South for the Winter

We got back home from our trip to the Texas coast last night and I spent most of the evening sorting through the pictures.  We were gone for 82 hours, drove 1611 miles through torrential rain and 60+ mph windstorms, and I added 19 birds to my life list.

I have mixed feelings about the success of the trip, though.  I went down there to get photos of a Roseate Spoonbill and a Whooping Crane and I did see both birds, but I was unable to get a good photograph of either.  I saw the Spoonbill as we drove across Port Bay on the way into Rockport Saturday afternoon.  Unfortunately there was no way to safely stop and take a picture.  I was pretty excited to see one so soon in the trip and thought that there would be more opportunities to take photos.  I did see two more on Sunday morning but once again, it was not safe to stop.  That was the last time I saw any.

On Saturday afternoon I saw  several new birds for my list–Ruddy TurnstonesRuddy Turnstone (11) (1024x633), Laughing Gulls, a Cattle Egret, Willets, Brown Pelicans,Brown Pelican (6) (1024x597)and Greater Scaups, as well as several birds that we have here in the Panhandle.  There was also an odd duck, almost all black with a white breast and a black bill.  I think it was probably a Mallard hybrid.

He’s an Odd Duck

Sunday Morning we drove to Aransas NWR and took a van tour through the refuge.  I added the Whooping Cranes, Black Vultures,a Reddish Egret, an Osprey, a Carolina Chickadee, and an Eastern Phoebeeastern-phoebe to the Life List.  I took a couple of shots of the Whooping Cranes, but they were so far away that we had to use the guides good spotting scope to ID them.  The pictures weren’t good.  I tried to get a pic of the Reddish Heron but he was between me and the sun so it turned out to be a silhouette.  There were alligators there  sunning themselves on the banks of a slough.

We left Aransas NWR and headed back south.  At Aransas Pass we took the ferry (we saw dolphins) across to Port Aransas and stopped as several sites along the Great Central Texas Coast Birding Trail and added Cinnamon Teals,cinnamon-teal-1280x961 Dunlins, Sanderlings,
and a Herring gullHerring Gull to the list.  All nice birds, but pictures of the Roseate Spoonbill and the Whooping Crane would have been better.

Complete (I think) list of birds we saw when we went South for the Winter–Roseate Spoonbill, Ruddy Turnstone, Laughing Gull, Double-crested Cormarant, Boat-tailed Grackle, Brown Pelican, Willet, Great Blue Heron, Greater Scaup, Redhead, American Coot, Common Goldeneye, Great Egret, Cattle Egret, Northern Pintail, Wild Turkey, Northern Mockingbird, Whooping Crane, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Reddish Egret, Osprey, Red-tailed Hawk, Loggerhead Shrike, American Kestrel, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, Carolina Chickadee, Eastern Phoebe, American Robin, American Goldfinch, Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, American White Pelican, Ring-billed Gull, Dunlin, Sanderling, Herring Gull, Black-bellied Plover.

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