Date: 7/4/18 6:47 am
From: Joseph Kennedy <josephkennedy36...>
Subject: [texbirds] PIctures from last week, more babies, molting adults and returning shorebirds
Started the day walking east beach. The annual coconut migration has begun.
Like the last 2 years, the nuts are short distance migrants from further
down the western gulf. Long distance migrants from the indies went up the
Atlantic again like the sargassum. Thus only a few barnacles.

The local crested caracara had two chicks that fledged and are feeding or
scavenging on their own. They were annoying or more accurately being
harassed by the Wilson's plovers.

Saw the local snowy plovers out on the beach with one banded bird and one
of this years fully feathered chicks.

The adult Wilson's plovers are getting very worn and in need of a molt. One
banded bird is still hiding chicks that have to be mostly grown but never

Across the way, bolivar flats had lots of interest.

Young of the year great egrets are out feeding with the reddish egrets on
the abundant minnows. Depending on the tides and wind, the heron lunch is
trapped in pools leading to lots of ownership disputes

The early fledged least terns are able to fish and feed themselves but
still want food from the parents

the protective parents will dive or poop on anyone getting too close. This
black skimmer and several others walked into the wrong part of the sand and
got bombed

Three year classes of reddish egrets are out on the beach with most still
non-breeding second year birds but young of the year and breeding adults
were here this week too

And a young of the year bird

Royal tern numbers were up and the adults are already molting into their
non-breeding plumage

My first chick royal tern of the summer

A few others were scattered around. Note that the legs on the youngsters
can be orange, black or anywhere between

My first sandwich tern chick of the summer

Most of the young birds out on the beach were sandwich terns where in past
summers the bulk of early babies were royal terns

The summering red knot numbers had doubled over recent trips with 2 birds
present but none have any reddish feathers.

All the summering peeps were western sandpipers. I have trouble with the
small billed males

The long-billed females are easy. But the westerns have semipalmated toes
like the bird of that name

Like the westerns, the summering sanderlings show no sign of breeding

Marbled godwits are back from the nesting grounds showing their orange
breeding bills that will fade within a few days of arrival

The will rapidly molt and feathers will start sticking out of the body and
wings as new feathers grow in

Drinking is not real easy with a long bill

Most of the summering short-billed dowitchers were elsewhere or napping
inland but the remaining birds got lots of worms

Like the other summering birds, western willets are in very plain plumage

But returning breeders have great plumage

Some of the fledged least terns spent time in the water and periodically
would sink down while waiting on minnows

this chick ran away from the parent who brought a minnow

And then ran from both parents

Several Wilson's plover chicks fledged this year after getting washed out
last summer by several high tides

Up at Anahuac Refuge, the summering gadwall is still summering

A young great egret was trying to get cool

The little blue herons continue getting bluer and are catching fish

Have to get it lined up properly while the fish watches the process

And down it goes

And tilt the head back to help the descent

Lots of good birds out there so go birding.

Joseph C. Kennedy
on Buffalo Bayou in West Houston

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