Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Booby irruption

Yes, yes... go ahead. Snicker at the headline. You know you want to... but there is no denying the fact that there has been an influx of Brown Booby sightings lately... East Texas, Arkansas, Canyon Lake in central Texas and coastal Florida. Now, you can add Baytown, Texas, to the list. As a sat home debating whether or not to chase the female Booby spotted at Canyon Lake tomorrow a text came in confirming a sighting near the north landing of the Lynchburg ferry in Baytown. Seeing as that is only a hour away opposed to three, we took the initiative and raced east.

One of these things is not like the others.
We arrived on site in a little under an hour. Cloudy skies, failing light and distance were the enemies, but we managed to get a photo that clearly shows the target bird hanging out with a group of Cormorants. Several other birders were on hand... a few with scopes. We were able to get good looks at the bird, both perched and in flight. In all, a very cool experience and a lifer for both Holly and me. Not to mention... a real time (and gas) saver! Kudos to master spotter Stephan for sending out the alert.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Hot, but birdy

A quick weekend jaunt to the LRGV netted our year count six new birds, with the potential for more as I work out identities of a handful of shorebirds. Our main target species for this trip included Groove-billed Ani, Gray Hawk, Green Parakeet and Botteri's Sparrow. We were able to get photos of the Ani and Hawk, but dipped on the others. The Green Parakeet was particularly frustrating, because we saw a small flock, but could not get a picture. 

East of Raymondville, we tried for the Botteri's, but could not get a cooperative subject to peak out of the shrubbery. The roadside was teeming with birds, however... Orioles, Vireos, a few flycatchers and hawks. Several White-tailed Hawks (a new year bird, too) and Harris's Hawks were around. We also got a pic of a Bronzed Cowbird here.

We stopped in Port Aransas to see if the Birding Center would graces us with a Lesser Bittern. It did. Several, in fact. Including one little guy that we tracked in flight from across the water and ended up landing on the boardwalk about eight feet from us! He quickly skittered into the reeds on the other side, but did a little fishing first giving us good looks at his 'clutch and grab' technique.

Good form!
Our next notable trip comes in late September when we head to San Francisco and try again for a Pacific pelagic. You might remember the weather cancelled our January trip out of Dana Point. Hopefully our Half Moon Bay excursion does not suffer the same fate.