Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Birding Texas: Day 2

We started off our second day of birding in Texas by heading to Mustang Island outside of Corpus Christi. This was one of our few chances to find some of the typical coastal birds as we would soon be heading inland to look for more of the Rio Grande Valley specialties. Shortly after crossing the bridge onto the island, we found a pull-off along the road that had an observation platform the looked over a marsh. We quickly added lots of species to our trip list including a couple of white morph Reddish Egrets.

We then moved on to the Port Aransas Birding Center. There is a large boardwalk with an awesome 2 story observation tower. The boardwalk allowed for great photography opportunities and also provided my first lifer of the day, a pair of Cinnamon Teal, though they were too far away to be photographed.

Roseate Spoonbill

We then headed on to Paradise Pond. There were very few birds present but I was able to photograph a Black-crowned Night-Heron. Our next stop was the jetty but it took us some time to actually find the site. After driving around the island for a little while, we found the jetty and quickly spotted a Northern Gannet flying just past the end of the jetty.

That was all the time we had for birding on Mustang Island so we headed on south so that we would have time to check out Laguna Atascosa NWR. We arrived in plenty of time to explore the property before sunset so we started at the Visitor's Center where I saw my first Green Jay and White-tipped Dove. We decided to try our luck with the recently reported Blue Bunting. It had been seen near Osprey Overlook and along the Alligator Pond Trail. We hiked out to Alligator Pond without any luck but on our way back down the trail, Eric saw the Bunting fly into a thick shrub. I was unfortunately about 15 feet behind him and didn't see the bird fly in. We spent the next 30 minutes searching for the Blue Bunting with no luck.

After driving the 15-mile auto tour loop, we went back to Osprey Overlook to try for the Blue Bunting again but the wind was blowing even harder than before and we could not find the bird. This would be the only species on the trip that Eric saw and I did not.

Below are a few of my favorite pictures that I took on the second day of our trip.

Brown Pelican

Blue-winged Teal

Black-crowned Night-Heron

American Avocet

American Avocet


Chad said...

Texas looks great, you took some nice shots!!!

Kelly said...

...looks like another fabulous trip! Loved the avocets in flight.