Birding at Smith Oaks Rookery

April 06, 2015  •  4 Comments

I took the liberty this year of partaking in a nontraditional Easter Sunday and spent the evening shooting (photos, not shotguns) at the Smith Oaks Rookery - a bird sanctuary protected by the Houston Audubon Society. I recently discovered this little gem roughly an hour outside of Houston, and decided I had to make the trip.

The rookery, located on the east edge of Galveston bay, on High Island, is a temporary home to hundreds of migratory birds. The pond on which it sits, known as Claybottom Pond, was originally developed in 1936 when dirt was needed to build a bridge over the Intercoastal Waterway. Initially the reservoir this created was used to augment the surrounding community's water supply. As it turned out, the location sits in an ideal geography that funnels in migratory birds from all reaches. After this realization the land was generously donated to the Audubon Society in 1994 by Amoco, and the no hunting policy that soon followed resulted in a flourishing annual population of numerous aviary species. 

Nesting season is upon us - each Spring hundreds of Great Egrets, Little Blues, Tricolored Herons, White Ibis, Cormorants, and Spoonbills arrive to nest. It's the perfect time to visit, and I highly suggest it!

These birds are quick creatures, especially in front of a long lens, and they kept me on my toes!

Here are a few images I captured on my first (and surely not last) visit:



Witt Duncan
Thanks Thomas! It's a great spot, and I'm itching to go back. Let me know if you plan a trip and want someone else to shoot with!
Thomas Husser(non-registered)
These are wonderful and inspiring! I live in Rosenberg and generally make a routine of going to Brazos Bend State Park. I had not heard of Smith Oaks. My wife and I will be adding this to our growing list of spots to check out here in Texas.
Witt Duncan
Glad we crossed paths out at the rookery - was great meeting you and your kids! Very cool that you get them out and excited for trips like that. Glad you found the AF-ON tip helpful, and thanks for your nice words. Hope we can get out and shoot again in the near future!
It was great meeting you while photographing at the Rookery. In addition to being a very nice person, you have a natural instinct for a winning shot. These are all very good photos. Thanks for your advice to use AF-On. I look forward to utilizing this more often.

Take care, God bless, and keep in touch!
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