Houston to Victoria
From April 7th to April 21st 2001 we were on an organized birding trip in Texas. Despite some trepidation about what a group trip would be like we thought it worth a go. Happily, the two weeks with Birdfinders turned out to be excellent.
The group comprised the two leaders Vaughan Ashby and Peter Basterfield, and the led, Giles and Renée Braithwaite; Ron Shewring, John Coupe, Trevor and Gillian Davies, Rob and Jackie Phillips, Bob and Sue Hampson, Brian and Christine Dodding, David Robinson, Stuart Davies, Paula Reynosa from California, and, of course, us.
We arrived in Houston the afternoon of Saturday 7th April and saw our first birds at the airport – European Starling and Feral Pigeon! We took a short drive down to the van hire place and stood in the hot and humid carpark whilst the paperwork was sorted out. We kept our eyes open and saw Snowy Egret, Northern Mockingbird, five Black Vultures and Helen's first lifer - a Great Egret flying past.
The drive towards our first base in Victoria, via one of the soon-to-be-well-known Dairy Queens, added Barn Swallow, our first Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Common and Great-tailed Grackle, American Crow, Loggerhead Shrike, Turkey Vulture (TV), Purple Martin and distant views (the 'scopes were packed) of four Upland Sandpipers and two close Killdeers.
Outside the motel in Victoria we were serenaded by an evening congregation of Great-tailed Grackles.