Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Some Birds Like Water (and Some Epic Shit Is Going Down)

These are some of these birds. Some are shorebirds, which are looking fucking sexy right about now. Some are waders, which are also looking fucking sexy right now.

Roseate Spoonbill. Not much birds are sexier than Roseate Spoonbills. This is objective.

Here are two sexy Snowy Egrets, one even more so due to its blood red lores.
As some of you may have seen around the bird blogosphere, I will soon be looking at different birds that like water. I will be looking at these birds in Maine, and in the company of some of the more prolific scumbag birders in the country: Seagull Steve, Flycatcher Jen, and Birdcrusher Dan. The birds will be sick, and the revelry will be sicker. Life birds will rain down like frogs in that weird scene in Magnolia. Whiskey will flow like Faygo at a juggalo gathering (Jen is bringing her clown makeup). Stories will fill the bird blogosphere for years to come, and they will have mythical qualities about them, leaving you, the reader, unsure if they have gathered more and more gold dust over the retellings or if they were in fact as epic as they sound (they will be). Until then, here are more birds that like water.

American Avocet
Semipalmated Plover
Marbled Godwit
Here's a size comparison between Sanderling and Western Sandpiper. Weird, right? They difference doesn't stand out near as much when they are by themselves.
Western Sandpiper, Sanderling, and Semipalmated Sandpiper
A straight up Western in high alternate plumage.
And a Sanderling getting there.
Also, Semipalmated.
And lastly, a Willet.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Back to Anahuac

Those of you who follow TMWB on the Facebook will have seen this quiz bird that I posted a couple days ago. This picture was taken near Anahuac. It seems obvious to me, but I wanted to see if it were obvious to others. I'm fortunate in that I have good luck with this bird, something that birders across the country cannot always say. Answer at the end of this post.

Out of all the places I visit around the state, I seem to end up dedicating more posts to Anahuac than anywhere else. It's understandable. Anahuac is one of my favorite places to bird for numerous reasons: it's relatively close (3 1/2 hours), there are always birds that I don't see at home, and many of those birds offer pretty good looks. What I wouldn't give for the City of Austin to try and maintain Hornsby Bend like Anahuac. Different birds of course, but if the habitat were managed better, regulating water levels, not cutting down reeds and natural grass covers, and installing some boardwalks, it would be one of the best inland birding spots in the state. Anyways, I'm dreaming now, so let's get back to business. Anytime I visit Anahuac, I'm going to post about it. I was joined by a couple friends, and we only spent an hour or so there, but shit adds up quick. 

Orchard Orioles were sitting high and singing loud, which is an endeavor that I am normally highly supportive of.
Anahuac is one of the few places in Texas where Boat-tailed Grackle is the default grackle.
I have always been in the land of the White-faced Ibis. Soon, I will be in a land where Glossy Ibis is the prevalent plegadis. This has me enthused. 
That's not to say that White-faced Ibis is unappreciated.
Tree Swallow is a swallow for which I harbor a distinct affinity. It is a bird that I don't see often.
This Purple Gallinule is doing a poor job at hiding. It was awkward and uncomfortable.
For some reason, this trip showed me more alligators than I had ever seen before. Numerous and confiding.
I have to wonder how many of these birds I admire so much end up in the bellies of alligators at Anahuac.
Eastern Kingbirds had just shown up and were in good force.
And that brings us to our quiz bird.

It's a fucking Clapper Rail. Or, maybe it's a little bit of a "Cling" Rail. Habitat would suggest the former, as this bird was near some salty, brackish shit, but that complex is kind of gross in the area. So, 10 points if you guessed CLRA, or a gold star, or high-five or something of the sort.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Los Terns

I like terns. I don't see too many of them in Travis county, but the coast is different. At the coast, there are more terns than I know what to do with. High variety reigns here, as well. You can't see a shit ton of different gulls on the Texas coast, but at the right time of year, it's completely expected to see 8 or 9 different species of tern on the same stretch of beach. So, that's what we have today. A bunch of terns from Bolivar Shorebird Sanctuary, seen a couple weeks ago.

Common Tern is not the easiest bird in Texas, so the fact that there were well over 100 of them, and probably closer to 200, was pretty sick.

And, here's a Forster's Tern for comparison.
Royal Terns are omnipresent.
As are Black Skimmers.
For being the smallest, Least Terns can be incredibly aggro.

Black, Caspian, and Sandwich Terns were also present in decent numbers, but at less than opportune distances.