Saturday, July 19, 2014

More from Anahuac

Between our two loops around Shoveler Pond at Anahuac on Saturday, we drove down to Frozen Point, stopping along the way to check out the roadside ditches and fences.

On our last visit to the refuge we hadn't seen any Common Nighthawks. This time we saw seven. As usual, most were sitting quietly on fence posts.

However, a few were being a little more active.

One was even sitting up, revealing its barred underside.

Halfway down the road, we came upon two King Rails. Although one immediately disappeared, the other crept through the grass on the verge for a couple of minutes while we drove slowly along beside it.

We stopped for a quick picnic lunch at Frozen Point, where we were surrounded by thousands of golden-bodied dragonflies. Neither of us had ever seen so many dragonflies in one place before.

The shoreline was empty of birds except for a solitary Willet.

Willets are very drab birds - until they fly!

I was hoping for Seaside Sparrows and, sure enough, one appeared right where the road is blocked by a gate.

Two other Seaside Sparrows were pottering around in the rocks nearby and then we saw four more as we started our drive back to the Visitor Center. One of them treated us to a beautiful serenade that seemed to last for ages but was probably only 2-3 minutes long.

A few yards up the road we were serenaded by a different bid, this time a Dickcissel. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a photo before it flew off. (We had seen several other Dickcissels on the entrance road to the refuge but I hadn't managed to get photos of any of them either.) 

At the place where we had seen the King Rails, we stopped again when Dee spotted a bird in a bush. It was our only Least Bittern of the day.

The same area had an adult male Black-necked Stilt.

Further away from the road, another adult Black-necked Stilt was wading in very shallow water. Judging by the brown on this bird's back, it was a female. It was accompanied by what I at first took to be a small shorebird. However, when I looked carefully through binoculars, I realized the small bird was actually a baby Black-necked Stilt.

It was a nice sighting with which to end what had been a very productive and enjoyable visit to our favorite local wildlife site.


Frank said...

Jeff. I enjoyed reviewing this and the previous post from your visit to Anahuac. Once again it brought back many wildlife memories even though I didn't see all those species during my Autumn visits. Definitely a very special place.

Interestingly I only had one sighting of a Dickcissel AND also failed to get a photo!!

Jeff said...

We saw a few Dickcissels. I actually got a great photo of one singing - except that I had accidentally changed the setting on my camera and so the picture was grossly overexposed!