Yesterday I had another opportunity to do some coastal birding, and this time I decided to concentrate on wetland birds. My first stop was Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge. Orchard Orioles
were coming to flowering shrubs by the entrance station, and by stationing myself nearby I was able to get a few decent photos.
While waiting for this oriole to pose for me I noticed a pair of Swainson's Hawks
soaring up in the clouds (new one for the year list).
Driving and stopping at points around the Wet Soil Unit I had a Glossy Ibis
mingling with a small flock of White-faced Ibis
and Fulvous Whistling-Ducks
, and distant views of Hudsonian Godwits
. Did the Shoveler Pond Loop, but didn't see much aside from the usual alligators and my first Purple Gallinule
of the season. There were a few migrants in the willows, including a Black-and-white Warbler
and a Northern Waterthrush
Later Cin-Ty Lee found me back at the entrance station still trying to photograph orioles. He wanted to try and get a decent photo of a Hudsonian Godwit, so we went back to the Wet Soil Unit for a closer look at the shorebirds there, which included 20-30 Hudsonian Godwits
, a couple of Whimbrels
, Black-necked Stilts
, Wilson's Phalaropes
and Semipalmated Plovers
and Lesser Yellowlegs
, Long-billed Dowitchers
, and Least
, and White-rumped Sandpipers
. Here's my digitally zoomed photo of a very distant Hudsonian Godwit. That's a phalarope making a cameo appearance in the foreground.
Cin-Ty told me he'd seen Buff-breasted Sandpipers in a flooded field along FM 1985, so I left him out there still in pursuit of the elusive godwit photo, and went off to look for the buffies. Sure enough I had 4 Buff-breasted Sandpipers
right where he said they'd be, also more Whimbrels
and a flock of Ruddy Turnstones
Next stop was Rollover Pass. The tide had come in, and the only shorebirds were a few Sanderlings
and Ruddy Turnstones
wandering aimlessly around the parking lot. This photo of a turnstone was taken from the car window.
Tried for Sharp-tailed Sparrow along Yacht Basin Road, and met another birder there looking for the same. Neither of us had found the sparrow by the time I left (probably getting too late in the season), but I did add Gull-billed Tern
to my year list, and scared up a couple of Common Nighthawks
. Also had some nice opportunities to photograph Eastern Willets
like this one.
Maybe this Willet was too busy contemplating its taxonomic status to notice me sneaking in for a picture. Wish they would just split them and get it over with.
Made a last stop at the Boy Scout Woods on my way home. Good timing too - the Yucatan Express arrived just as I did. Where Hurricane Humberto had done some of its worst damage I found plenty of passerine migrants (Red-eyed Vireos
and Bay-breasted Warblers
, etc.). Made a good end to the day.