Monday, March 2, 2015

A Little Break in the Weather

Sunday it was rainy and foggy, I didn't think I would get out to look for much. Finally about 3 pm the weather broke and it stopped raining. I only had about an hour of free time by then so I headed down to my local retention pond, the eBird hotspot Houston- Brunswick Lakes. Its just the retention pond at the end of my street, but since I moved in a little over 2 years ago there have been 137 species seen at this pond.

As I was leaving the house I could see a pretty good sized flock of gulls over pond. When I got there there were a couple of hundred gulls  loafing there. I started picking through them counting them, Lots of Laughing Gulls, but also Ring-billed Gulls and a good number of Herring Gulls. Actually the large number of Herrings I think might indicate these gulls are part of the contingent from a large landfill on Almeda Road about 5 miles away.

Digiscope Image of Lesser Black-backed Gull  at Brunswick Lakes, Houston TX
Digiscope Image of Lesser Black-backed Gull
at Brunswick Lakes, Houston TX
I've been expecting Bonoparte's Gull here for some time but not today. About 3 quarters of the way through the flock I spotted an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull for my 5th gull species here. I even managed to get a pretty good digiscope image. Not a year bird, but one that makes me feel like I found something special. I've craving a Glaucous Gull at this site too sometime soon!

I could see a good number of shorebirds way out. I hiked over to the other side where the light is better and I could get much closer. Most are Least Sandpipers, but there are good numbers of Greater Yellowlegs and a few Lesser Yellowlegs. There is a Willet for some extra variety. I spot a small group in deeper water. They are clearly larger than Least Sandpipers or even Western Sandpipers. Lets see I run down the marks. medium length fairly thick bill. a pot belly shape. yellow legs. nice scalloped pattern on the back, and to clinch it, a dense fine streaking on the beast sharply demarked from the belly. Pectoral Sandpiper for Year Bird 283!

That wrapped up my weekend with four new year birds, but I've got to step up the pace in March, I need to break 300 really quick now, I'm no longer the leader in Texas on eBird, and I am actually almost 20 behind. I think that gap will close quickly because its mostly early migrants being found I can make up quickly. I just need to get some of the rare gulls that are around ASAP before they leave for the season., I think next weekend is a gulling weekend.

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