Finding birds in sprawling urban Houston is suprisingly easy – if you know where to look. From the street or garden (aka backyard in the US) the best bet is to look up. Trees, overhead wires and telegraph poles offer perching places for a pleasing variety – mockingbirds, blue jays, northern cardinals, mourning doves, and the ubiquitous grackle. I’m no US bird expert but can now recognise a fair number of birds when we come to stay with family.
We set off to explore a new area – a park and nature reserve with a reservoir, tucked in between busy freeways. I must admit it wasn’t quiet! Pathways go around the reservoir so it’s a good walking place. With binoculars it also proved to be a good birding place.
Not only did we see several loggerhead shrikes (never having seen a shrike before) we also had good views of the white American pelicans which congregate there, clustering together on a couple of small islands in the reservoir. They squawk, they fly spectacularly, they skim over the water, they take off and land and provide an ongoing moving tableau of avian activity.