Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Anahuac and Rollover

We started our weekend trip with a very windy hour at Anahuac NWR, one of our favorite birding sites. Unfortunately, on this visit most of the waders and water birds stayed well back out of sight in the marshes. We were hoping that Shovelers Pond would have Fulvous Whistling Ducks, Rails and Soras but what we got instead were mainly distant views of American Coots and a few (distant) Great Egrets, Roseate Spoonbills, Northern Shovelers and White Ibis.

Forster's Terns were the only birds that came close enough to photograph. 

So we had to content ourselves with looking at alligators.

Further into the refuge we looked unsuccessfully for Greater White-fronted and Snow Geese.
Luckily, there were plenty of raptors to make up for the lack of other birds. We saw more than a dozen Northern Harriers and almost as many Red-tailed Hawks. Some of the latter let us stop the car and watch them from just a few yards away.

As Anahuac had been disappointing except for raptors, we headed down to the Bolivar Peninsula to check out Rollover Pass.  When we got there, the tide was out and so most birds were far away on sandbars. However, there were a few interesting species closer to hand.

A group of 30 American Avocets were grazing in the water near where we parked.

One of them was starting to show its breeding plumage.

A Marbled Godwit was nearby but flew off as we approached.

A Ruddy Turnstone was less bothered by our presence.

Willets were everywhere.

A Great Blue Heron watched as a Willet tussled over a morsel with a Laughing Gull.

A few Ring-billed Gulls were mixed in with the many Laughing Gulls.

There were three species of Plover: Black-bellied, Semipalmated and Wilson's. 

As always in this area, groups of Brown Pelicans patrolled the water's edge.

A final sighting was of a Snowy Egret fishing behind the seawall. After each set of waves had crashed over the wall, the Egret would move in and catch small fish that had been carried in by the waves.

As the weather was getting even cloudier and windier, we called it a day and headed for our motel in Winnie. However, I decided that I would return to Rollover early the next morning when the tide would be in and many more birds should be visible. As you'll see from my next post, it was a good decision!

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