[texbirds] Anahuac to Texas City Yesterday, still shorebirds, nesting waterbirds away from the nest

  • From: Joseph Kennedy <josephkennedy36@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: 4 Texbirds Maillist <texbirds@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 3 Jun 2015 12:54:50 -0500

Started the day about sunrise at Anahuac and it was a really good day
there. All the usual birds around but purple gallinule numbers seemed way
down as they have been since the great rain back in April. Nesting willet
numbers are way up with pairs in many spots where they were not during the
last several years. Common gallinules have largish chicks. There are still
paired blue-winged teal in shoveler pond and others were along 1985 and the
Bolivar Peninsula. Least bitterns spread out all over and some black and
Caspian terns overhead but no forster's terns seen.
Both cattle egrets and white-faced ibis were doing the stick-carrying act
into the dense reed bed in the middle of shoveler pond. It is green out

I saw one mosquito and a few flies for the only ones of those species for
the day which is a side effect of all the rain.

They are flooding and preparing several rice fields on 1985 just east of
Pear Orchard road on the south side of 1985. One where they were working
had about 120 shorebirds including phalaropes, stilt and western,
semipalmated sandpipers and white-rumped sandpipers. Plus teal.

Really big cattle drive came up the road toward me and it was like the old
days when they would walk cattle out of the coastal area at the start of

Went looking for the jaegers at the beach at the end of 124 and also at
bolivar flats without luck. Lots of people fishing, swimming and looking
for gold treasure.

The high island jaeger had a bad experience on either Monday or Sunday when
a photographer who might also be a birder ran directly at it with big
tripod legs flapping and "accidently" flushed the bird which flew far out
into the gulf. Such acts seem to becoming the norm as people need to take
flight shots of birds.

Found shorebirds along the peninsula including semipalmated and
white-rumped sandpipers and a single lesser yellowlegs. Fewer birds on the
beach with the influx of summer people who have arrived.

The water at Rollover Pass was very high with only one Wilson's plover and
one white phase reddish egret in close.

A sign of a bad nesting season for American oystercatchers were 18 all
adult birds on the island to the north-west of the pass. Several had bands.

The female surf scoter was sitting on the beach preening when I drove down
toward the bollards and was sitting quietly when I returned. It is alert
but does not seem well as is the case with most summering scoters.

As I was watching the scoter preen, I thought that I was getting cobwebs on
my face but it turned out to be tiny gnats. They would get in the sunscreen
and get stuck and try to swim before drowning. I could not seen any while
out there but when I got home there were hundreds of specks all over my
face with lots more in my hair.

Still good numbers of sanderlings along the edge with many in breeding
plumage. 5 marbled godwits, some avocets, and peeps including western and
least sandpipers were lingering.

A single breeding plumaged spotted sandpiper was late.

Really large numbers of brown pelicans floating in the gulf and down past
the marked off tern and plover nesting area for the time of year. A few
ring-billed gulls were among the terns and all least terns seemed to be
non-nesting birds as no one objected to my existence. One flock had black
terns but they were uncommon elsewhere.

A single late piping plover was east of Retillon up near the cut before the
houses that run east from Magnolia Road.

The youngish male surf scoter was over by the jetty looking worse than the

Only laughing gulls on the ferry ride.

Went up the texas city dike. Good numbers of terns scattered along the way
with lots on the sand out past mile 3. Tide very high and flooded areas had
shorebirds but one needs to be careful as one bogs down easily in those
areas which does protect them from the trucks. Peeps and avocets joined the
sanderlings and summering? turnstones. Still common terns among the
sandwich and forster's terns. Saw no black or least terns.

Summer has officially arrived as the black skimmers were lying flat on the
wet sand and panting to keep cool.

The docked shrimp boats had several black-crowned night herons in the
rigging. The first fish cleaning station had lots of begging birds looking
for fresh scraps even though there was lots of food floating in the water.
No ducks, grebes or loons were seen lingering.

Joseph C. Kennedy
on Buffalo Bayou in West Houston

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  • » [texbirds] Anahuac to Texas City Yesterday, still shorebirds, nesting waterbirds away from the nest - Joseph Kennedy