BOLIVAR FLATS BIRD SANCTUARY
TEXAS (Galveston County), ()
00o00´00" N/00o00´00" E,
224 hectares, sea level
Birding Site Guide
To reach the Bolivar Flats Bird Sanctuary from Galveston use the free ferry across the channel to Port Bolivar. Take SH 87 for around three miles to Loop 108. Turn right on Rettilon Road and to the beach. Turn right on the beach and go about 3/4 of a mile to the entrance at the telephone poles in the sand.
This is a tidal mud flats reserve, with accompanying salt marsh, brackish marsh, and upland roosting sites. The area is expanding due to the influence of the 114+ year old North Jetty. Though tides are less than 1 metre, weather such as wind has a larger influence, with typical winter low tides caused by strong northerlies with the reverse in summer.
Resident species include Roseate Spoonbills, American White Pelican and Reddish Egrets. Magnificent Frigatebirds and Jaegers (all species of skua can be seen Pomarine though is the most common) pass through in autumn. Winter several plover species may be seen including Semipalmated, Snowy, Piping, Wilson's and Black-bellied Plover and American Avocet occur in huge numbers and some Red-breasted Mergansers, ducks and grebes can usually be found around the jetty.
In the resident gull roost, 10 species can be found at appropriate times of year including Great and Lesser Black-backed, Thayer's Gull, California Gull, Glaucous, Black-legged Kittiwake. Terns include Gull-billed, Sandwich, Least and Sooty.
An estimated 140,000 shorebirds, of 37 species use Bolivar Flats including a year-round gulls and tern roost. Endangered species such as Brown Pelican (resident) and Piping Plover (winter) are found and American White Pelican and other waterfowl winter here. In the salt marsh can be found Clapper Rails, Seaside Sparrow, and Sharp-tailed Sparrow. Willets and Wilson's Plovers nest at the site. Black Skimmers and Least Terns occur and breed, but are usually thwarted by mans’ activities.
Sparrows should be looked for in the spartina grass along the point where Seaside Sparrow is resident with in the winter by Le Conte's Sparrow and Sharp-tailed Sparrows (both species?). Clapper Rail should be sought on the water’s edge of the spartina and resident Horned Lark can be found in open areas. Raptors include Northern Harrier, Peregrine Falcon, Merlin and wintering Short-eared Owls.
Species Annual Population Black-bellied Plover 2500, Lesser Golden Plover 100, Snowy Plover 100, Wilson's Plover 750, Semipalmated Plover 5000, Piping Plover 500, Killdeer 100, American Oystercatcher 100, Black-necked Stilt 500, American Avocet 20000, Solitary Sandpiper 50, Greater Yellowlegs 500, Lesser Yellowlegs 1000, Long-billed Curlew 750, Marbled Godwit 1000, Ruddy Turnstone 2500, Red Knot 1000, Sanderling 7500, Semipalmated Sandpiper 1000, Western Sandpiper 50000, Least Sandpiper 1000, Dunlin 25000, Stilt Sandpiper 250, Short Billed Dowitcher 5000, Long-billed Dowitcher 100.