I started today on the ferry a bit after sunrise and just missed a boat but
the one I was on had no incident this time. Lots of pelicans and laughing
gulls at the shrimp boats which were picking their catch. Not much followed
Checked Frenchtown Road pond but it is still full. But the bridge damaged
by Ike is open so you can loop through Port Bolivar.
Went by Fort Travis and the pair of white-tailed kites there have 2 freshly
fledged youngsters. The pair on Retillon that were trampled by
photographers have 3 young this year after the nest site was not posted. Do
not post nest sites as some are not as considerate of birds as you.
Check for the male scoter by the jetty but he was not home. Going around to
the Bolivar flats, the female scoter was also missing. However, on my way
back from the bollards, a scoter was swimming well out in the gulf and
appeared to be heading to Galveston. It appeared to be better marked around
the face than the jetty bird but will need to check pictures. Plumage
appears to be really bad.
Going down the beach, there were 36 American avocets along the way and
later 3 and 43 more flew over. 4 ruddy turnstones, 3 car birds and 1
western willet were also on the beach. A total of 9 reddish egrets included
3 white birds. The tide was high and as I was leaving, more shorebirds were
arriving including a couple dozen more carbirds and 1 gray red knot.
Several ring-billed gulls including 2 in breeding plumage and one possible
candidate for ratty gull of the year.
The tide was going out and more birds were arriving to perch and feed but
rarer birds up the peninsula beckoned.
Other beach areas had lots of people to go with the summer and not many
places for birds. Very few black terns except for flyovers but still quite
a few common terns with most non-breeders.
Bob Road still has high water but seaside sparrows were singing and 2
turnstones were using the road to feed. A crested caracara was happy on a
power pole until a red-winged blackbird took umbrage and started diving.
The caracara ignored it until the blackbird started to hit it on the head
repeatedly whereupon the caracara retreated.
The beach east of 124 had a couple of white-rumped sandpipers and a
semipalmated sandpiper and 3 greater yellowlegs out in the marsh but only
fisherfolk on the beach in great numbers. Only one western willet on the
There are quite a few lingering pairs of blue-winged teal on the peninsula
and one pair appeared to be nesting. At least the female was sitting on
what appeared to be a nest with the male nearby.
The rice fields on the south side of 1985 east of Pear Orchard have deep
water but no birds. When the water is drawn down, there should be
shorebirds. Likewise the crawfish pond at the corner of pear orchard is
still full of water and will be great when drawn down.
If you like water lilies, shoveler pond is the place to be with 2
varieties. Both gallinules and gallinule chicks are mixed in for great
viewing. I had my first fledged heron of the year with a great blue heron
there. The rookery to the west of the 4th leg is going great with lots of
cattle egrets. Some snowy egrets are gurgling back in there as well as some
ibis. The egrets are feeding heavily along the 4th side of the pond loop.
Had a couple of bronzed cowbirds joining the numerous brown-headed
cowbirds. A yellow-billed cuckoo was bring large caterpillars to the same
tree where they nested last year. Most of the birds were singing which was
a little surprising as it as over 90 in the early afternoon.
Summer has arrived and baby birds will substitute for migrants until the
end of this month when the shorebirds will be arriving to molt.
Joseph C. Kennedy
on Buffalo Bayou in West Houston
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