Saturday, May 12, 2007

Bulletin #1 - Houston spring

David McDonald Photography
Friendswood Texas

Bulletin #1 - Anahuac, High Island and Bolivar,

It is the tail end of migration, in fact High Island didn’t have the booth open nor volunteers.

However, still several birds and I had a chance to see some other wildlife at Anahuac.

Anahuac had a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Orchard Orioles, many Purple Gallinules, 2 Least Bitterns, and an American Bittern flew over my car. Also, a very late Snow Goose and Greater White-fronted Goose were still present.

There was a pair of Common Moorhens with 2 downy young but I wasn’t able to get a photo before they swam behind some reeds.

The Purple Gallinules were up on the road, and eating the grass seeds along the embankment.

At High Island, I found several warblers and managed this photo of a female Black-and-white Warbler after she had taken a bath and was preening.

There were a number of shorebirds along Bolivar and at Bolivar Flats. Mostly they were in full breeding plumage and very beautiful and much easier to identify then in the drab winter plumages. I even managed to get some action shots as the birds flew off while being photographed.

The first is a beautiful Black-bellied Plover.

Next, a breeding plumage male Sanderling. The chest is rufous unlike the grayish female below.

The duller female Sanderling.

A Red Knot – a large 11” shorebird with robin-like red breast and short bill.

Next, the Short-billed Dowitcher in breeding plumage. I can finally see the difference in plumage between the Long-billed and Short-billed Dowitchers. However, it is only after the fact when I put them on the computer screen and study them. This SBW has a clear orange throat and neck.

For comparison, here is the Long-billed Dowitcher (photo from 2006)
Notice how the throat is streaked.

For those who want other identifying differences, the SBD tend to feed in salt water, while the LBD tend to feed in fresh water. Also, according to Sibley, the LBD chatter incessantly when the flock is feeding, while the SBD are silent while feeding. I have heard the chatter on one occasion after I learned to listen for the important info.

This Ruddy Turnstone on a railing at Rollover Pass is missing his right foot. No wonder he’s squawking at the world!

Now, several action photos.

Here I was taking pic of Dunlin and he took off.

A Great Blue Heron flew past me as I was taking pics on Bolivar Flats.I got this one as he crossed close in front of me. You can see the characteristic folded neck of herons and egret when they fly.

And coming in to land.

Happy Birding,

David McDonald
photos copyright 2007 David McDonald

Note - photos with name preceded by atserisk (*) were updated from original.