Lured by reports of several different types of shorebirds, I popped in at Paul Rushing Park for a few minutes on my way to work on Thursday.
A flooded area near the parking lot had quite a lot of bird activity. Blue-winged Teal flew off as soon as I stepped out of the car but some Lesser Yellowlegs were more obliging.
Black-necked Stilts, too, let me have a closer look before they moved further away. Can you believe the length of those legs?
Long-billed Dowitchers were too busy feeding to bother about me.
Several Least Sandpipers mixing happily with the Dowitchers also let me approach fairly close.
All of these were nice birds to see but they were not the Pectoral, Buff-breasted and Semi-palmated Sandpipers that I was looking for. Disappointed, I scanned the grass a little further away and was surprised to see a score Savannah Sparrows. I had thought most Savannahs would have left our area by now but obviously not. (In fact, I saw another flock of 20 or so on the CyFair campus later in the morning.)
I was just about to leave when I decided to check out a large flock of Common Grackles on the grass. To my surprise, I found that the sandpipers I was looking for were mixed in with the Grackles! The Pectoral and Semi-palmated were too far away for photos but I managed to get one recognizable picture of a Buff-breasted. With its short bill, black face and yellow legs, it's a bird that even I can identify without much difficulty.