Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Great Black-backed Gull

Great Black-backed Gull at the Texas City Dike
My original plan was to take a day off and rest today, I'd been birding hard 3 days in a row counting the New Braunfels CBC on December 31. Good birds keep popping up though. There was a report of a Tundra Swan and a Great Black-backed Gull, one in Sugar Land, one at the Texas City Dike.

I left the house early and made it to Sugar Land about 7:30. I could see the swan from the road before I turned in the park. I thought, that didn't look good. Problem was I didn't look too critically at the report via eBird alerts the night before. Getting glass on the bird confirmed my fears. This was a Mute Swan and not countable. Swing and a miss.

Headed to the Texas City Dike and made it by 9:15 even stopping for a breakfast taco. As soon as I pulled up I ran into Tim Perkins. I made sure we had each other number and we split up. I made it to the end of dike when Tim text that he had located the bird. Its a long drive back to the start from the far end at 25 miles per hour. The bird was still there though and posed for pictures. I picked up a couple other birds there and it was still pretty early so I decided to knock off the small plovers at the Bolivar Flats.

At first things looked empty at the flats, but walking a little further out I first spotted a Snowy Plover, even wearing some bling! It didn't take much more effort to find Piping and Wilson's Plover.

Heading home I found well overdue White-winged Doves. I drove around some side streets and while I found Rock Pigeon, Eurasian Collared-Dove, and European Starlings, not their English cousin, House Sparrow.

I did find one at my feeders when I got home though, so I finished the day with a year total of 148. Feels like I should be a bit higher, but I have mostly been on the coast. Tomorrow should add a bunch of birds though.


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