Date: 3/9/18 8:58 am
From: Joseph Kennedy <josephkennedy36...>
Subject: [texbirds] Wednesday Quintana to Texas City with slow birding
Started off trying to get to the beach at Quintana without much luck. The
entry right off the bridge had lots of soft sand but good ruts if my car
had another foot of clearance. Down at the Bryan Beach lagoon entrance it
was the same and a small car had tried but bottomed out and would need a
tow to get out. Some ruddy ducks and coots on the lagoons but no edge. Lots
more ruddy ducks in the pond north of the flood dike back on the mainland.
Did get out on the beach at the entrance by Neotropic but it was a narrow
driving path and by the time I reached the usual entrance was very narrow
and the tide was coming in. The total bird count was 3 western willets in
the area. Could not see any birds further west.

All the beaches were barren compared to the abundant birds over on Bolivar.
Even laughing gulls were scarce.

Stopped at Neotropic for early migrants and had 2 eastern phoebes and 1
yellow-rumped warbler. For a change had zero cowbird and grackles. 2
cardinals were a highlight.

Walked the jetty to the end and had one of the better birds of the day out
at the end feeding with least sandpipers. Piping plovers are not normal
jetty birds.

All the other shorebirds were ruddy turnstones. A few royal terns were
feeding in the channel but no unusual appearing or sounding birds.

Some beach walkers went through the gull flock at the jetty base and many
went inland or out into the gulf. A large feeding group of both pelicans
and large white gulls were scooping up food without diving. Stopped and
watched them come back to the beach but nothing unusual but there
eventually were 6 lesser black-backed gulls when I left. Only royal terns.

Over at surfside, Crab Street was cleaned out of birds by 2 northern
harriers and a peregrine looking for breakfast as I arrived. There were a
few birds by the intracoastal bridge. A group of semipalmated plovers was
resting and feeding

Yellowlegs are generally considered to be plucking feeders but greaters
often dive in like willets or dowitchers

While lesser pick from the top but can dive in too

Driving up Folletts Island, there were mainly small groups of ring-billed
and herring gulls but one flock had 7 lesser black-backed gulls near
entrance 3. Almost no shorebirds the whole way. No crows at the bridge.

A dead first year gannet had attracted lots of big flies which stopped the
small number of barn swallows for a bit as they had a meal

Stopped a some wood patches and walked Lafitte Woods a good bit and found
no migrants but there had been a couple of black and white warblers just
before I got there. No loons on 61st street and Settegast road seemed
birdless too.

Ended up at the Texas City Dike. Only one large flock of forster's terns
remained. One common loon.

The ear patch on the forster's terns still shows as the rest of the black
head feathers grow in

Bonaparte's gulls included young of last summer

A one year older bird

And a two year older bird

Lots of preening


And bathing

Have to really work to get all the wing feathers

Oil for the feathers come from the preen gland

The gulls came and went but some were there all during my stay.

I guess that I will have to wait a bit for there to be more migrants.

Joseph C. Kennedy
on Buffalo Bayou in West Houston

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