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Chirp

Birding & Blogging in Galveston, Texas

Beach Behemoth


American White Pelican

White Pelicans winter in the southern US and Mexico, but there are pockets of year-rounders and Galveston/Bolivar area is one of them. I do see them much more often in the winter though. These beauties are really large, standing as tall as a Great Blue Heron with about three times the bulk. This was taken at the ship channel off Boddeker Road, eastern most tip of the island. Subject backed by a line of (mostly) Black Skimmers, which assemble here in large flocks in the winter. The dark blue band at the top of the image is the hull of a passing ship. Continue reading “Beach Behemoth”

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Gulls After Breakfast


2nd Winter Herring Gull


1st Winter Ring-billed Gull

I can add these two species to the list of hangers-on at my little Laughing Gull feeding sessions down on the beach at Seawall Blvd. That herring was right up in front of the crowd, and every bit as aggressive (and twice as big) as the Laughing Gulls. Really beautiful creature. I don’t recall seeing young ring-bills before, but there were several there today. These are both Winter visitors to the UTC.

Carolina Wren

I came across this Carolina Wren photo from Feb. 2015 in my SOC folder and decided to jazz it up and post it. I remember that morning, hearing it singing, and grabbing my gear to head out back. (I think I have posted this one before.) You can see the pecan tree starting to bud. They are such sweet birds, and even the name carolina wren sounds musical and feels pleasant to say. (I love the name Louisiana Heron too, but some knuckle-headed ornithologists changed it to the mechanical sounding Tri-colored Heron, and I still hold a grudge about that. Tin-eared bureaucrats.) Continue reading “Carolina Wren”

Gulls After Supper

This year I started taking regular trips to the water to offer food to the gulls. It’s a nice opportunity to watch them close up, especially if there’s a breeze for them to hover on. They’ll float before and above you just a few feet away waiting to snatch the flung bits out of the air. They are expert aerial acrobats and very competitive with one another. Continue reading “Gulls After Supper”

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.

Magnificent

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)”

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