Date: 10/17/20 10:41 am
From: Joseph Kennedy <josephkennedy36...>
Subject: [texbirds] Pictures from the coast, gulls, shorebirds and delta damage
Got down to the beach at dawn on Tuesday and had to slosh through pools on
the road. They were still removing sand from Delta. Looking out over the
formerly fenced off area where snowy and wilson's plovers sparred for
ownership, the area is flat and most of the rainwater wet area is filled
with sand

The lagoon up the ship channel is now connected to the channel

While is was walking down that way and back, a sandwich tern injured a wing
and was dazed and could not fly. 2 harriers

2 crested caracara and a peregrine falcon were patrolling and I think the
peregrine paused to chase a caracara and then returned

The falcon was then harassed by northern harrier

Who attacked from below and all 5 landed out near the tern and a dead royal
tern to pick the beach clean

Over on the bolivar side, there is lots more sand as the vegetation has
been pushed way back and the sand smoothed to even out the former ledge

Here looking from the bollars

And from further down the beach

I only found one old friend among the piping plovers

Most were feeding east of Retillon or a few way down the way

Was able to read the band and confirm the id of the beach old timer

The really large numbers of black-bellied plovers showed lots of variation

I miss birds out there concentrating on the plovers and did not notice the
banded red knot in the background. A knot had walked up to a person sitting
on the sand a week earlier until noticing that the lump was alive.

The couple of dunlin out there could well be the summering birds

I did find a large flock of caspian terns out there alone and estimated
that another 10 or so were in the gull/tern flocks. That number was low as
this shot of the 2 lesser black-backed gulls has 8 caspians.

A good number of semipalmated plovers was out there but most were sleeping
in a roost among uprooted vegetation way back from the water

The bird of the day on the flats was the large flock of franklin's gull
sitting behind the other resting gulls and terns

I had estimated maybe 400 birds but counting birds in pictures it was more
likely 800

Most just sat and it was hard to get a good shot of the wings

Some swam

The only time they and all the other birds moved was when an osprey came
over low

When the osprey returned lated higher up they ignored it

After lunch on the texas city dike another flock of franklin's gulls
allowed much closer looks. Some show a little red in the bill

Preening birds showed all the field marks

Same with young of the year birds

Lots of good looks

Some common terns were the only ones for the day

The lesser black-backed gull numbers on the dike are increasing. I can
remember coming to the dike back in the 1960's to see old pegleg on his
piling on the dike for my first look. Now they are the commonest large gull
there at least at this time of the year.

Piping plovers are not common on the dike

And one with a single snowy plover was all of the usual good flock of small
winter plovers

Great day out there and lots more franklin's and other gull pictures at

Click the first picture and browse the rest the right (or left arrow keys)

Joseph C. Kennedy
on Buffalo Bayou in West Houston

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