Goliad birding tours offer look into nature

Golden fronted woodpecker
  • If you go

  • • WHERE: Goliad State Park

    • WHEN: 8:30-10:30 a.m. daily through March

    •  COST: Entrance fee into the park is $3 per person, and ages 12 and younger are free.

The rain came down in a slow, cold drizzle early Saturday.

The grass was damp, the trails were muddy and the wind was brisk.

But none of it stopped Tammy Zellner, park ranger at the Goliad State Park, from venturing into the woods, binoculars at the ready.

"Getting out and exploring - it just brings out the inner kid," Zellner said.

And the gloomy weather didn't stop the 150 bird species in the park from waking either, as they were busy feeding, singing, playing and flitting about.

Before Zellner left the parking lot of the station, she pointed out a group of Inca doves, a bird that spends most of its time on the ground.

"There is beauty in something like that," she said, as the group of birds flew away in unison.

In less than an hour, Zellner, leading the weekly guided bird watching tour in the park, saw more than 20 bird species.

The park tour, aimed at novice bird watchers, campers in the park and even kids, provides the experienced ranger and the binoculars to see the quick and often small birds.

She said the guide is a good way to get started birding, which is always full of surprises and observations.

"I remember the first time I saw the crown of the ruby-crowned kinglet. I was so excited because most of the time you just see the plain bird. But then the male is pitching a fit, and he has a little red mohawk," she said, laughing at the memory. "It's neat because it's not something you normally see."

The Audubon Christmas Bird Count for 2012-13, the 113th count, finished Saturday.

Zellner said although there is not an Audubon Christmas Bird Count in Goliad yet, she hopes they will have one soon.

Victoria County did not participate in the bird count this year.

In the 2011-12 count, however, Matagorda County had one of the highest number of bird species in South Texas, counting 244 types.