An invasive species with glam: parakeets
As invasive species go, monk parakeets from South America are pretty cool.
Unlike the gazillions of European starlings that congregate at the grocery store near my house every night or the most reviled South American invader of all, the fire ant, monk parakeets have glamour. Maybe because their bright green plumage make them so easy to ID. They make us feel like competent bird watchers.
Lisa Gray's Houston Chronicle column about some of the colonies around Houston drove me to look up sightings around here in the Chronicle's bird-spotting database for the Texas Gulf Coast.
A Chronicle reader submitted this photo of parakeets on Seabrook's Breezeway Drive just last month.
A few months back I almost wrecked the car when I saw a flock at Highway 3 and Clear Lake City Boulevard, but I haven't seen any there since. The most reliable spot I've found is around Clifton by the Sea in Bacliff. Just listen for the squawks as you dine on Clifton's awesome crawfish and look up.
You can also explore ebird.org's sighting maps here.
Some of the more recent Clear Lake sightings on ebird's map are Seabrook's Hester Garden Park on Todville and along Clear Creek in Nassau Bay. For those who want to actually go look, these are bird-watching hot spots UTC078 and UTC083 on the Clear Lake section of the Upper Texas Coastal Birding Trail map.
Apparently these birds even have been spotted at busy intersections like the Gulf Freeway at Bay Area Boulevard and NASA Parkway at Egret Bay Boulevard.
Tough birds, those parakeets.
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