Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Brief Visit to Surfside

On Saturday I was leading a workshop in Lake Jackson and decided to take advantage of the trip to pop in to the beach at Surfside. I hadn't been there since September 2008, when we were rudely forced to interrupt a vacation by Hurricane Ike.

The area was in much better shape than I expected, although birds were few and far between. The weather didn't help either; it was one of those very misty gray mornings.

Although most of the gulls I saw were Laughing Gulls, one Herring Gull put in an appearance, taking my year list to 100.

A Great-tailed Grackle looked very stately if a little out of place on the beach.

Several Ruddy Turnstones (species #101) looked much more at home ...

as did a handful of Sanderlings and Wil
lets, and a solitary Black-bellied Plover (year bird 102).

On the drive back to Lake Jackson, several cormorants were lined up on wooden pilings by a roadside pond and I was thrilled to see that there was a Neotropic mixed in with the Double-crested.

Neotropic (left) and Doble-crested Cormorants

So that took my 2010 list to 103, with a week of January still to go. Not a bad start to my birding year!

Red-tailed Hawks continued to be very common: I saw 10 on this trip. American Kestrels were even more common, although the lighting conditions made it impossible to get any good photos.


Lou said...

Love the cormorant photos. We saw an Anhinga at Bear Creek park on Brandt Rd. where it crosses the creek. It was sitting on a big log jutting into the creek (north side) and sunning its wings. Easily saw the silver on wings and that distinctive tail. Since then we have seen several in a tree on the golf course - visible from Bear Creek drive near S. Golbow. At least we assume those are anhingas too. Our binoculars not quite powerful enough to make out the distinctive coloring.

Jeff said...

Thanks, Lou. I envy you the Anhinga, since I haven't seen any yet this year. Oddly enough, I don't think I've ever seen them at Bear Creek.

CE Webster said...

You added to your great week of birding with a good Saturday of bird watching. I enjoyed the pictures.

Birdwoman said...

It may have been a brief visit but it was extremely productive.

Jeff said...

Hi, CE. My Saturday jaunt to the beach was less fun that it looks. Not very nice weather at Surfside and I got the car bogged down in the sand a couple of times.

Jeff said...

Yes, Birdwoman,it was fairly productive. Much better later in the year, of course, when the shorebirds are around in numbers.

Lou said...


We had never seen Anhinga there nor Osprey but have found both this winter. As you know, I'm not great at ID'ing, but these 2 are certain. We have not seen the Osprey since the first 2 days we saw it. Nor have we seen the Anhinga up close since the day we saw it sunning, but feel that what we are seeing in the tree on the golf course are probably also Anhinga, but not positive.

Jeff said...

Hi, Lou. I wasn't doubting your ID. Anhingas can turn up anywhere. And if a Vermilion Flycatcher can hang out on the golf course, why not Anhingas?