Bayou Birds

More bird action from Houston’s bayous and parks. (21 photos) Houston Heights Bird Sanctuary, Woodland Park Bird Sanctuary, Buffalo Bayou, Brays Bayou, and White Oak Bayou.

Red-shouldered Hawk

Buffalo Bayou is home to a large bat colony at the Waugh Street bridge and I got to watch a Red-shouldered Hawk trying repeatedly to snatch a bat from under there. It would swoop up to one of the narrow crevices where they nest, and then rebound as there is no perch. The hawk posed for me in a nearby tree in between attempts. It left empty-taloned as far as I could tell. I see red-shoulders here most every visit and believe this to be home territory for at least two.

Downy Woodpecker
American Pipit

The presence of ospreys on the bayous tell us that there are sizeable fish in there.

Suckermouth Catfish

Speaking of fish, these suckermouths seen at White Oak Bayou are native to South America, with established populations in several US states.

Orange-crowned Warbler

Orange-crowns winter here in small numbers. Lucky to get these shots. They flit around constantly and rest just long enough for your gear to lock focus, no longer.

Great Blue Heron
Cedar Waxwing
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
American Goldfinch
Yellow-rumped Warbler

Named for the bright yellow patch on the base of the tail, this is the eastern species known as Myrtle. Most common winter warbler on the gulf coast according to my own non-scientific survey.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Red-vented Bulbul
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush
Tree Rabbit

The Tree Rabbit (Cuniculus arboretus) has evolved a long bushy tail to affect balance in its aerial acrobatics as it flings itself from branch to limb, and small, pert ears to appear less ridiculous to the ladies. This is from my stand-up taxonomy routine. A little something extra for those who stick with me and scroll all the way down. 😉

4 thoughts on “Bayou Birds

  1. Beautiful pics, thanks! I’ve learned that 1/500th of a second is fast enough to “freeze” most flapping bird wings, but not Prairie Grouse. Their wings are quite blurry at 1/500th of a second. Do any bayou birds need a fairly fast shutter speed to “freeze” the wings?


    1. Thanks! Most of these are at 1/2000 or 1/2500 f-wide open. Manual with auto-ISO. That freezes things pretty well, images get noisy when the ISO gets pushed too high though. A little blurring of wings can be a nice effect.

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