Friday, 12 February 2016

Splendid Morning of Birding

This morning, Skip and I managed to get ourselves out the door and over to the South Padre Island Nature and Birding Center here on the island. The tide was out and the conditions were perfect.

This is the first time I've seen an American oystercatcher here.
There were dozens of redheads just offshore. The light was perfect to really see their red heads.

Many birds were snoozing on the tidal flats - black skimmers, various gulls, terns, redheads, etc.
There were about half a dozen ruddy turnstones.
We didn't see the skimmers feeding. They were just snoozing.

Over toward the convention centre we saw these two reddish egrets claiming territory
and fishing with great intensity. The redheads in the foreground snoozed on.
This is a good picture of the webbed feet of the coot. This makes them very efficient swimmers.
The tricolour heron was preening at one of the little alligator ponds.

There are lots of turtles - mostly red-eared sliders - that enjoy warming their shells in the sun.
In plain sight, an American bittern was trying to blend in with the rushes.
We were only about a 8 feet away from him.
I looked down and found this baby alligator sleeping on the edge of the waterway by the boardwalk.
It was probably 2 feet long and looked a bit chubby = well fed. I still didn't see the mama.
Walking back, the bittern had flown over the boardwalk and was working its way into the reeds.
Blue crabs also inhabit this waterway. This one was rather large - probably a foot across including the legs.
The yellow-rumped warbler posed nicely for us.

Black-necked stilt
This ringed kingfisher has been at the nature center since we arrived 12 days ago. I caught him in his hover before dropping like a big dart into the water.

I was taking this photo of the little bird on the chain link fence and didn't realize I also captured the kingfisher in the same shot.
I like shots when I get more than one species in the picture - in this case, a mottled duck, little blue heron, and a tricolour heron.
There is a talented sand sculptor on the island. I assume he crafted this piece at the Birding and Nature Center.
Other species we saw but I didn't get good pictures of were: wigeons, the clapper rail, great and snowy egrets, a redhead with a white head (leusistic?), roseate spoonbills, blue wing teal, black bellied plovers, pied bill grebes, and a Caspian tern.

I also spotted a monarch butterfly at the water feature on the way out, which I reported to Monarch Watch. They are starting their migration northward. Perhaps the grandchild of the one I saw today will lay eggs on my milkweed plants next summer.

No comments:

Post a Comment