January 4, 2020

Kristine's Top 5

5. It’s very pleasant to be outside enjoying nature right now.

Although we do have some truly cold days now and then, our weather is quite lovely most of the time during winter months. Not only that, but there are less mosquitoes, which is always a good thing!

Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher, Photo by Bobby Rivers

4. Many places that charge for access during busy months are currently free.

Places like the Texas City Dike and Galveston Island’s pocket parks only charge access fees during the busier months of March through October, so it’s free to visit them right now.

3. There are less people in the parks and on the beaches.

It can be difficult to enjoy birding when parks and public beaches are crowded and full of activities that startle or otherwise interfere with birds. With less people out during winter months, there is less disturbance, and you can often get much closer to observe and photograph them.

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk, Photo by Kristine Rivers

2. It’s easier to see birds in trees because they have less foliage.

If you’ve ever tried to focus binoculars on a warbler flitting around in the top of a tree during spring, you know how challenging foliage can make it to get a clear view of a bird, much less identify it. With many of our trees completely bare right now, it’s easy to spot birds perched in them. There’s also less
vegetation around ponds, making it easier to see birds on the water as well.

Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfisher, Photo by Kristine Rivers

1. You can see a lot of exciting winter migrants.

Winter migration is in full effect, and this is the only time of year you can see some of the exciting migrants currently overwintering in our area – species such as Sandhill Cranes, American Kestrels, Belted Kingfishers, Red-breasted Mergansers, Common Loons, Vermilion Flycatchers, and too many others to mention. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and enjoy some winter birding!

– Kristine Rivers

Kristine Rivers founded Birding for Fun in 2015, and is a popular tour guide and speaker whose enthusiasm for nature is contagious. A lifelong birder, she has been an area leader for the Brazoria Columbia Bottomlands Christmas Bird Count since 2011, and has been President of the Texas Master Naturalist Cradle of Texas chapter since January 2017.