Traveled to Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge (50 miles from my roost in Galveston) and visited Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary on the way back. Anahuac was not productive on this particular day and I saw little more than a few grumbling birders. I do not have to drive 50 miles to see an Eastern Kingbird, after all. I did get a stately portrait of the almost beautifully ugly and menacing Black Vulture on FM 1985, just past the Skillern Tract entrance.

Bolivar Flats however was teeming with shore birds and some new migrant species for me.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

I never saw one post-perching before. The access road to the flats invariably delivers up a photo-op or two.


wilsons-phalarope-b-04-28-2015Barn Swallow
Wilson’s Phalarope

On Old Frenchtown Rd. I found a mud hole being excavated for nest material by a number of Barn Swallows. This is the first time I ever framed this bird sitting still.

The Wilson’s Phalarope is a new one for me. A scarce UTC migrant.

Wilson’s Phalarope

They gather in some numbers out west in the salt flats, but here I saw just this single female, feeding in a large puddle up the beach with some Dunlins and misc. Sandpipers. (I’m going to start calling all peeps “misc. Sandpiper” and be done with it. LOL, problem solved!) The females are the more colorful in their breeding get-ups and this girl was exhibiting the telltale behavior of running in tight little circles to stir up tiny critters in the muck. Like a little whirling dervish. Feeling lucky to have seen and photographed this one.


spotted-sandpiper-04-28-2015Pectoral Sandpiper
Spotted Sandpiper

Both are new birds to me! These sandpipers have the decency to display recognizable field marks, bless their little hearts! I saw the Spotted at the Flats and on Frenchtown road, where this photo was taken. The Pectoral was on the access road and I knew it was one of those outlier sandpipers, just not which one. Hit the books, young man.

Snowy Egret

A half dozen were fishing together and I caught this one taking off.


black-tern-04-28-2015Black Terns

These Black Terns were in the minority in this large mixed group of terns. Life bird! A widespread and infrequent migrant over most of the US. The one is a splotchy changeling.

franklin-gull-plus-04-28-2015Franklin Gull

Look at this mix: Royal Tern, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Franklin Gull, and a Sanderling photo-bombing as per usual.

Black Vulture

The original Darth Vader archetype, this one was dining on wild pig road-kill with a half dozen Turkey Vultures. Man, what a gorgeous and creepy character!

Here’s my day-list for Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

Turkey Vulture
Black Vulture
Eastern Kingbird
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Cardinal
Summer Tanager (f)
Lesser Yellowlegs
Common Gallinule
Ruddy Turnstone
Pectoral Sandpiper
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
Eastern Willet
Red-winged Blackbird
Little Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Barn Swallow
Semipalmated Plover
Piping Plover
Wilson’s Plover
Royal Tern
Common Tern
Forster’s Tern
Black Tern
Sandwich Tern
Spotted Sandpiper
Wilson’s Phalarope
Herring Gull
Laughing Gull
Franklin Gull