Date: 3/31/21 11:48 am
From: Joseph Kennedy <josephkennedy36...>
Subject: [texbirds] Down on the coast last Friday, new and old birds and a meeting with Monty
Took the sunrise ferry across to Bolivar from Galveston. There were
laughing gulls around but not really following the boat. A few flights of
pelicans heading west.

Over on Bolivar, there were eastern willets everywhere I went. Lots of
noise. Most were paired or in threes. A few scissor-tailed flycatchers were
along Frenchtown Road and 1 eastern kingbird. The water had been over
Frenchtown Road from the Wednesday high water event and the rim of the road
still had water.

Fort Travis had a few golden plovers with a single black-bellied plover.
Yellow-headed blackbirds were in the usual spot near 24th street with the
grackles. One martin house was abandoned and another had birds.

Retillon Road had also had water and the flats had lots of water. Many
white and brown pelicans were off to the west feeding and scooping up
goodies. There was a flock of about 200 lesser yellowlegs feeding next

They ignored me after a bit but did not like others passing

Most goodies were just picked up but some required a little more

A long walk down toward the jetty had relatively few birds other than
sanderlings. Lots of white pelicans and avocets were feeding and then going
to bed for a nap at low tide. 2 large flocks of avocets were swimming and
group feeding and over time joined the thousands of sleeping birds.

White pelicans and avocets can mix pretty well until the pelicans decide to
go walking

When everyone else has to wake up and move

Some pelicans were awake

A few had knobs on their bills

One white pelican had a gray tinge

There were least sandpipers still there

One pair of gull-billed terns was very tame until my hat blew off directly
at them

There were 44 least terns in one group but I found none elsewhere on the day

The feeding flock had lots of semipalmated plovers

Lots of western willets were feeding and along the beach compared to trips
after the freeze. Most were molting into spring plumage

A few wilson's plovers were scattered around with 2 paired sets

Small numbers of snowy plovers continue

Very few short-billed dowitchers and this one had one spring feather

The common shorebird was western sandpipers

They were getting their spring plumage

Lots of chasing and displays with the tails raised showing the white

A couple of semipalmated sandpipers were calling with the westerns

The small plover flock included 20 piping, 6 wilson's, 5 snowy and 60

The plover of the day was Monty of chicago and internet fame. Maybe the
only plover with his own website

He had been seen earlier in the season but not by me until Friday when he
came in close

Nice little bird. His mate Rose wintered on the west coast of Florida with
one of the chicks of last summer (there were 3)

And was fattening up for the season on Lake Michigan with lots of worms

Unbanded plovers were feeding well too

A nearby fence had a morning dove

And a house sparrow

Driving up the peninsula I did not find many other migrants (or birds).
Walking around High Island had a calling hooded warbler and neat birds at
the rookery. Heard my only house wren since the freeze. Added hermit thrush
and brown thrasher to my list of birds missing since the freeze

Lots of northern harriers were heading east along Retillon and Pear Orchard
Road. Often there were 2 or 3 in sight at one time. One resident red-tailed
hawk and 2 lingering american kestrels.

Rice farming is starting with one area already flooding with double
cropping in mind. First time in many years that I know of. No birds yet and
only one section had water. A couple of other fields had signs of dike
making. If there is double cropping, there could be really good birds this
summer during and after the first cutting.

Joseph C. Kennedy
on Buffalo Bayou in West Houston

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