Monday, May 10, 2010

What a Weekend (1)

Our weekend of birding at the coast was full of ups and downs. Galveston started off very quietly, got better and then became excellent. Bolivar peninsula started off fairly well, went flat and then picked up. High Island was very quiet. Anahuac NWR was quiet, too, but produced a couple of good birds. Overall, though, we had a great time - and we saw well over 70 species of birds in 24 hours.

Our fir
st stop on Galveston was at Big Reef / Apffel Park. However, we didn't stay long: The beaches were crowded and covered with litter, the sea sea was rough, and birds were absent except for the inevitable Brown Pelicans and Laughing Gulls.

So we decided to visit the Corps of Engineers Wood, a site we'd never be
en to before.

The site had lots of flowers.

Two Common Nighthawks swooped overhead and a Fulvous Whistling Duck flew up from a dried pond, all too fast to photograph. A Roseate Spoonbill crossed above at a more leisurely pace.

Other birds we noted were: Mourning and Eurasian-collared Doves, Barn Swallow, Cedar Waxwing, Great-tailed Grackle, Northern Mockingbird and Northern Cardinal.

A little disappointed, we headed west and turned up 8 Mile Road. More disappointment: The rocky area at the end of the road had no birds at all.

Surely Sportsmen's Road would be more pro
ductive. We turned onto it - and immediately started seeing birds.

Fence posts had Red-winged Blackbirds, while White Ibis and Tricolored Herons were fishing in the roadside ditch.

White Ibis

Tricolored Heron

Great and Snowy Egrets were fishing the ditch, too.

Snowy Egret

Other patches of water had Ros
eate Spoonbills, Black-necked Stilts, Willets, Dunlins and a Black-bellied Plover.

We stopped to watch the fishing an
tics of a Reddish Egret. I love how they dash around to stir up fish ...

and how they hold up their wings either to help them see under the water or to further frighten the fish.

Then the best sighting of all: Dee spotted a Common Nighthawk resting on a utility wire next to the car.

More optimistic now, we headed along Stewart Road towards Lafitte's Cove. The wind was blowing from the north and with luck this could lead to a fall-out of spring migrants.


Pam said...

What a shame about the litter, people are so inconsiderate. Can't imagine seeing 70 birds in 24hrs! Though i'd be happy just seeing a few Egrets & Herons. Looking forward to the next post.

Jeff said...

Most places around water in Texas are bad for litter. This is partly because Texans who fish tend to be - How can I put this diplomatically? - pigs.

Pam said...

:-) One way of describing them! Do they not try & do something about it or does it just all fall on deaf ears?

Jeff said...

We have signs on roads everywhere saying "Don't mess with Texas" but they don't seem to affect fishermen/women here. Perhaps they can't read.