My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Birds of Bolivar

October 18, 2015

I rushed to get to the ferry, after sleeping in Sunday morning. I wanted to see check out what birds were hanging out on Bolivar Peninsula. There are many great birding sites there, more than I  would have time to visit. 

I missed the ferry by one car and then had to wait about 20 minutes for the next one. The usual suspects were hanging around: great-tailed grackles, brown pelicans, laughing gulls, and double-crested cormorants. Very few birds were flying because cool north winds were blowing at about fifteen miles per hour. When I went to the top of the ferry, I saw most people in jackets and hats.  I was in shorts and a short-sleeved shirt.  I could only handle about fifteen minutes outside at that chill point.

The ferry ride is always interesting, with lots to see.  Foreign ships are always going by, shrimpers are shrimping (in season), a lot of birds are loafing or fishing, and there are pleasure boats speeding about or fishing.  Sometimes one of the cruise boats is coming in or going out. Bottlenose dolphins ride on the bow wave of the ferries or are  just cruising around in the bay.

Galveston Bay Shoreline

A popular park for fishing and birding

I got to look down at a juvenile brown pelican

Birds follow the shrimpers waiting for bycatch

The concrete ship, the S. S. Selma which has been here since 1922

A very colorful boat - not sure of its function, but it was working in place

It was 8:30 when I got to Bolivar so I immediately started birding, with the plan of going as far east as I could before noon. Frenchtown Road was nearly empty of birds. I stopped at Fort Travis Park and found the most amazing birds of the day - over 100 marbled godwits, feeding in the lawn grass. I continued on to Yacht Club Basin and Roll-Over Pass before I ran out of time. I never made it to one of the best birding places, Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary.

One of about 125 marbled godwits I found at Fort Travis Park

They were feeding in huge groups - I counted 111 in only three groups 

One of a group of seven cattle egrets - they are leaving cattle fields
and gathering on the coast to migrate

Naptime for Forster's terns and laughing gulls

A few royal terns were with the gulls and Forster's terns

This juvenile was the only American white pelican I saw - with a few marbled godwits

I saw a dozen avocets in their winter prison garb

Another juvenile brown pelican  - this time from below

My impression was that there were fewer species of birds than normal, as well as fewer of each species. But the winds were high and there were lots of people around, so perhaps the birds were hiding. The tide was also high which always causes birds to disappear. Hopefully, for both the birds and me, there will be more to see next time. 

For re blogs about birds from around the world, click on the picture below to see the posts on Wild Bird Wednesday.

I'm still in South Louisiana visiting my friend Hulin.  We have gone on a short paddle and Tuesday,  did an 8.5 mile bike ride. He is just getting back to full activity after getting a hip replacement in May. Hope I can be that active at almost ninety-one.