It was April 13th and the first really nice morning in several days. Thirteen bird folks met at the Shell Mound. Among the species seen there were Black-bellied Plover and Roseate Spoonbill. Ken had arrived at 7:30 and spotted an Avocet, Black-Crowned Night heron, and Marbled Godwit. From there we caravanned to a number of locations to discover as many resident and migrant species as possible. These photos courtesy of Bonnie Schirmers
At the museum, a number of migrants were seen, including Indigo Bunting, Prairie Warbler, American Redstart, and Summer Tanager. These two photos courtesy of Karen Bender
Here is an immature Orchard Oriole that was there and seen by most. Phot by Rey Wells
This spot is at the Purple Martin house on the way to the Cemetery where we did see the martins and House Sparrows. Courtesy Rey Wells
After visiting several other hot spots, we ended the morning ended at the cemetery. We took the boardwalk out through the marsh and encountered a friendly Clapper Rail that was preening. It was only about ten feet away and cared not about our presence.As we were working our way back toward the road, an Osprey flew up onto a branch with a foot long fish. The fish appears be a Sea Trout. Here’s a photo of the Osprey preparing to dine. Photo By Ken Spilios
Clapper Rail by Fred Hileman Osprey by Rey wells
The highlight for many was a life bird A Gray Kingbird was photographed by Fred Hileman at the fishing pier which is on the way to the cemetery. The trip totaled 70 species. Great way to end the season.
This turned out to be a great morning of birding with 54 species detected by several experienced bird folks. It started auspiciously with a King Rail calling from a small marsh just left of the entrance drive. Carol Yarnell and her friend got that. It was warm, still, and humid (ugh) when the eight of us arrived at the parking area. Sand fleas were there in great numbers. After deeting up, we spent a bit of non-productive time behind the building and then headed for the tower.
The tower was awesome. It was breezy up on top. The bugs vanished, leaving us very comfortable to scan the thousands of acres of water, marsh, and hammocks that lay before us. A number of species were seen including Northern Harrier, Spotted Sandpiper, and Clapper Rail. Here is a shot of a Snowy Egret and a Tri-colored Heron that hunted their way up a channel below us.
Rey After enjoying an hour on the tower, we decided to skip the warm, woodsy, buggy, too-late-for-warblers loop hike and head for the coast instead. We stopped at the salt water bridge on the way out and bagged some additional species. They included many white pelicans and this Common Loon, which sports some breeding season plumage. This would have been a much better photo had the bird been north of the bridge instead of south. We parked at the beach and scanned the Gulf. We watched a Forster’s Tern dive many times. An oystercatcher was foraging on a tiny oyster bar that was about to be submerged by the rising tide. While most of us enjoyed the breeze in the shade of a small pavilion, Paul Smyth went into the woods and emerged with a Palm Warbler that we didn’t have. Carol and her friend walked out to the boat ramp. They added three eagles and a skimmer to the list. It seemed that a fine time was had by all. Rey Wells