Date: 2/6/17 7:41 am
From: Joseph Kennedy <josephkennedy36...>
Subject: [texbirds] Brazoria county last Tuesday and empty beaches
Started the day at sunrise on the moccasin pond loop. All the area inside
the loop road was burned fairly recently so there was a lack of birds that
need cover. And the area that is usually a lake is a marsh.
But I did get a nemesis bird when a sora rail flew across the ditch into a
little clump of reeds. Waited for it to come out which it never did but a
Virginia rail ran into the patch and never came out either. First Virginia
in a year or more. Good flock of geese in the burn area and a couple of
sandhill cranes.

Bobcat woods had a towhee and a singing black and white bird with another
warbler across the water singing weet-weet-weet but never seen. The
wetlands had coots and a few ducks.

Headed on down to Quintana and out to the beach. Drove down to Brazos mouth
and had a total of 7 ring-billed gulls, 1 lesser black-backed gull and 9
great-tailed grackles. 0 terns and 0 sandpipers and 0 plovers. There was a
little group of 40 gulls including another lesser black-backed, 1 royal
tern, 1 willet, 1 black-bellied plover and 7 sanderlings on the brazos
beach. Emptiest beach ever in Texas

Note that the driving way down to the river mouth is getting much narrower
and there are clay areas exposed where you used to drive that have recently
bogged down vehicles. Two pickup trucks were bogged down at the entrance
from the bridge to the beach and were being towed. And the alternate
entrance through the lagoon has a large and deep sink hole almost closing
that road.

Neotropic had yellow-rumped warblers and a large hawk at the back drip but
no early migrants and no martins at the houses there or elsewhere.

Walked out to the end of the jetty and had a total of 3 brown pelicans and
zero shorebirds, 1 grackle, and 1 laughing gull. A small group of laughing,
ring-billed and herring gulls, royal and forsters terns and sanderling at
the base of the jetty on the beach.

On up to Brazoria refuge where there wasn't anything of note. And around
the road to see if the black-tailed godwit was back. They are preparing the
area for rice so it may return later in the season.

As with most of my trips recently, I saw no rats. They had been very common
earlier in the year but the series of flooding rains apparently knocked the
population down. And so the lack of hawks has a reason. There are almost no
harriers where there should be lots on the refuges and coast and many fewer
red-tails etc. But reading there are lots further north where there is good
food and good weather.

Joseph C. Kennedy
on Buffalo Bayou in West Houston

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