Birds of a Feather

By Elinor Tinsley
On Tuesday, April 16, 2024, a group of 37 of us “birds of a feather”, including 22 Bolivar Peninsula Cultural Foundation members, 14 guests and our illustrious speaker, Winnie Burkett, went to the Smith Oaks Sanctuary (Rookery) in High Island to immerse ourselves in the spectacle of this one of a kind place alongside birders from near and far. From the extreme novice to the internationally proclaimed birder, we all enjoyed the wonders that the sanctuary protects.

After getting checked in by our president, Vicky Norris, our secretary, Sherry Morgan, encouraged our guests to get a plate or two of some great snacks, water, and an assortment of wines served by our own Sandi Covington. Then we took our seats (brought from home) to await our speaker’s words of wisdom. Just Google Winnie Burkett and you will find a plethora of information about this amazing woman. There is more information on Goggle than we could possibly list here, so do yourself a favor and find out a little more about her. Winnie is a biologist with her special interest in ornithology and, among her many accolades, she served as vice president of sanctuaries for the Houston Audubon Society. Having someone with the extensive knowledge that Winnie has of the Smith Oaks Sanctuary and so many other related topics was just a treasure. Any question asked, Winnie knew the answer. We learned the history of how the Sanctuary came into existence, where they are now and some plans for the future.

When Winnie concluded her talk and answered every question, she took us out onto the paths with her trusty birding scope so that we were able to see up close some of the wonderful sights. More questions were answered and everyone was encouraged to set out on their own to see more things and sight more creatures. If you have never been out to the rookery, you’re missing something very special. April is a great month for spring migration and for birds roosting. September is great for the fall migration, but you can find so much to see any month you decide to go out. From our youngest guest to our oldest, we all enjoyed being about to witness nature at its best. Thanks again Winnie, for showing it to use through your eyes. A word to the wise though, don’t forget your mosquito spray!

[ET: Apr-23-2024]

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