Date: 4/20/17 4:59 pm
From: Joseph Kennedy <josephkennedy36...>
Subject: [texbirds] Bolivar to 1985 etc today, shorebirds and a little more and 6 savannah sparrows
took the early ferry across to bolivar. Missed sunrise but sunrise was
earlier. Lots of birds out on the bay compared to most of last fall and
winter. Great numbers of pelicans on the bolivar side just scooping up fish
at the end of the jetty and bulkhead and between.
Wandered some in port bolivar without many birds but did see my friendly

Stopped at the fort and it had greened up from last week but not a sign of
a puddle and only 4 black-bellied plovers and 1 whimbrels.

Dickcissels are in and singing on territory and both male white-tailed
kites were protecting their territories. Stopped at the black rail spot but
they did not call coming or going. 3 pairs of horned larks, 2 on the beach
and on on Retillon were acting springy with all the males up skylarking.

Lots of sargassum on the beach and going east from Retillon and all up
through crystal beach made a big cleanup necessary. They really have a neat
new cleaner that takes much less sand than the old system. But going down
to the bollards the sargassum patches were full of sanderlings, western
willets, turnstones etc.

My piping plover count over the last 4 weeks has gone from 200 to 90 to 15
and then 1 today.

about half way down where walking was great for a year, the tides or
whatever had brought in a coat of clay mud ranging from 4 to 6 inches deep
that one sinks down in and it does not want to let go. It has filled in the
old channels so it is much deeper there. The shorebirds really liked it. A
single Wilson's phalarope male flew past from the area and a few
white-rumped sandpipers, still mostly in winter plumage were in it. And
lesser yellowlegs so the mud brought in what would be inland birds most of
the time.

Somebody had fallen earlier and left a nice impression including binoculars
that went a couple inches into the goo. It was hard to get my feet out and
I had to be careful.

Lots of semipalmated sandpipers in mixed with fewer westerns. And lots more
least sandpipers than usual. Common plover was black-bellied, some in full
summer regalia.

The rattier of the oldsquaws was way down there on the dry sand inside the
main debris wrack. Very tame and let birders walk by without moving. It
appears to be well fed as it decorated the sand several times. Others saw
the other bird flying east out past the waves on their way down to the
area. The two neat gulls were absent but a nice lesser black-backed adult
gull was really way down there. And the fake great black-backed from a week
ago was still present. All of the other ducks were the continuing lesser
scaup. And a few white pelican but the ones at the ferry landing were not
there for the first time since last fall.

Driving out Retillon, a male northern harrier was sky dancing over the old
nesting sight which raised hopes of a nest this year but just after I was
out on the highway he passed me like he wanted to be in Missouri tonight.

Off toward the cut east of Retillon, there was a pink-bellied laughing gull
and a tame reddish egret doing its dance accompanied by a snowy egret and
tricolored heron, also dancing. All caught lots of fish but tiny ones.

Bob road had both seaside and sharp-tailed sparrows, soras, and lots of
noisy eastern willets.

The end of yacht basin road had a frigatebird and swainson's hawk. Little
at rollover and the side roads east of there were just being mowed.

High island had the usual birds that I have found this season including a
calling catbird.

The cliff swallow colony under the hiway 124 bridge is the biggest I have
seen it but could not find any cave swallows. I think it is too sunny in
the afternoon for them. Did not find any at either of the colonies from
last summer on 1985.

Spent a good bit of time working rice fields along 1985, Fairview, pear
orchard and other roads for shorebirds and grasspipers. Lots of rice fields
dry and diked but never watered. The wet fields further west had no current
water but just sprouting rice. The crawfish ranch had whimbrels and wading

Stopped where I had a killdeer a couple weeks ago that turned out to have
eggs in the pictures. The area was mowed last week and today I found it a
block up the way. However, a red-bellied woodpecker had apparently gotten
the killdeer to leave the nest and was eating one of the eggs. I have read
about woodpeckers eating eggs but not seen but did see the pileated
woodpecker enlarge my red-bellies hole when they had young for the pileated
to use but they enlarge too much and the branch broke off.

There were a few birds on the board at High Island but not what should be
there at the peak of the season. But some good ones.

Joseph C. Kennedy
on Buffalo Bayou in West Houston

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