Sunday, January 10, 2016

Galveston Island Again

Mid-morning on Thursday we drove over to 11 Mile Road, where I had seen three Sandhill Cranes earlier that day. Of course, the birds had moved! We did get good looks at an Osprey and a White-tailed Kite, though.

There were Sandhills along 8 Mile Road but all were fairly distant from the road, so we took a quick trip along Sportsmen Road. Thanks to Dee's sharp eyes, this produced good looks at a group of three adult and two juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Herons.

The rocky area at the end of 8 Mile Road was still very busy with shorebirds. Willets seemed to be everywhere.


They are among the drabbest of all shorebirds - until they stretch their wings.

A sleepy-looking Ruddy Turnstone was resting with some of the Willets.

Mixed in with another group was a much less common bird, a Whimbrel.



Nearby was a Black-bellied Plover.

A solitary American Avocet and a Sanderling looked rather out-of-place next to all the brown and gray shorebirds.

A Tricolored Heron flew off when we drove a little closer but a family of American Oystercatchers stayed to let us admire them.

As with most young birds, the young Ostercatcher never stopped crying.

We noticed that it was banded.

The parents were not banded.

On our way back down 8 Mile Road, a single Sandhill Crane flew over.

Then we  found what we had been looking for: A group of Sandhills reasonably close to the road.

I can't think of a better way to end a good birding weekend than by getting good looks at Sandhill Cranes.


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