White ibis

White ibis
Ibis

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Bath Time for a Sharp-Shinned Hawk

I was at Goose Island State Park, one of my favorite Texas State Parks because I can combine birding and kayaking there, and most sites have great hammock trees. I was on a very scaled-down camping trip because we had a couple of days of our wintery weather – lots of rain and wind with hail and possible tornadoes predicted.

So I had met one of my friends and her niece in Rockport, Texas and begged a corner of their motel room for the night, before taking a bird tour on boat with them.  More of that trip later.

I camped out with my friend, Winnie, the next night and was supposed to paddle with her and another friend, Katrina, the next morning (this past Friday).  But my shoulder was hurting and we had predictions of high winds starting around noon.  I was afraid I’d really be hurting if I had to fight winds so decided not to go. 

Instead I went and sat at the Park's  feeding station, .  It adjacent to one of the bathrooms and causes me to have to spend at least 30 minutes to an hour each time I go to that bathroom.  But this morning, there were no birds there. Finally some cardinals came in very stealthily and stayed near the brush around the perimeter, never even visiting the feeders. A hummingbird darted towards its feeder, then darted back to a branch.  It came out once more but never fed, and then flew back out of site. 

 A few minutes later a sharp-shinned hawk popped on to a low branch and checked everything out before dropping down to the ground by one of the water features.





After forty or so seconds of looking all around, she hopped into a little pool, continuing to check out her surroundings.




Then she took a little bath, only little dip and shake, before checking out the area again. Then she squatted into the water again and started fluffing up her feathers and spreading her wings and splashing water over herself.










Then it was time for another check around. She repeated this three or four times, each time taking a longer and more vigorous dip.











 During the bird's last check, a lady walked up, causing her to fly off in a very disheveled  state.

By this time my hands were cramping and I had taken over fifty pictures. I had also figured out,that besides having very  few birds in the park, the ones we had were hiding out so they wouldn't become breakfast.

I 'll share my trip on the on the Whooping Crane Tour with you next time.  I'm visiting a friend in Corpus.  We are about to go to another friend's house for lunch. Then we are going to meet another lady who is slated to become a good friend. She built her own skin kayak.  

Tomorrow we are inviting four other friends over for lunch. By the time I go back to Houston mid-week, I'll have gotten to visit with most of my Corpus Friends.  But I'll have to come back to spend some quality time with them - that's kayaking with them, of course. And/or birding.