Sunday, April 21, 2013

High Island Rookery

I still haven't reported on our visit to the Smith Oaks rookery at High Island, so here goes!

On our previous visit two weeks earlier most of the birds were still busy collecting twigs and building nests. This time, the nest-building seemed to be completed.

Almost all the Neotropic Cormorants were sitting on nests but a few individuals were flying in and out.

At least one couple was still mating.

Most of the Roseate Spoonbills were also on nests.

As always with the Spoonbills, some were arguing over property rights.

Others were trying to decide whether it was worth risking a lurking alligator to go down to the water to feed.

The most numerous birds were Great Egrets, resplendent in their breeding plumage.

Keeping the plumage in prime conditions takes a lot of work.

When one of a pair would arrive back at the nest, it would often announce, "Honey, I'm home."

Sometimes, though, the waiting partner appeared to be less than thrilled and to be asking, "What took you so long?"

We scanned all the nests for signs of chicks. If you look carefully at the picture below, you can just see that this nest has two baby birds in it.

Another nest appeared to have only one chick.

After checking out the rookery, we spent a little time wandering the nearby woods in search of migrant songbirds. Although it wasn't a good day for migrants, we did manage to see a few. Among the warblers were a Northern Parula and a Black-and-White.

The larger birds included a Rose-breasted Grosbeak and several Indigo Buntings.

However, the best sighting was undoubtedly that of a Lesser Nighthawk. We often see Common Nighthawks but seeing and getting to watch a Lesser was a real treat! 


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