Monday, October 07, 2013

Galveston and Bolivar Peninsula

Saturday morning we drove down to Galveston for a weekend of birding.

We started with a disappointing visit to the Corps of Engineers Wood. The main path was so overgrown that it was difficult to reach the observation deck and all we saw were common birds.

We therefore took the ferry over to Bolivar. As usual, the ferry ride provided good views of Pelicans and Laughing Gulls.

No Magnificent Frigatebirds showed up on this trip and we had to make do with watching a Sandwich Tern fishing on each side of the ferry's bow.

We also saw a score or more dolphins. Boy, are they hard to photograph!

The shorebird sanctuary on Bolivar was a disappointment, too, because most of the beach was impassable by car. However, we were able to watch several Ruddy Turnstones and a couple of Willets.

We headed to Rollover Pass, always a great place for gulls, terns, waders and shorebirds. However, the main road on Bolivar was blocked by an overturned cement truck and so we had return to the ferry. We stopped at Fort Travis for a picnic lunch on the way. 

Back on Galveston, Lafitte's Cove had a few migrants, mainly at the main drip: Northern Parula, Pine Warbler (below), Hooded Warbler (below), American Redstart (below), Black-and-while Warbler (below), Hooded Warbler and White-eyed Vireo.

The ponds at Lafitte's were empty of shorebirds but several Snowy Egrets were fishing, while a pair of adult Black-bellied Whistling Ducks kept an anxious eye on their ten ducklings.

Our final bit of birding for the day consisted of a drive along Sportsman's Road. As always, the marsh beside the road had Roseate Spoonbills, Tricolored and Great Herons, Great and Snowy Egrets, and White Ibis. Unfortunately, the new camera I used to photograph these jammed and I wasn't able to recover the photos.

Luckily, I used my old camera to get a couple of photos of an Osprey perched on a utility pole.

After this we decided to call it a day and headed for our motel in Texas City, after an excellent early dinner at Mario's on the Seawall. Our plan for Sunday was to spend some time on the Texas City Dike before going back to look for migrants at Lafitte's Cove. A cold front was forecast and it was sure to bring in some more migrants. Or was it?


Marilyn Kircus said...

Thanks for the update. Looking forward to being back in Texas a few weeks and birding this area.

We still have a few migrants moving through. Ducks are being hunted up here, except for the National WMA's that have been closed to the public by the government shutdown.

Jeff said...

My impression is that fewer migrants are landing here than usual. Certainly fall migration on the CyFair campus has been the lowest for years.