On our way to the wildlife refuge on New Year's Day, we took the exit that announces "Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center." This beautiful new visitor center, built since the devastation of Hurricane Ike, is about two miles down the road from I-10E, on the right side and is several miles from the main entrance to the wildlife refuge. It is a state-of-the-art construction, impressive in design and concept and very user-friendly. It has a walking trail and small pond and it was on the grounds of the center that I recorded my first official Anahuac NWR bird of the day, the American Pipit. A flock of the birds was feeding among the grasses and shrubs that bordered the parking lot. They flew up, flashing their white outer tail feathers at me as we returned to our car.
The visitor center itself was actually closed on New Year's Day, but the restrooms were open and that was the most important thing! And information kiosks outside offered a number of informational pamphlets about both Anahuac NWR and nearby McFaddin NWR. One of the pamphlets was a bird list for the refuge, always useful to have when birding.
After our brief stop at the visitor center, we headed on to the refuge, going first to the Skillern Tract as I mentioned yesterday. There we encountered large flocks of egrets and ibises.
Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge is always a great birding trip at any time of the year, but I do love visiting it on New Year's Day when it is relatively deserted and quiet. In spite of the fierce, unrelenting wind, this New Year's trip was one of the better days we have spent there.