Shorebird Workshop April 5th Trip Report

Snowy Plover one of 27 species of shorebirds seen during the workshop Photo Stephan Lorenz

Snowy Plover one of 27 species of shorebirds seen during the workshop Photo Stephan Lorenz

It was a successful day with plenty of shorebirds and other highlights to keep us busy. Overall we recorded nearly 100 species despite only sticking to mudflats and freshwater marshes. The weather was a bit windy, but we did not have any rain making for a very productive nine hours in the field. We were able to closely study 27 species of shorebirds and five gulls common to the upper Texas coast. In addition, we spent some time familiarizing ourselves with the eight species of terns.

Before reaching 8 Mile Road in Galveston, we swung by Offatt’s Bayou where around 40 distant Common Loons were heading out into the bay. At 8 Mile Road the ponds were filled with dowitchers, Pectoral Sandpipers, and a showy Long-billed Curlew walked about in shorter grass. A single American Golden Plover was seen well and we could see its small bill and capped appearance. A Clapper Rail decided to walk across the road right on front of us for absolutely unobstructed views.

East Beach was closed and we headed onto the ferry and crossed towards Bolivar Peninsula. Frenchtown Road as always offered extremely close study of many waders, including Whimbrels and great comparisons between Eastern and Western Willets. The strong south winds pushed the tide high past North Jetty, leaving no open mudflats, but plenty of terns and gulls were present.

We made several stops along Rettilon Road and the beach, adding solid views of all small plovers, Snowy (a pair), Wilson’s (several), and Piping (3-4), having seen Semipalmated earlier. The highlight of the trip came a few minutes later when we pulled out two Red Knots in non-breeding plumage, offering a great lesson in how to use shape and size in identification. Red Knots are fairly uncommon migrants and we were happy to catch up with them during the day.

Bolivar Flats was busy with 300 American Avocet roosting in the distance and lots of terns and gulls, but nothing could prepare us for the huge numbers of birds at Rollover Pass. We spent the rest of the late afternoon sorting through seven species of terns and found Franklin’s Gulls, plus many Bonaparte’s Gulls including some in full breeding plumage. It took some time, but we did find two Black Terns eventually. All in all there were around 1,000 birds. Tired but happy and a bit overloaded on field mark information we headed home.

Trip List:

  1. Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis)
  2. Gadwall (Anas strepera)
  3. American Wigeon (Anas americana)
  4. Mottled Duck (Anas fulvigula)
  5. Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors)
  6. Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
  7. Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca)
  8. Redhead (Aythya americana)
  9. Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)
  10. Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)
  11. Common Loon (Gavia immer)
  12. Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)
  13. Neotropic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax brasilianus)
  14. Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)
  15. American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)
  16. Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)
  17. Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
  18. Great Egret (Ardea alba)
  19. Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)
  20. Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)
  21. Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor)
  22. Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens)
  23. Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
  24. White Ibis (Eudocimus albus)
  25. Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja)
  26. Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
  27. Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
  28. White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus)
  29. Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus)
  30. Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
  31. Clapper Rail (Rallus longirostris)
  32. American Coot (Fulica americana)
  33. Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus)
  34. American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana)
  35. American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus)
  36. Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
  37. American Golden-Plover (Pluvialis dominica)
  38. Snowy Plover (Charadrius nivosus)
  39. Wilson’s Plover (Charadrius wilsonia)
  40. Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus)
  41. Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus)
  42. Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)
  43. Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius)
  44. Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca)
  45. Willet (Tringa semipalmata)
  46. Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes)
  47. Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)
  48. Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus)
  49. Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa)
  50. Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)
  51. Red Knot (Calidris canutus)
  52. Sanderling (Calidris alba)
  53. Dunlin (Calidris alpina)
  54. Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla)
  55. Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotos)
  56. Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri)
  57. Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus)
  58. Long-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus)
  59. Wilson’s Snipe (Gallinago delicata)
  60. Bonaparte’s Gull (Chroicocephalus philadelphia)
  61. Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla)
  62. Franklin’s Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan)
  63. Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)
  64. Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)
  65. Least Tern (Sternula antillarum)
  66. Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica)
  67. Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia)
  68. Black Tern (Chlidonias niger)
  69. Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)
  70. Forster’s Tern (Sterna forsteri)
  71. Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus)
  72. Sandwich Tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis)
  73. Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
  74. Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Domestic type))
  75. Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
  76. Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)
  77. Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica)
  78. Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)
  79. American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)
  80. Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus)
  81. Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus)
  82. Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris)
  83. Purple Martin (Progne subis)
  84. Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)
  85. Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
  86. Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)
  87. Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis)
  88. Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)
  89. European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
  90. American Pipit (Anthus rubescens)
  91. Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)
  92. Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)
  93. Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)
  94. Blue Grosbeak (Passerina caerulea)
  95. Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)
  96. Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna)
  97. Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus)

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Nina Rach on April 7, 2014 at 12:06 pm


    I was up in Seabrook that morning and then drove to Angelina County in the afternoon – Deep East Texas – in time for a big thunder storm.

    Thank you for volunteering to present the Learning Corner tonight; I am sorry that I will miss it. Please let me know what month you’d be willing to do the full program on Honduras.

    Do you know any local bird guides in San Salvador? I have have a 7.5 hour layover there in June and want to see if I could hire someone for a half-day.




  2. Admiring the dedication you put into your blog and in depth information you offer.
    It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed material.
    Wonderful read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google


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