Date: 3/9/18 11:36 am
From: Joseph Kennedy <josephkennedy36...>
Subject: [texbirds] Anahuac to the Texas City Dike last Friday with pictures
Started the day at dawn at Anahuac and found most of the ducks and geese
were gone. Had 3 flyover snow geese and shovelers and green-winged teal
were the only ducks present in numbers. Yellow-crowned night herons were
in. The merlin was on a post by the bay rather than a fence post next to
the road

Lots of birds had arrived on the coast and were arriving. Many laughing
gulls were everywhere and most had black or mostly black heads. Forster's
terns were arriving and I had maybe 2,500 in large flocks along Bolivar and
at the texas city dike. Another 2-3,000 were well out there at rollover
pass. The flocks were very nervous and kept taking off and calling sort of
like black skimmers and quickly came back to where they left.

During the morning, there was a heavy movement of both Canadian and great
lakes snowbirds going east along the coast.

Was able to get way out there on Bolivar flats but not close to the birds.
Ran into several areas of pull-off-your-boots mud that kept me going back
and trying another route but only finding mud there too. Usual birds were
around like least sandpipers


and black-bellied plovers

Could not get to where the small plovers were sleeping without putting up
all the pelicans etc. No large gulls seen despite driving lots of beach.

Laughing gulls were common on the ferry and many had all black heads and
getting red bills

Ended up on the Texas City Dike which was charging admission. The fee
really cut down on the number of people who just went out to spin wheels in
the sand but lots of people fishing. No one seemed to catch fish and no one
was or had cleaned fish. Herring gulls had all white heads and were getting
a good yellow eye ring

Most ring-billed gulls had red eye rings but still a little un-worn dark
feather tips on the head

Not that much red on the bills of dike birds. It seems to me that birds in
one area tend to have slightly different general molt stages than other
spots. Holds for both gulls and terns.

The male rock pigeons were preening the necks of the females

One western willet and a few sanderlings were the only shorebirds

Royal terns had been eating fairly large shrimp

Forster's terns had almost all dark heads but the forehead was still white
on most

The ear patch still showed in the black

Or was still the main mark

A good group of Bonaparte's gulls was resting and preening

their call is not like any of the other local gulls

Most were first year birds but there were adults

None had black head yet but dark feathers were showing through the white
head on most

Preening birds show off the field marks like the dark band on the tail of
last summers youngsters

And the wing marking are very different on the youngsters

And a good way to end the day with the gull flock

Did have 3 common loons but no other swimming birds. Only a few brown
pelicans and no white pelicans waiting to be fed and all the brown pelicans
were younger birds. Many that migrated are not back yet.

They will be back soon and somewhere between the 15th and 25th the eastern
willets will return. My general feeling is that most of the birds from one
marsh area return about the same time while other nearby areas are still
empty of birds. Will be able to check that theory later this month and try
to see if local birds migrate in and out together.

Joseph C. Kennedy
on Buffalo Bayou in West Houston

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