Texas April 2012 Part 2

One of the fun things about south Texas in spring is that you never know what might be around the next corner. Thanks to the power of the net Kathi and I were able to find out about a SURFBIRD (normally a Pacific coast species!) that had been seen at the jetty on Mustang Island. We went out early the next morning and within thirty seconds of leaving the car, there was the SURFBIRD! It was remarkably tame and we had probably the best views I have ever had of this species. It was also great to see one in full alternate (breeding) plumage, as all my other previous encounters had been in the fall.

Surfbird - Mustang Island jetty

 The coast has some fantastic migrant traps but this spring was typified by southerly winds and good warm weather. As a result there were very few migrant songbirds grounded on the coast. Nonetheless there was lots of eye candy to keep us busy with an dizzying array of waterbirds. A common species, but one I always enjoy is the GREAT BLUE HERON. This adult was feeding close to shore in wonderful evening light.

Great Blue Heron

 When we got bored at the migrant traps, we would poke around for 'critters'. This BROWN ANOLE was displaying next to the boardwalk at Paradise Pond. Two features you can see well in this photo are his stubby tail (the rest lost in some sort of encounter) and the bright red/orange dewlap. The dewlap is expanded in males as part of a territorial display.

Brown Anole

There were few warblers or other songbirds about, but this YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER provided a nice dash of colour and excitement at Paradise Pond. We watched him at close range for over a minute as he bashed this moth to bits before consuming it.

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