Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Texas Coast Trip 3: Bolivar

By the time we left Rollover Pass, my day list had reached 87 species and so I was confident that I would easily pass the 100 mark that I had set as my target for the day. After all, we hadn't visited Galveston yet and I still had almost four hours in hand. (My birding "day" began at 6:00 the previous evening and so would end at 6:00 p.m.)

On our way to the ferry we did a brief drive along Bob's Road, often a good area for shorebirds. On this occasion, though, shorebirds were absent, except for a Lesser Yellowlegs and a Willet.

Neotropic Cormorants watched us from utility lines. Unfortunately, we'd already seen plenty of Cormorants.

A couple of large Grackles appeared. We had seen plenty at Anahuac but all the ones I'd been able to examine closely had been Great-tailed and so I hadn't yet added Boat-tailed Grackle to my list. A female stayed perched long enough for me to get a good look at her. Yes, she had a dark eye and so was definitely a Boat-tailed.

Back on the main road we drove west and turned onto Retillon Road, where we'd heard White-tailed Kites were nesting. We immediately spooted one Kite but it flew off as soon as we stopped. However, a Common Nighthawk hunkered down on a fence post stayed motionless as I photographed it. What extraordinary birds they are!

A Scissor-tailed Flycatcher nearby posed for one photo before flying away.

Then I was pleased to see a Savannah Sparrow. Until this, the only sparrow I had seen all day (except for House Sparrows) had been a White-throated Sparrow at Smith Oaks.

As we wanted to fit in lunch on Galveston, we didn't drive along to the Shorebird Sanctuary but merely had a quick look at the beach at the end of Retillon Road. There was only one small group of birds. I checked them out. Yes,  another new bird. Their dark belly patches revealed them to be Dunlin in breeding plumage.

Since we hadn't yet seen an Osprey, I drove to the ferry via the road around Horseshoe Marsh. Sure enough, we soon spotted an Osprey and then another new bird, a Tricolored Heron.

The ferry ride was disappointing because we didn't see any of the Magnificent Frigatebirds that I expected. So I had to make do with photographing some of the many Laughing Gulls as they begged for food from ferry passengers.

At 3:30 we reached Mario's, where we had a leisurely lunch. With my list now totaling 93 species, I was in no hurry because I was certain I could pick up a dozen or more species at Lafitte's Cove between the end of lunch and my 6:00 p.m. deadline. How wrong I was!


Dave said...

again the nighthawk is superb. The Scissortail was a favourite of mine in Venezuela, lovely images mate. 93, 94, 95 .....

Jeff said...

Thanks, Dave. I love those Scissortails, too. Fantastic birds.