Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Looking for Shorebirds

When we go looking for shorebirds in our area, we usually head down to Galveston and Bolivar. However, last weekend we headed over to the Lynchburg Ferry landing because I wanted to add some shorebird species to my Harris County year list.

The morning started badly when we arrived at the landing in the middle of a thunderstorm. We pulled into the Monument Inn parking lot and peered down to the beach through pouring rain. The water's edge was busy with scores of Laughing Gulls but the only shorebirds we could see well enough to identify were Sanderlings. An Osprey flew in and proceeded to bathe in the shallows, an odd sight in the torrential rain!

Another odd sight was that of a Belted Kingfisher repeatedly hovering over and then and diving into the waves. It later settled down on a rock well out into the water.

Disappointed at the weather conditions and the comparative lack of birds, we drove slowly back towards the San Jacinto Monument. We both cheered up when we noticed that ponds by the roadside held a range of birds. Willets and a couple of Long-billed Dowitchers initially caught our attention but then an American Avocet appeared and we watched as it stalked through the water, sweeping its bill from side to side.

A Great Blue Heron strode purposefully through the rain, unconcerned by our presence. 

A Snowy Egret ran about, hoping to stir up prey with its bright yellow feet.

Several juvenile Double-crested Cormorants were perched on posts.

When the rain stopped, I walked over to the ferry and watched another Cormorant as it flew in to settle on the water. Its approach was graceful.

Its landing was less elegant.

After that, we headed over to the San Jacinto Monument, where my target birds were Clapper Rail and Marsh Wren. I had seen a single Marsh Wren on my trip to Denver but I hadn't yet seen one in Texas - and I hadn't seen a Clapper Rail anywhere all year so far.

1 comment:

Texas Wildflowers said...

After seeing the photo of the Cormorant landing, it's easy to see why they are always standing around with their wing held out wide from their bodies.