Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge: Skillern Tract



I did take my trip to Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge.  Specifically I went to the Skillern Tract part of the refuge.  I can’t recommend this part of the wildlife refuge highly enough.  It is awesome!  From what I read, it’s still relatively unknown among birders, but that probably won’t last for long.  I actually went to the Skillern Tract first, then to the main Refuge, and because of the drought, they actually recommended that folks go to Skillern versus the main part of the Refuge.  Before I go into the details of the trip, to get to the Skillern Tract, go East past the main entrance for 7.3 miles and you will see it on the right hand side.

When I first got to Skillern the first creatures to greet me were the mosquitoes, big ones and lots of them.  Fortunately I brought the mosquito repellant so they didn’t overwhelm me.  As I walked along one of the trails there was this pretty little bird darting up and down from a tall tree.  It was a female Vermillion Flycatcher.  I love these little birds!

Female Vermillion Flycatcher Side View

Female Vermillion Flycatcher Side View

Female Vermillion Flycatcher Front View

Female Vermillion Flycatcher Front View

There were also lots of Northern Harriers and these birds are fun for me to photograph.  Since they float above their potential prey, it gave me a good opportunity to get some decent photographs.

Northern Harrier About To Land In Field

Northern Harrier About To Land In Field

Northern Harrier Hovering Over A Possible Meal

Northern Harrier Hovering Over A Possible Meal

At Skillern there were lots of open fields, and I’m sure I missed a tons of birds.  One bird that I’ve never photographed before was an Eastern Meadowlark hiding in the field.

Eastern Meadowlark In Field

Eastern Meadowlark In Field

In addition I saw lots of Savannah Sparrows.

Savannah Sparrow In Field Of Brown

Savannah Sparrow In Field Of Brown

Savannah Sparrow Resting On Branch In Field

Savannah Sparrow Resting On Branch In Field

A particular noisy little bird that I saw hiding in the woods was a Winter Wren.

Winter Wren Hiding In The Woods

Winter Wren Hiding In The Woods

These are just a few of the many, many birds I saw at Skillern.  I took alot of bad photographs, and missed many opportunities.

Birds weren’t the only creatures I saw.  There were lots of Gulf Fritillary Butterflies (that surprised me) and a few Monarch Butterflies.  I was really surprised by how bright the color was on the Gulf Fritillaries.

Very Bright Orange Gulf Fritillary At Skillern Tract

Very Bright Orange Gulf Fritillary At Skillern Tract

I called Leecy a few hours into my trip and she said she wanted to see a picture of an Alligator.  I was lucky enough to find one sunning on the shore.

Alligator At Skillern Tract In Anahuac

Alligator At Skillern Tract In Anahuac

I really, really enjoyed Skillern Tract of the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge and plan on returning once they weather cools down a bit.  You absolutely have to bring mosquito repellant otherwise you will be eaten alive.  Even though I was well coated at the beginning, apparently the stuff wears off because I was attacked later on.  I re-coated myself and all was well.

texdr - Thank you!December 1, 2011 – 8:46 pm

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