Landscapes & Birds

One of the appealing aspects of landscape photography for me is the opportunity to be outdoors, typically in the early morning or late evening, and the peace and solitude I find in the experience (most people don’t want to be up and out at 5:00 AM).  My most recent foray was a visit to Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge and the High Island rookery in June 2017.  The refuge is about a 90 minute drive from my home meaning I’d have to be on the road by no later than 5:00 AM to be in place in time to shoot at sunrise.

A quote from the web site best describes the refuge: “The meandering bayous of Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge cut through ancient flood plains, creating vast expanses of coastal marsh and prairie bordering Galveston Bay in southeast Texas. The marshes and prairies are host or home to an abundance of wildlife, from migratory birds, to alligators, to bobcats, and more.”  The refuge, established in 1943, includes more than 34,000 acres.  The marshes and prairies are managed to achieve a protected environment for migrating, wintering and breeding waterfowl, shorebirds and waterbirds, and provide strategic and crucial nesting areas for migratory songbirds.

I setup and took my first shots west of Shoveler Pond.

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Sunrise, Shoveler Pond, Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge

The sunrise images above and following are composed of bracketed exposures blended in post-processing.

 

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Sunrise, Shoveler Pond, Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge
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Early morning light on marsh, Shoveler Pond

Shortly after sunrise an overcast sky robbed me of the morning light.  It seemed a good opportunity to shoot a few water lily blooms like the one shown here.

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Water Lotus Flower, Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge

The following shot taken a bit later in the morning at Shoveler Pond provides an appreciation of field of Water Lotus growing on the pond.

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Water Lotus on Shoveler Pond, Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge

I saw numerous common bird species in and around Shoveler Pond.  A few images included here.

One species of plant I didn’t expect to see in the refuge given the location was cacti.  As you can see the flora in the refuge is quite varied.

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Cacti, Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge

Later in the day I visited the Smith Oaks Rookery, managed by the Houston Audubon Society.  The rookery is located south east of the entrance to the refuge in High Island Texas and is worthwhile stop if you’re in the area.  Although later in the year ,there were still Roseate Spoonbills nesting in and around Claybottom Pond.

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Roseate Spoonbill nest, Smith Oaks Rookery, High Island Texas
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Roseate Spoonbill in flight, Smith Oaks Rookery, High Island Texas

All in all it was day well spent.  I hope you enjoyed the images I captured during my visit.