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 Willets, 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.
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.