The Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary is established and managed by the Houston Audubon Society. The salt flats, dunes and upland scrub are the result of a century of sediment deposits diverted there by the long jetty at the mouth of the ship channel at the western end of the Bolivar Peninsula. It’s a great place to see a wide variety of birds.
Shrikes are common all year long in the South, and can be seen perched on power lines, fence posts, and dead branches along country roads. I don’t think I have ever seen one in the neighborhood. This one was photographed through my passenger window at the entrance to the the beach area at Bolivar Flats. What I like to call drive through birding.
Not quite mature Black Skimmer given the size of his bill. That’s a Semipalmated Plover in the foreground.
Sanderlings in considerable numbers along the shore, and lots of Semipalm, Wilson’s, and Snowy Plovers. Also present but not included here, Black-bellied Plovers, Royal Terns, a Great Blue Heron, and lots of gulls, mostly Laughing and Herring as far as I could tell. I am weak on gull ID.
The immatures have a uniform warm tan color that I just love. The official bird of the City of Galveston.
“My mommy said I could be anything I wanted when I grow up so I’m a raptor, got it?” said the young looking YCNH as he landed atop the wooden piling. Can’t quite pin it down, but this bird looks young to me, even with the adult plumage.
Always swing by the Frenchtown Road area near the ferry landing when visiting Bolivar. I never fail to see something over there. Spotted a Lark Sparrow in the brush, and an Empidonax flycatcher of some sort (I refuse to even guess anymore), a Clapper Rail in flight, which I have never seen before, and a Louisiana Heron busy fishing in the weedy mud flats. 8 or 10 Marbled Godwits flew in for a seaside break as I walked around near the fishing area.
On the return ferry ride I was treated to the sight of a Magnificent Frigatebird circling lazily over the water as the boat entered the harbor area. My camera gear was already stowed so I just enjoyed the view through the field glasses as it glided directly over us no more than 100 feet in the air. Best view of this creature I ever got.
At home later in the day, I parted my bedroom drapes for some reading light and behold, a Common Nighthawk, resting on a branch in the oak out front. Snuck out there for a quick photo without disturbing him. Second time I have seen one in that tree, in fact, that same side of that tree. I wonder if it’s the same bird I saw there earlier this year? Anyway, seems pretty uncommon to see one in the city. First one I ever saw was way out an Anahuac.