Birding & Blogging in Galveston, Texas

Bolivar and Smith Point

Here’s a little photo dump from my outing to Bolivar Flats and annual visit to Smith Point Hawk Watch on Friday, September 29th, 2017.

Black Skimmers dominate the sky in this view of Galveston from the flats.
Continue reading “Bolivar and Smith Point”


Great Blue

Harvey’s massive energy is still unwinding, rain pooled in places that have never seen rain pool, still draining, still moving debris down the bayous to the ocean. The weather this week has been lovely here in Galveston with cool temperatures and low humidity. Birdlife is scarce in all my usual haunts. A flock of stilts down by the Boddeker bridge, and this GBHE holding court with the laughing and ring-billed gulls, sanderlings and turnstones. A Texas City refinery in the background, churning out the air we all breathe.


Dozens of Magnificent Frigatebirds were hovering in TS Harvey’s stiff southerlies above Seawall Blvd. in Galveston on Monday afternoon. I saw them from 51st street all the way down to Stewart Beach. This was pretty exciting, and a welcome change of focus for me, as all our thoughts stay on the flooding in Houston and the destruction in Corpus and Rockport. Previously I have only seen them singly, and on only three different occasions.

I changed the photos to grayscale because they looked too blue, like blue sky, of which we have seen none for many days.

Bolivar Flats, August 2017

Fall is rising. The flats were teaming with shorebird migrants on Monday, which was also the day of the eclipse, August 21st. I like to go out early while it’s still relatively cool, and the sunlight comes in low across the water, good light to photograph some peeps.

The view looking Southwest from the beach at Bolivar Flats. A couple of Black Skimmers, the North Jetty, then the eastern wooded tip of Galveston Island, and backed by the UTMB hospital complex. You can see the baby blue water tower at Harborside and 4th Street. Can you spot the Reddish Egret hiding behind the bush? (I moved the lower Skimmer a half wingspan to the right for the sake of composition.)
Continue reading “Bolivar Flats, August 2017”

Cooper’s Hawk (again)

Couple of young Coops in the alley this morning as I was leaving to go grocery shopping. What can I say? When life gives you Cooper’s Hawks you photograph Cooper’s Hawks. This time right through my windshield glass. I attempted to open the door and they spooked, but settled again a little further down the way. I crept up on them again in the car and took some exposures. Continue reading “Cooper’s Hawk (again)”

Cooper’s Hawk

I entered the kitchen and glanced out at the pecan tree, as I often do, though not expecting anything other than perhaps a white-wing or a squirrel at this time of year, and there it was. We had Cooper’s Hawks in the oak out in the alley last Fall, breeding or what I still don’t know, but it has been a while since I noticed one in the neighborhood. I took photos through the window glass and selected this one to share. It did not see me and I was able to observe for a few minutes, closer than I usually get.

Galveston, Texas, June 30th, 2017, about 6:30 pm

Panasonic Lumix FZ200

I sold off my Canon gear earlier this year because I had too much money tied up in it and I was getting tired of lugging that 400mm prime lens around. I went through Spring migration with only my Lumix ZS20 and frankly, I was birding with only field glasses for the most part. But I got to wanting a better rig so I began looking at the super-zoom bridge cameras that everyone offers now. Finally settled on the FZ200. The above grackle was taken hand-held at full zoom (600mm equivalent) @ 1/125 sec. and does not look too bad. The camera has some decent anti-shake and the lens is f2.8 Leica glass. I miss the instant AF on the Canon, but you can’t have everything. The camera itself is super light weight and wide angle is 20mm. Been using “intelligent auto” for regular daylight exposures with happy results. As has been pointed out everywhere, this camera likes to clip highlights.
Continue reading “Panasonic Lumix FZ200”

Scissor-tailed Fledglings

Fledglings were hanging out on the fence waiting to be fed.

The adult is one stressed-out looking specimen. Look at that beat up tail! I pulled up across the road and stopped to watch them for a while. They seemed oblivious to the cars and trucks racing by a few yards away.



Spring has sprung
Fall has fell
Winter’s here and it’s
Hot as ever

A couple of recent bird encounters. The Palm Warbler is in non-breeding molt and was a bit of a tough ID for me. I saw a migrant last Spring in breeding plumage. They winter from the Gulf Coast down to Central America and not too much west of Galveston. Continue reading “Wintering”

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