Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, with guides who know this very pleasant trip well. BNWR is a 40,000-acre refuge famous for its spectacular birding.

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Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 6:00 am - 4:00 pm

Join FeatherFest favorite Glenn Olsen of GO Birding Ecotours and his logistics team to engage in this fast-paced, fun competition to top birding sites on Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula. Glenn's Team is one of two teams competing to identify the most species of birds on this one day adventure. The second team will be led by Greg Miller.

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Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 6:00 am - 4:00 pm

Join birding expert Greg Miller (of “The Big Year” fame) and his logistics team to engage in this fast-paced, fun competition to top birding sites on Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula. Greg’s team is one of two teams competing to identify the most species of birds on this one day adventure. The second team will be led by Glenn Olsen.

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Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 6:00 am - 2:00 pm

Birding Bolivar is Dick Peake’s favorite local event! Guests will explore various habitats on the peninsula, e.g., sand flats, grassy prairies, jetties, tidal sloughs, wooded lots, and Fort Travis. The Bolivar sand flats area is known as one of the finest migratory locations in North America for shorebirds, terns, herons, egrets and other water birds. It is a designated habitat for the protection of the endangered, wintering Piping Plover. Targets: Expect to see at least 80 – 100 species! For…

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Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 6:30 am - 3:30 pm

Boy Scout Woods, Smith Oaks, The Rookery, and more! The accident of geology makes the Upper Texas Coast a beacon to weary neotropical migrants finishing a 10+ hour, nonstop flight across the Gulf of Mexico. From under an ancient sea, a salt dome emerged. After a few thousand years the dome reached just 38-feet above a pancake-flat coastal plain where it became covered with 20-30-foot oak trees, creating a vast canopy. This created High Island, which is now a beacon…

Find out more »
Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 6:45 am - 11:45 am

The group will travel by bus to the Nature Conservancy’s Texas City Prairie Preserve. This preserve is 2,303 acres of coastal prairie at the intersection of urban expanse and rural beauty. The coastal grasslands found here are vital to the natural resilience of the Gulf Coast—prairies and marshlands act as a natural buffer during storms and hurricanes, absorbing and dispersing water from storm surges and floods. The sponge-like qualities of the prairie are also important for filtering the freshwater that…

Find out more »
Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 7:15 am - 11:15 am

Participants will travel to Galveston Island West End shorebird hot spots to bird the freshwater ponds, coastal marshes and bay waters. These areas provide habitat for Clapper Rails, Black-necked Stilts, Common Loons, diving ducks and “peeps.” There’s excellent viewing of American Oystercatchers, Dunlins, Ruddy Turnstones, dowitchers, gulls and terns that gather on the private piers on Sportsman Road. At the far end of the Island, the San Luis Pass mudflats and marshes provide close-up viewing of American Avocet, American White…

Find out more »
Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 8:00 am - 11:00 am

Photo: Christine Sntkin Drive your own car to the Galveston Island State Park for a delightful, natural experience. Enjoy paddling in a provided kayak while slowly exploring the open lagoons and marshes of Galveston Island State Park, one of the area’s premier ecological jewels. This 2,000-acre public park offers a multitude of habitats that support a wide variety of birds: waders like herons, egrets, Roseate Spoonbills and shorebirds; waterfowl and overhead raptors like ospreys; White-tailed Kites and Northern Harriers. If…

Find out more »
Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 12:00 pm - 4:30 pm

The spectacle of a water bird nesting rookery is a birder “must see.” North Deer Island has 1.7 miles of protected shoreline which supports nesting habitat for the threatened Reddish Egret and 16 other bird species. Rookeries dot the Texas Gulf coast. Among the best in Texas is 144-acre North Deer Island shared by nesting herons, egrets, ibis, cormorants, shorebirds and seabirds. You’ll witness the sight, sounds and smells of thousands of Brown pelican (approximately 40% of TX coastal nesters),…

Find out more »
Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 12:30 pm - 4:30 pm

This field trip searches for the spring songbird richness found on West Galveston Island, with a special emphasis on warblers, vireos, tanagers, orioles, grosbeaks and buntings. Guests will walk through Lafitte’s Cove Nature Preserve, Galveston’s crown jewel for migrating songbirds. Several species of vireos and warblers were seen in the oak mott last spring. Freshwater ponds at the entrance to the preserve provide up-close views of migrating shorebirds, ducks, both species of dowitchers and yellowlegs, Solitary, and Pectoral Sandpipers, Marsh…

Find out more »
Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 12:45 pm - 5:00 pm

This is your opportunity to explore “the other side” of Galveston Bay. We head over the causeway bridge to explore birding areas on the Mainland side of Galveston Bay in the Tiki Island, Texas City, and La Marque areas. One of our best kept secrets and most under explored areas, participants will be surprised at the number and variety of birds seen on this outing. Birding locations will include some privately-owned land with fresh water ponds that provide easy observation…

Find out more »
Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 1:30 pm - 5:30 pm

What can a birder do in the middle of the day when the sun is high and bird activity may be low? Why look at other critters, of course, like butterflies, and dragonflies and damselflies – insects that are active when the day warms up. On this trip, you'll have an opportunity to identify these insects in the field. Water features at Galveston Island State Park attract adult dragonflies and damselflies and also provide an opportunity to look at their…

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Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 7:30 am - 12:00 pm

The spectacle of a water bird nesting rookery is a birder “must see.” North Deer Island has 1.7 miles of protected shoreline which supports nesting habitat for the threatened Reddish Egret and 16 other bird species. Rookeries dot the Texas Gulf coast. Among the best in Texas is 144-acre North Deer Island shared by nesting herons, egrets, ibis, cormorants, shorebirds and seabirds. You’ll witness the sight, sounds and smells of thousands of Brown pelican (approximately 40% of TX coastal nesters),…

Find out more »
Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 7:30 am - 12:00 pm

This fast-paced event will visit Galveston Island sites where birding over the previous three days has been the best, recognizing that weather conditions may be different. It’s a shorter version of the ever-popular Galveston Complete Birding Sampler. This may also be your chance, if you missed a bird on the Island, to ask your trip leaders if you might visit the site where it was seen. Targets: sandpipers, plovers, herons, egrets, ibis, spoonbills, gulls, terns, ducks, early migrating songbirds and…

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Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 7:30 am - 11:30 am

Back by popular demand, we offer this select trip to a dozen lucky people. You will be guided by one of our most experienced birders and all-around nature lover, Glenn Olsen. Glenn leads nature tours in the US and overseas but he calls the upper Texas coast home. His extensive knowledge of local birding areas is sure to yield excellent views of migrating warblers as they move through our area on their way to nesting habitat. As a bonus, Glenn is also…

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Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 7:45 am - 12:45 pm

Galveston is a Gulf coastal island renowned for its many habitats. On the Gulf beaches, you’ll scan out on the swells and incoming surf for rafts of waterfowl and seabirds. Walking along the beach the edge of the surf is active with the antics of the island’s year-round and migrating peeps, Reddish and Great blue herons and shorebirds foraging on “what the tide brung-in.” Away from the water among the dunes of San Luis Pass, East Beach and GISP Savannah and Horned lark flit about. Beyond the dunes are briny ponds holding roosting seabirds, Nelson’s and Seaside sparrow, rails, coots and water birds. In the Bay and tidal marshes migrating and nesting herons, egrets and cormorant in their breeding best, forage. The avian fauna is always in flux with the advance and retreat of the tide moving the food chain in and out. Among the tidally influenced habits and the open coastal prairies and oak mottes migrating songbirds need to refuel and find fresh water.

Find out more »
Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 8:00 am - 12:00 pm

Brazos Bend can be the perfect ending to your FeatherFest experience! Drive your own car to beautiful Brazos Bend State Park and meet with local guides, Mark Scheuerman and Kristine Rivers. Note: Drive time to Brazos Bend is about 1 ½ hours from FeatherFest Headquarters. The park opens at 8:00 am This beautiful state park is 4,897 acres along the Brazos River in Needville, Texas, and has land in the Brazos River Floodplain with magnificent moss-covered and vine-draped live oak…

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Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 8:00 am - 11:00 am

Photo: Christine Sntkin Drive your own car to the Galveston Island State Park for a delightful, natural experience. Enjoy paddling in a provided kayak while slowly exploring the open lagoons and marshes of Galveston Island State Park, one of the area’s premier ecological jewels. This 2,000-acre public park offers a multitude of habitats that support a wide variety of birds: waders like herons, egrets, Roseate Spoonbills and shorebirds; waterfowl and overhead raptors like ospreys; White-tailed Kites and Northern Harriers. If…

Find out more »
Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 8:00 am - 12:30 pm

Close out your FeatherFest experience with a morning trip to Galveston’s magic West End, visiting Jim’s favorite spots. Every day a new batch of birds arrives, and this is the middle of the migration. Jim says there’s a real chance for a hundred species!    

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Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 8:30 am - 12:30 pm

Participants new to coastal birding and novice birders will find this workshop and field trip the perfect opportunity to learn about songbirds. The workshop will focus on identification of wintering and early migrating songbirds seen on the Upper Texas Coast. Slides of common songbirds found this time of year will be presented and tips on becoming a better birder will be shared. After the workshop, you’ll have the perfect opportunity to put what you’ve learned to practice on an easy-going…

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Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 9:00 am - 1:15 pm

This is your opportunity to explore “the other side” of Galveston Bay. We head over the causeway bridge to explore birding areas on the Mainland side of Galveston Bay in the Tiki Island, Texas City, and La Marque areas. One of our best kept secrets and most under explored areas, participants will be surprised at the number and variety of birds seen on this outing. Birding locations will include some privately-owned land with fresh water ponds that provide easy observation…

Find out more »