[texbirds] Skimmer and Tern rookery

  • From: Ruth Friedrichs <twofried@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: texbirds@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 28 May 2013 08:37:57 -0700 (PDT)

Monday, May 27.
I took the boat out on Tres Palacios Bay on Memorial Day.  Started at 11am and 
fnished at 3pm.  The tide was really high so many beaches and sand bars were 
mostly underwater.  Many of the ones that weren't had boaters/families on them 
enjoying the nice day on the bay.   

Managed 3 pair of Am Oystercatchers and a lone Wilson's Plover.  Drove the boat 
by the skimmer and tern rookery.  The island looks smaller this year (coastal 
erosion taking a toll?).  The rookery was a bit smaller too.  From the water, 
was difficult to get an accurate count but there seemed to be about 40 Black 
Skimmers, 20 Gull-billed Terns and 8 Laughing Gulls.  In previous years the 
'terns' were Sandwich and there were no gulls.  It seems a shift-change has 
occurred with the Gull-billed Terns replacing the Sandwich Terns.

In addition to Gull-billed Tern at the rookery, I also saw, on the bay, Least 
Tern (30+), Foresters Tern (4), Royal Tern (8), Caspian tern (2), Sandwich Tern 
(1).  No Frigatebirds trailing the shrimpers in from the Gulf but plenty of 
Laughing Gulls.

In the reeds and marshes, the Willet folks 'were' willeting around and quite 
territorial; even saw a pair chasing a low-flying Turkey Vulture.  The Clapper 
Rails were clapping to one another; I guess the high tide had them stirred-up 
too.  I actually expected to see some rails due to the very high tides but no 
luck; heard only.  There was a beautiful male Boat-tailed Grackle singing and 
displaying in the reeds for 3 females; quite a show.  

Otherwise the usual suspects (see below).  Oh, I did wet a bait and managed 1 
slot redfish, but the birding was more productive than the fishing.

Great Blue Heron (3)
Tri-colored Heron (2)
Little Blue Heron (1)
Green Heron (1)
Great Egret (9)
Snowy Egret (7)
Cattle Egret (15)
White Ibis (14)
White-faced Ibis (6)
Double-crested Cormorant (1)
Ruddy Turnstone (3)
Greater Yellowlegs (2)
White-rumped Sandpiper (1)
Willet (16)
Black-necked Stilt (2)
Clapper Rail (5) - heard only
Gull-billed Tern (1)
Royal Tern (8)
Foresters Tern (4)
Least Tern (30+)
Caspian Tern (2)
Sandwich Tern (1)
Laughing Gull (40+)
Brown Pelican (40+)
Turkey Vulture (5)
Boat-tailed Grackle (4)
Redwinged Blackbird (4)

Bob Friedrichs
Houston, Texas (and Tres Palacios Bay) 
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