Fan-tailed Warbler

Fan-tailed Warbler

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Texas: 2nd Day, Part 2

Too many birds in one day to include all in one post, so this second part is going to focus more on waterbirds and another previously mentioned bird.  At noon, the Houston Audubon Society had another field trip and this one took us to the actual Gulf Coast and some great water birds.  First stop was Rollover Pass and the first birds we found up close and personal, were some Ruddy Turnstones.  This is one gorgeous shorebird and can really stand out in a crowd of other shorebirds.  We were so close we could see the awesome coloration of the legs and feet.  Love the black lines on the feet and the black 'knees'.

Ruddy Turnstone

Additional shorebirds included Black-bellied Plover and Wilson's Plover.    

Black-bellied Plover

Wilson's Plover

We had a total of 7 species of terns at this location, plus a Black Skimmer and of course some gulls and a few other shorebirds.  All of them were resting quite comfortably on the sand bar until an unexpected Broad-winged Hawk decided to make a brief appearance in the sky and that created pandemonium with all the birds taking flight but to return very shortly after the hawk disappeared.  

 Various terns

 Royal Tern

Broad-winged Hawk

At one brief stop near the shore, we had another 'Common' Nighthawk sitting on the ground.  Having never seen this species before this trip, now I had seen one the day before in flight, one in the morning at High Island on a wire, and now a third one resting on the ground in broad daylight.  (Be prepared to see more on a couple future posts as this was not the end of seeing this very unique bird.)

Common Nighthawk

So now back to High Island and this time my focus was to check out the rookery in Smith Oaks Woods in the afternoon.  This spot is a photographer's dream in late afternoon in spring with all the nesting and breeding birds.  They have built some great platforms that gives photographers great viewing with an abundance of subjects for your photography skills.  Here is a sampling of what I was able to capture.

 Cattle Egret

 Great Egret with chicks

Neotropic Cormorant with chicks

 Purple Gallinule

 Tricolored Heron

Tricolored Heron

 Roseate Spoonbill

 Roseate Spoonbill on nest with egg

Roseate Spoonbill

By the time this day had come to a close for me and my birding I had added a total of 15 new life birds.  Some were not photograph-able, but I did get some good looks at some.  When birding with a group, photos are always not going to happen as it is quite enjoyable to let others see these birds as well.  List for the day includes; Dickcissel, Tri-colored heron, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Broad-winged Hawk, Tennessee Warbler, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Scarlet Tanager, Red-eyed Vireo, Ovenbird, Golden-winged Warbler, Common Tern, Sandwich Tern, Hooded Warbler, and Black-throated Green Warbler.  Not a bad day at all.  

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