My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Sex in the (Bird) City

April 7, 2017

Birds this spring are still in short supply.  In fact, the premier place to see warblers, High Island, had NO warblers when my friend Winnie and I visited last Friday. It did have hundreds of people, including a tour bus from FeatherFest, a birding festival in Galveston, all looking for them. I asked about the rookery and was told that it was the best ever, because the birds had expanded along the lake side close to the trail Along the shore.

Winnie and I spent an enchanted hour watching all the action. Just when I'd get bored, a fight would break out, a bird would fly in with a stick, a pair of birds would mate, or babies would pop their heads up and beg for food.

The rookery is built on two islands, one a large horseshoe-shaped one and the other more like a little ridge inside a tiny lake. The front edge of the islands is only about fifty feet or less from the steep bank of the land. The path is on that high ground and puts the viewers at eye level with the middle of the rookery.

The rookery currently has great egrets, roseate spoonbills, snowy egrets, and neotropical cormorants 

The spoonbills are just building their nests and copulating while the great egrets have eggs or babies

The birds are building nests from low to high branches

Everything is constantly changing making it hard to find just one spot to focus on

A common gallinule was swimming near the island 

I think this great egret has older and younger chicks

A full nest - think this is a later shot of the same nest

Neotropical cormorants have really ugly kids

This seemed to be a pair of chicks

.....Who perhaps had already kicked their sibling out of the tree to feed the alligator

Probably looking for sticks - fights sometimes break out over them

More large babies

Ebony and ivory 

Males displaying before a fight look like dancers


Baby is almost full grown

This is  the one good picture out of many attempts to catch them all 

Mom grooming and babies begging

One of the few snowy egrets displaying

High Island, owned by Audubon, is one of the top ten birding sites in the US and funnels migrants in from March until mid May.  If it gets a fall out, one can see several species of migrants in one tree. The rookery has several viewing platforms and had a brand new, two story platform that photographers pay to use.  The birds start congregating here in late February or early March and babies are still on the nest until early June. At this rookery, the cattle egrets have to wait until the great egrets are finished nesting as there is not enough room to go around.  A few little blue and tri colored herons also breed here some years.

I'm  linking to Wild Bird Wednesday.  Click on the picture for more fabulous wild bird blogs.