Monday, April 02, 2012

Rollover Pass

We got to High Island after 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, which gave us time to have a very quick look at Boy Scout Woods before starting the shorebird tour of Bolivar.

As winds were steady from the south, few migrants were dropping in. The drip had Northern Parula, Wilson's Warbler and Indigo Bunting but only a couple of Gray Catbirds were anything like close enough to photograph.

At noon we headed down to the coast in a convey of cars led by two of the volunteer guides who do such a great job giving free birding tours around High Island in migration season. Our first stop was Rollover Pass, a site that alomost always turns up lots of good birds, even if they are often too far away for photos.

Our introductory bird was a Great Blue Heron, surprisingly the only one that we were to see on the whole weekend.

The sky overhead was busy with Laughing Gulls and several Tern species. The Least Terns were too quick for me but I managed to photograph a few Forster's.

I was also able to get some shots of Royal Terns, the most streamlined of all the terns.

Brown Pelicans were constantly passing overhead, too.

Sandbars a few hundred feet away were crowded with hundreds of gulls, terns and Black Skimmers, as well as with Great and Snowy Egrets and six Reddish Egrets. Further back, in the water, there was a group of a couple of hundred American Avocets. Other shorebirds included Short-billed Dowitchers, Dunlins, Sanderlings, Black-bellied and Semipalmated and Wilson's Plovers, and Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs.

Just within camera reach were several American Oystercatchers, with their absurdly large bright-colored bills.

Most of the many Willets stayed well away but one strayed a little closer.

A Red-breasted Merganser gave us a good view as she explored a pool just in front of us.

So, Rollover Pass had certainly not been a disappointment. Would the same hold true of our next stop, the Bolivar Shorebird Sanctuary?

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