Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Good Morning at Baytown

Sunday morning at Baytown Nature Center was cold and windy! (When I arrived at 7:30, the temperature was 39F and the wind was well over 10 mph.) So I wasn't expecting too much bird activity.

I started by looking for the Brown Booby on the utility pylons that stretch across the bay. No luck! In fact, there were no birds at all on the pylons, although the end of the promontory did have an obliging Osprey.

When I first spotted it, it was on the grass, perhaps sheltering from the wind.

A few minutes later, it moved to a series of different perches along the water's edge.


I scanned Crystal Bay for Grebes, Loons and Hooded Mergansers. Again, no luck. However, I did get some good looks at a Red-breasted Merganser, always a nice bird to watch.

A walk around the loop trail turned up only common birds, such as Northern Mockingbirds, Blue Jays and Red-winged Blackbirds (below).

A Spotted Sandpiper was the only shorebird.

Brown Pelicans looked impressive against the rich blue sky.

The pond near the gazebo had a nice group of Roseate Spoonbills.

A White Ibis was hanging out with the Spoonbills.

While I was watching, it caught several small crabs.

Back at the Egret Tidal Flats a great Blue Heron was looking very stately as it prowled through the water.

A Snowy Egret flew to the other side of the road when I stopped by the pond.

Surprisingly, given how skittish they normally are, four Great Egrets seemed unconcerned by my presence.

So, too, did a Spoonbill.

As I was photographing the Egrets, I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye. Yes! It was a group of eight Hooded Mergansers, the males looking spectacular with their black and white hoods.

Several of the males were competing for the attention of one of the females. Their display consisted of raising their chests out of the water, throwing back their heads and bobbing forward, while calling loudly.

Sad to say, the female didn't seem to be impressed.

After leaving Baytown, I headed north towards Highlands, where there is a birding site that I'd heard good reports of but had never visited. But I'll blog about that in a few days.

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