Date: 7/20/20 7:50 am From: Joseph Kennedy <josephkennedy36...> Subject: [texbirds] Coastal birding and pictures from Thursday
Did my usual summer circuit around East Galveston Bay last Thursday starting on Galveston's east beach. Tides were very low and receding a bit with very little wind. Later in the am, the wind dropped entirely and the waves on bolivar flats were in the 2 inch range with wide areas of mud and slop. Lots of birds sleeping, soaking and not doing much.
East beach had very little around. No birds in the parking lots or roosting in the fenced area. Had 2 each snowy, piping and wilson's plover. Added one more banded piping plover when I got home and checked a practice shot to see if the camera would fog up. That bird and 2 banded birds on Bolivar were all born and bred in 2016 and have been wintering locally since then.
There was a group of about 135 least terns resting near the jetty. I first thought that a good part of them were non-breeders but quite a few were young of the year raised other than at bolivar or east beach
There was a big change in birds on Bolivar Flats from a week ago. More people likely moved some around and as it was siesta time,, many may have been roosting back inside the fenced area.
Did get 14 piping plovers, mainly staying wet and preening but zero wilson's and snowy plovers.
The big influx for the day was 240 western willets. There are really large numbers of tiny minnows in the shallows and one group of the willets was eating lots of the minnows trapped in a small pool. A total of 22 long-billed curlews was also a big jump in numbers.
The young bird was sitting a good ways off with royal terns that showed no interest in me and just wanted to sit in the cool water.
On the way in, there was a group of 45 common nighthawks feeding in a large insect hatch over the vegetation nearest the sandy area west of the road. More flew in to join them. A fledged horned lark was near the traditional nest area.
Again no hawks along 1985 or heading up to I-10. The rookery in shoveler pond is still going strong with mainly largish white-faced ibis chicks calling but cattle egrets are still bringing food and standing around. Many youngsters out of the nest waiting to get the urge to find their own food. They were mowing along the access road and were feeding a large flock of cattle egrets.
Some rice will be harvested fairly soon and can provide a good show as they cut and in the day or so after when hawks ans herons scarf up the critters that lived under the rice. Some away from the road already had harvest equipment present.
And the forecast for this week includes daily thunder showers. If you are out in black rail country like Anahuac and roads on Bolivar like Retillon, Johnston, or Stingaree, the rails will respond with each clap of thunder even if it is a couple of miles away. Might even get one to fly or run across the road. Can also try Galveston Island State park but you have to walk out the trail there which might not be so good with lightning nearby.
-- Joseph C. Kennedy on Buffalo Bayou in West Houston <Josephkennedy36...>