Date: 4/6/17 3:22 pm From: Joseph Kennedy <josephkennedy36...> Subject: [texbirds] Bolivar to Anahuac today, Old squaw, California gull, lots of peregrines and black rails etc and etc
Started the day with the sunrise ferry rise across to Bolivar. Lots of pelicans feeding on the bay especially near the bolivar landing. Good mix of the 3 common gulls following the boat but not much else. Not much around on the way but there was a crested caracara at fort travis. First bird after leaving the ferry was my first of the spring least bittern who already had the pink face of a male.
Going out Retillon Road had 3 calling black rails at the spot I had one calling last week. Both Nelson's and seaside sparrows were up singing.
Going out to the beach was a revelation. The tide was further out that I have ever seen it. Sandbars past sandbars. But the tide had been up very high before the north wind yesterday and all of the Wilson's plovers had been moved around. Good old KE was not on territory but another bird was scolding at the spot and all of the least terns were far out as were most of the Wilson's plovers.
Parked at the bollards and paced out to the waters edge from the furthest seaward bollard and it was over 50 yards of bare sand. Sandbars I had never seen and I walked where I have never walked.
It was hard to get close to birds as they kept swirling up due to peregrines and a merlin. I had 2 peregrines at one time and the merlin harassed all the peregrines. The falcons would sweep down the shore and look for someone that did not fly right. One caught a shorebird but did not land where I could see it. One large flock split around me and the chasing peregrine went right by. Lots of least terns way out there where they were chased.
Found an oldsquaw way out there near a white pelican which can be used as a landmark. It did not fly from the peregrine. A flock of scaup did fly. Big flock of black-bellied plovers and maybe 80 small plovers roosting in a little debris. No weed lines on the beach as the high tide cleaned everything off.
Only a few gulls and terns around and they were scattered. The California gull was on the beach east of Retillon near a single laughing gull. Several red-billed royal terns were in a group in Crystal Beach. Did have a couple each of upland and golden plover but grasspipers were very scarce as it is very dry.
The rollover pass birds were most of the way out there to Anahuac and too far for me after the bolivar slog.
Had a few (2 or 3) swainson's hawks moving east and then going inland at high island. One gray ghost at Retillon were the only hawks of the day other than a couple male? broad-wings on 521 where they nest when I was heading up to I-10.
There was a considerable change in the birds seen in Boy Scout Woods and Smith Oaks compared to my visit a week ago. Grackle numbers were down and cardinal, mourning dove and blue jay numbers were up. I did not see a migrant.
The cliff swallows were back in very large numbers on the high rise bridge over the intracoastal on highway 124 and other bridges. But the cave swallows were not at their culverts. The cliffs were really hauling mud.
Driving across 1985 it was really dry. Where fields were being worked there were major dust storms.
The northeast corner of 1985 and Pear Orchard is wet and had golden plover on the north end. The flooded area on the corner where you turn into Anahuac had 11 gull billed terns with both young of last year and paired adults. Very little around Anahuac in the early-ish pm. Listened for black rails but with no luck.
But someday there will be a landbird migrant at High Island for me to see. But today I did not even hear one.
-- Joseph C. Kennedy on Buffalo Bayou in West Houston <Josephkennedy36...>