Date: 8/23/17 3:30 pm
From: Joseph Kennedy <josephkennedy36...>
Subject: [texbirds] Birding the coast in front of Harvey. high tide, low tide and wet
Started the day at east beach. Water was very high and not many birds
around the jetty. 4 little pop up showers off to the east coagulated and
headed my way with lots of lightning. Dropped lots of rain east of bolivar
flats. I fled and it rained off and on until about 10:15 when it turned
nice for my walk down bolivar flats. Commonest bird was least sandpiper and
good numbers across the bay too.
The ferry ride had good birds. Ignoring birds sitting at the landings, I
had 2 brown pelicans, 3 terns and 7 seagulls.

Tried to find migrants in port bolivar and saw one but it kept going.
Retillon Road had lots of egrets, ibis and spoonbills feeding happily. My
theory that thunder can set off black rails did not hold today.

Out on the beach I found 4 lesser black-backed gulls and 4 ring-billed
gulls to the east. 2 of the lesser black-backs were in full breeding
plumage and the others were the summering birds. All 4 of the ring-bills
were in high breeding plumage so they may be new arrivals.

Really good flats along the beach and even better down the way. But not
that many birds. Only a total of say 200 royal terns and laughing gulls and
not much else.

Like one day last year, there were large drifts of shed? crab legs and
claws. Also large amounts of an odd seaweed that looked like a ship dumped
a whole load of cooked sauerkraut. Have never seen it before and certainly
in large amounts.

Only a few plover around, maybe a dozen piping, 5 snowy and 12 Wilson's.
However, one of the Wilson's was a youngster and not too old. He could fly
but I thought that was iffy.

Found baby least terns. 4 youngsters still all tan but could fly. 4 older
youngsters that were molting into winter plumage and are about the age of
the photographed chick from a few weeks ago. But only 25 or so least terns
for the day compared to many hundred a week ago.

A new bird for the flats was a single Wilson's phalarope. They are scarce
out in the salt water and it was also my first of the fall. One of the
summering dunlins was still summering. Otherwise, lots of western
sandpipers, short-billed dowitchers, sanderlings and turnstones. Maybe 15
Caspian terns complained the whole time.

Bob road and yacht basin road had an osprey and not much else. Then a
deluge hit around rollover complete with stupendous waterspout. Lots of
thunder and lightning. more rain going north and along 1985 and then
another deluge going north to I10.

Hard to get home. I-10 blocked near loop 610 and already backed up into
Baytown. Still blocked as I write this. Looped down 330/146/610 etc. Then
610 down to 1 lane. Up 288 and a stall in the big merge area around
downtown. Great fun.

Nothing that looked like a storm brewing. I was down on Quintana and brazos
mouth a bit before Ike and you could sure tell that something was going to
happen. Birds seemed to know something too. Today just a day with a few
good pop-up storms and no special bird activity.

Joseph C. Kennedy
on Buffalo Bayou in West Houston

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