My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Birds of the Beach

April 7, 2017

My houseguest, Winnie, and I share a love of birds, paddling, and camping, so we are usually doing at least one of these when we are together unless we are volunteering together. We decided last Friday was for the birds so we set off just before sunrise to take the ferry over to Bolivar Peninsula. This is on one of the loops of the Upper Texas Coast Map of the Great Texas Wildlife Trails and has several sites.

We started off looking at several beach areas but I don't think we took any pictures until we got to Audubon's Bolivar Flats. There we found the tide was out and most of the birds were very far away.  But the eastern willets were back and were looking for mates, as were the the little guys with the big snozzles, Wilson's plovers.  So both species were abundant in the little dunes, along with a few lingering Savanah sparrows and horned larks. We found a few other species of shorebirds, most two far away to photograph, including a huge raft of at least 1000 avocets and lots of brown and a few white pelicans.  We didn't seen any of the heron species, except for one great blue heron, a very unusual occurrence.

Foraging Savanah sparrow

Female Wilson's Plover

Male Wilson's plover
Paired Wilson's plovers

This seemed to be part of mating behavior for the Eastern Willets

Semipalmated plovers a long way out


Great blue heron

After we used up Bolivar Flats, we moved on to Rollover Pass.  The view is looking north and the light is much better.  The birds were mostly VERY far out. We could capture some of the small flock of avocets - maybe about 50.

Willets in their breeding plumage

Willet and reflection

Love to watch that snowy egret strut

Snowy and reddish egret

I spent a lot of time watching the reddish egret because I noticed it was shaking it's foot.  This is a motion I've seen snowy egrets perform many times to attract fish to their yellow toes so they can catch and  eat them. But the default hunting of the reddish egret is to lurch about like a drunkard and mantle its wings to make attractive shade for minnows. Finally I had to take a video to share this interesting behavior.

We spent the rest of the day at High Island and Anahuac. (In a previous blog.).
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