Last Friday the 19th was Good Friday so I decided to take a trip out to Smith Oaks Rookery to see the Egrets and Roseate Spoonbills. Depending on the year the mating season can be from March through May. According to some Houston Audobon Society (HAS) volunteers this year has been a late season. I did see some egret chicks, but not as many as I usually do this time of year, and there weren't any Spoonbill chicks yet, which was kind of surprising.
There was actually a lot of people at Smith Oaks this trip and I was lucky to find a parking spot in their main lot. Smith Oaks has always been kind of an open secret for seeing Spoonbills and Egrets, but I've noticed more and more people have been coming over the years. On one hand it's a good thing for the rookery itself because the HAS has been cleaning it up a bit and installing new platforms, and even dredging the pond and creating new island in the ponds in the off season. On the other hand now it's no longer a place where you can go to take photos or just enjoy nature by yourself, and with the extra crowds and the HAS's initiative to renovate it the past they've started charging admission. I understand the need for funding in order to do these renovations, but I liked going there and hardly seeing anyone. You would also think being a HAS member would get you a pass into the park, but the volunteers said if they want to go to the rookery proper they would have to pay the entry fee, which I thought was kind of odd.
Anyway like with any changes you just have to roll with them and I was able to help out a few other photographers that weren't familiar with their settings (even though I'll be the first to admit I still get my settings wrong a good chunk of the time) and when I wasn't actively shooting I'd call out when certain birds were flying in from different areas.
Even with all of the changes, it's still a great location to go to see Roseates and egtrest en masse and I was able to get some good photos on this trip despite it being a little crowded.
There were a lot of brown water snakes out and about on this trip, I think the group of people on my platform counted eight. Because the platform was over the water I had a good vantage point for some unique photos. There were some dragonflies and onlyone alligator today so I got a few posterity photos of them too.