Shorebird Workshop Sept 27 Summary

IMG_7566What a blast and what great weather for this full day of shorebirding where we covered the hotspots along the coast, including East Beach, Bolivar Flats, and Rollover Pass. We spent almost the entire morning at East Beach, where hundreds of birds kept us busy, including more than a dozen American Oystercatcher, huge numbers of three small plovers, and a good variety among gulls and terns. Three Merlins flying over and fighting were pretty exciting, plus lots of American kestrels flew up the coast.

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Reddish Egret are an exciting species along the Texas Coast Photo Stephan Lorenz

After a quick lunch we took the ferry across and spent an hour or two along the North Jetty overlooking Bolivar Flats. Hundreds of shorebirds included Western Sandpipers, Short-billed Dowitchers for close studies, Marbled Godwits, American Avocets, Black-necked Stilts and lots of plovers. At least three Red Knots were nice to see and we studied their non-descript colors (non-breeding plumage), but paid close attention to their distinctive shape and size. During the ferry crossing and from Bolivar we noted several Magnificent Frigatebirds and even spotted one perched on a wooden pylon near shore. Among the terns on the flats we noted our first Least and Black terns.

Throughout the day we had noticed good numbers of Reddish Egrets, but numbers were ridiculous around Rollover Pass where juvenile bird were following fishermen around. Two Lesser Black-backed Gulls (one adult and one 3rd year bird) were nice plus close views on more shorebirds.

We still had some energy left on the return trip and stopped by Baytown Nature Center to look for the Brown Booby that had been present for some weeks. We spotted it sitting near Neotropic Cormorants on the electrical pylons; it was distant so we decided to drive to the other side for better looks. In the low sun we were really able to appreciate its sharp brown and white colors plus yellow bill and feet. Overall it was a great birding day, with great company, and I look forward to doing it again soon.

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Brown Booby, second from left Photo Stephan Lorenz

Trip List:

Muscovy Duck (Domestic type) (Cairina moschata (Domestic type)) X
Mallard (Domestic type) (Anas platyrhynchos (Domestic type)) X
Mottled Duck (Anas fulvigula) X
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) X
Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) X
Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster) 1
Neotropic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) X
American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) X
Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) X
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) X
Great Egret (Ardea alba) X
Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) X
Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) X
Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor) X
Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens) X
Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) X
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (Nyctanassa violacea) X
White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) X
Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja) X
Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus) X
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) X
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) X
Clapper Rail (Rallus crepitans) X
Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) X
American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus) X
Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola) X
Snowy Plover (Charadrius nivosus) X
Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus) X
Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) X
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) X
Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius) X
Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) X
Willet (Tringa semipalmata) X
Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes) X
Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus) X
Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa) X
Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres) X
Red Knot (Calidris canutus) X
Sanderling (Calidris alba) X
Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla) X
Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri) X
Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus) X
Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla) X
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) X
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) X
Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus) X
Least Tern (Sternula antillarum) X
Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia) X
Black Tern (Chlidonias niger) X
Forster’s Tern (Sterna forsteri) X
Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus) X
Sandwich Tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis) X
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) X
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Feral Pigeon)) X
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) X
Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) X
Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway) X
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) X
Merlin (Falco columbarius) X
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus) X
Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) X
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) X
Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris) X
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) X
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) X
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) X
Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna) X
Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus) X
Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) X
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) X

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