Thursday, October 10, 2013

Texas City Dike

Sunday I was up bright and early to drive along the Texas City Dike. It's a great place for watching and photographing birds because the latter are used to vehicles. So groups of gulls, terns and shorebirds will let you park close beside them.

Unfortunately, Sunday morning dawned cloudy, wet and windy morning, hardly the best conditions for photographing wildlife.

The end of the dike had a few shorebirds: Sanderlings, a Black--bellied Plover and a single Willet.

A Magnificent Frigatebird and several Brown Pelicans were fishing and a dolphin was patrolling the waters but all were too far away for photographs.

At other points along the dike groups of Laughing Gulls, Terns and Black Skimmers hunkered down while waves crashed against the shore.

Most of the Terns were Royal Terns, both adults and speckled-backed juveniles.

However, a few Forster's Terns were also present.

I noticed a handful of Sandwich Terns, too, easy to ID because of the yellow tips on their bills.

Black Skimmers looked ungainly with their huge lower mandibles.

One puddle of water on the road held an American Oystercatcher that had been banded.

Nearby a Willet perched rather forlornly on the rocks, a length of fishing line looped around its neck and bill.

My final sighting was of a Great Blue Heron, looking magnificent against the gray-green water.

After Texas City Dike we drove back down to Lafitte's Cove on Galveston, hoping that the cold front would have brought in some migrants. However, the woods were even quieter than the previous day and so we decided to cut our trip short and head home.


Dave said...

Nice selection of shorebirds Jeff... Tern City!!!

I hope the Willet is ok with the fishing line.

Jeff said...

Never a shortage of terns in our area, Dave. I rarely see fewer than 4-5 species on an outing. Gull species are less varied, though.