The most important step for anyone is to e-mail Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be placed on the list to receive the GOS announcements and bird PDFs. These twice-a-week collections teach members about birds (sometimes other animals) and inform members of activities and opportunities. Nobody will get your e-mail and you can get off any time. NEW! View our special 5-part Winter Waterbirds series here.
Bird Photography at Stevenson Woods
The migrant trap on Galveston Island has the highest bird list in the history of North America, at 325 species in 28 years. Surrounded by grassland for many miles, this is an island forest with fruiting trees, flowing plants, seeds and a water source which is surrounded by tall trees that block out any noise, making birds totally comfortable.
The avian photographic possibilities of this Chenier (or Motte) has been endless. Over two dozen species of warblers each April find fresh water, food and sleep in this protected oasis, plus orioles, tanagers, grosbeaks, flycatchers, vireos and buntings (beside the pair of nesting Painted Buntings). Non-songbirds such as hummers, raptors, woodpeckers and cuckoos also visit.
This site was developed for bird photography by ornithologist Jim Stevenson, and later Alan Murphy and Brian Small. They were taking advantage of over-the-shoulder sunshine and an attractive green background and flat grass. Decorative perches allow for perfect shots as birds slowly approach the drip pan. Bird calls may be used to aid in attracting birds, just as the drip sound pulls them in!
Jim Stevenson has birded all his life, trained by his ornithologist-father, Henry, at FSU, and has had a dozen books published with his bird pictures. Nate Chappell is a professional bird photographer who has spent years shooting Jim’s property and will supervise other experts and photographers alike. Other experts will also be brought in. Jim can also get you out on San Luis Pass with its myriads of tame shorebirds with his 4×4.
Proceeds will go to removing invasive trees such as tallow from the Island by the Galveston Ornithological Society and the creation of educational “bird boards” for the public. To register, e-mail Jim Stevenson at email@example.com or call at 409-370-1515 for space and instructions.
The Rio Grande Valley trip is a four-day, whirlwind tour of many of the terrific spots for birds in South Texas. We leave around dawn on Thursday and drive to Harlingen, where we will hotel for the duration of the trip. Then we head out to Laguna Atascosa NWR for afternoon birding, before calling it a day.
We have three wonderful and separate weeks in Costa Rica. Week one, the “Western Loop,” we head over to the Pacific Coast and begin with the Tarcoles area. Included in this is the town itself, with Turquoise-browed Motmots, a boat ride into the mangroves with Boat-billed Herons, a Canopy Walk down the side of the mountain, with many mid-range tropical species, and fabulous Carara National Park.
We often run a spring break trip in mid-March to several places in West Texas, with the top destination being Big Bend National Park. On Thursday, however, we leave the Galveston/Houston area very early, arriving midafternoon in Balmorhea. We visit the Lake and the State Park for birds like roadrunner and Vermilion Flycatcher, then move on to the highway that heads south toward Big Bend National Park. However, we stop for a visit at Davis Mountain State Park, where feeders bring many neat bird species close.
Jim and the GOS run two birding programs in April that are the best activities of the entire year. One is pure birding, visiting virtually every good birding site on the UTC. Places include Sabine Woods, High Island, Anahuac, Brazoria and San Bernard NWR, Quintana Neotropical Sanctuary, Bolivar Flats, Galveston’s Lafitte’s Cove Nature Preserve and San Luis Pass, Texas City Dike, Brazos Bend State Park and of course, Jim’s amazing property. We’ll see around two hundred species from brilliant warblers to exquisitely-colored shorebirds, and spend five days in delightful, spring weather. You are welcomed to bring a hand-held camera, but the emphasis will be on bird watching.
One of our most favorite trips during the year is the Plains/Rockies Trip, which runs from the Great Salt Lake in Utah to North Dakota. We spend a couple days around the Great Salt Lake looking both at the thousands of waterbirds, but also some specialties like Chukar, Burrowing and Short-eared Owls, Brewers Sparrows, Sage Thrasher, dancing Western and Clark’s Grebes, and much more.
June is the big destination for the GOS, where we spend two weeks in Alaska. We fly into Anchorage and spend one of our weeks on the Kenai Peninsula, taking one boat to a seabird colony and then the all-day Resurrection Bay Tour. We’ll see lots of alcids, tons of Bald Eagles up close, and many species of northern songbirds. We make northern songbirds a big priority on this leg, looking for things like the two crossbills, Pine Grosbeak, Alder and Olive-sided Flycatcher, Violet-green Swallow, Varied Thrush, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Townsend’s Warbler, Lincoln’s, Kenai Song, and various Fox Sparrows, Common Redpolls, Rusty Blackbird and other rather tough birds.
The Arizona Trip is conducted at the best time for the unique birds of the Desert Southwest, and in a way that avoids birding in hot weather. We bird the desert in the early morning and are in the mountains during the afternoon. We bird four main areas: the Chiricahuas, the Huachucas, the Nogales area and the Tucson region. Each has unique bird species in beautiful mountain ranges.