Saturday, May 10, 2008

Big Weekend: Bolivar Beach

I finally have time today to finish editing and posting photos of last weekend's trip.

On the way from High Island to Bolivar beach, we stopped for a few minutes at Rollover Pass. This is normally an excellent place to view a wide variety of sea birds and waders. Unfortunately, the site was fairly empty this time and the wind made it difficult to see very far. The only birds we spotted were right on the beach: Reddish Egret, Snowy Egret, Sanderling and Ruddy Turnstone.

Ruddy Turnstones at Rollover Pass

So we drove on to Retillon Road and Bolivar beach.

The blustery conditions were even worse at Bolivar, where we were forced to eat lunch in the car. However, the beach and sea were busy with birds.

Bolivar always has some interesting species, but the real beauty of the site is the sheer number of birds and the way many different species mix and interact together.

In the typical scene below, American Avocets provided a background to a mixed group of Laughing Gulls and Common, Royal and Sandwich Terns.

Nearby, a Royal Tern and a Laughing Gull shared a patch of beach with Ruddy Turnstones and Sanderlings.

While groups of Sanderlings huddled on the sand, individuals in a range of plumages scuttled around or picked at fish carcasses.

Brown and White Pelicans were present as expected, but more surprising was the number of American Oystercatchers, a much less common bird.

Bolivar wouldn't be Bolivar without a Reddish Egret or two. This time, there were several in their normal gray and rust plumage.

Even better, there were two white morph Reddish Egrets, a truly beautiful bird. The photo below shows one in a typical fishing pose. (They rush and jump around in the shallow water, extend their wings and stab at fish.)


I was quite pleased to have seen 86 species in 24 hours. However, my sightings pale into insignificance beside those of other local birders. A week earlier, a team of Texas birders broke the US "big birding day" record: Their total on a day trip around Austin and the upper Texas Coast was 260 species!


Texas Travelers said...

Looks like a great day.
Nice bird photos.

we birded Bolivar last weekend in April. I was terrific. At Sabine woods we got 24 species of warblers. O happy days.

We have posted:
Alaska's Haul Road - The Dalton Highway.
A 414 mile gravel road,
to the Arctic Ocean

Come join us for the trip,
Troy and Martha

Jeff Mohamed, said...

We haven't been to Sabine yet. We really have to get over there next spring.
We missed the big days for warblers at High Island but we enjoyed the weekend anyway.