Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Down to the Coast (1)

Sunday morning we headed for the coast in spite of a weather forecast that promised severe thunderstorms and 80% chance of rain. We were right to ignore the forecast because the only rain we saw were a couple of light showers as we were leaving Houston.

Our destination was Galveston via Bolivar but we decided to make a quick visit to Shovelers' Pond in Anahuac NWR on the way.

One reason for dropping in at Anahuac was in hopes of seeing shorebirds. However, the water level at the pond was so high that there were virtually no shorebirds or waders around. To compensate, there were plenty of Whistling Ducks and Gallinules.

Several adult Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were supervising their offspring.

On this occasion, though, they were greatly outnumbered by their prettier cousins, Fulvous Whistling Ducks.

This duckling stood up to show us that it really didn't have a black belly.

Common Gallinules (formerly Common Moorhens) were even more abundant. Some adults were grazing alone.

Others were accompanying their chicks.

The chicks varied in age and color.

Purple Gallinules were much scarcer than on our previous two visits and they were even more difficult to photograph. This is the only picture I managed to get of an adult.

I was a little luckier with this juvenile, whose plumage was just beginning to turn purple.

As we were completing the auto-loop, I spotted a Neotropic Cormorant that was struggling to deal with a large fish it had just caught. 

It was still trying to eat the fish several minutes later when we left on our way down to Bolivar Peninsula.

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