I had spent the week watching the weather forecast. A week ago they were forecasting fog for the day. By Monday the forecast had a 70% chance of rain. By Tuesday the chances were up to 80% and it was looking like a washout. But tradition is tradition. So I loaded the truck in dripping fog and headed towards the beach.
On the way south I swung through the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge. I saw some Sandhill Cranes in the distance through the fog. They were landing in twos and threes, settling in to feed in the water covered fields.
There was a large flock that I took to be Little Blue Herons feeding at the out feed area of a flooded field. And that was all before I made it to the auto tour area…A mixed flock of dark adults and white juveniles. All in all there were probably almost a hundred birds in a group.
Once in the tour area I saw a number of Red-tailed Hawks cruising just above the vegetation. I also spotted a few Northern Harriers flying through the area. One of the things I like about this time of the year is the raptors that are so prevalent. You see them sitting on the tops of trees, on the power lines, even sitting on the tops of shrubs above the grasses.
The ponds in the refuge had more water than I have seen in the past few years, but not as much as I would see in my earliest trips. There were a few small rafts of mixed ducks, I was only able to identify a small raft of Northern Pintails through the fog.
I saw a mixed group of geese on the far side of one of the ponds. Much smaller than the groups I have seen in past years. As I drove along the tour route I would flush flocks of Killdeer that would fly along beside the car before wheeling off in another direction.
I bypassed Surfside this year and drove through Freeport towards Bryan Beach. On the way through town I swung down by the marina and took this shot…
That’s the storm gate in the background through the fog.
But it was getting late and the beach called…
The fog was blowing and getting thicker by the minute, so I took a few pictures and listened to the surf for a few minutes before heading out…