Shorebirds in Port Aransas, Texas

This is a big category.  There were so many different kinds of shorebirds when I visited.  Of course, I wasn’t complaining. 😉

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Gorgeous sunrise on the Gulf Coast of Texas

I visited the beach a couple of times at sunrise.  This proved to be a good idea as the terns were hanging out on the beach grooming before taking off to eat breakfast.  I saw a nice group of terns one morning with a lifer among them – the Sandwich Tern.  I wonder how it got its name???

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sandwich Tern

Also in the group were Royal Terns (gorgeous birds) and a juvenile Black Tern.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Royal Tern

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Black Tern – juvenile

While driving along the beach I saw a group of Black Skimmers fly by feeding.   Such a unique bird. You’ll notice the upper beak is shorter than the lower enabling it to skim the water while flying fast.  I never saw any sitting still, so I was happy I managed to get one decent photo of one flying.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Black Skimmer

As always on the beach, lots of seagulls!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Laughing Gulls

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Laughing Gull

One variety of birds I just love are the sandpipers.  When I was little living in the Philippines, I called the sandpipers “step and pecks” because that’s exactly what they do!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Western Sandpiper

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sanderling – I love this photo

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ruddy Turnstone

One day at the beach, I witnessed a very disturbing sight.  I was looking at a particular bird that seemed different from all the Western Sandpipers around.  So I went to grab my camera.  When I turned around to take a picture, I didn’t see it.  That’s when I noticed some grackles that were ganging up on something.  I took a couple quick pics with my camera to see what they were attacking.  I realized they were attacking the bird I wanted to photograph!!!  What!?!  I didn’t know grackles would kill anything.  I thought they were scavenger birds.  I put down the camera and went to see if I could save the little bird.  Sadly,  I was too late 😦  I now hate grackles…..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This Great-Tailed Grackle is attacking a Sanderling, which is trying to fight back. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The grackle was just too big to fight off.

20170518_124832

So sad……

Out at Charlie’s Pasture I sat quietly on a shaded bench for about an hour.  Different varieties of birds would come and go from the pond.  The highlight of that particular visit was when a large group of American Avocets flew in.  I had never seen a large group in breeding plumage feed together before.  It was like a beautiful ballet.  They were a synchronized group that chattered constantly among themselves.  It was a real delight to watch.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

American Avocets

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

American Avocets in a beautiful synchronized dance

Another day at Charlie’s pasture I got another lifer – Gull-Billed Terns!  They were quite a ways away so getting a decent pic was a challenge.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Gull-Billed Terns

In great breeding numbers was the Least Tern.  I searched in vain for any babies, but never did see any.  The parents were clever enough to not feed any while I watched.  They would land and just sit – waiting for me to leave.  Oh well……

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Least Tern

A favorite every time I visit the coast is the Brown Pelican.  These birds are so unique looking.  They are a joy to watch fish as they dive into the water and fill that giant bill with fish.  The Brown Pelican during breeding season has beautiful coloration. On this trip, I got my most favorite photo I’ve ever taken of one.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Brown Pelican

I was excited to find Dunlins on several of my outings.  They are a lifer for me!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dunlin

There was such a variety of marsh and shorebirds everywhere I went.  It was such a joy to see such unique birds!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Greater Yellowlegs

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Black-Necked Stilt

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Stilt Sandpiper

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Wilson’s Phalarope

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Willet

While hiking around Charlie’s Pasture, I noticed a couple of plovers.  One in the very far distance was a Snowy Plover.  Happily one close by was a lifer for me.  A Wilson’s Plover!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Snowy Plover

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Wilson’s Plover – look at all the bands he’s wearing!

I love birding at the beach during spring!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Horace Caldwell Pier at sunrise

 

 

 

 

12 thoughts on “Shorebirds in Port Aransas, Texas

    • Thank you so much Aussiebirder for the kind words. I’m really loving my new camera! It’s bigger and heavier than my old setup and way more complicated. But I quickly forgot about all that when I started seeing the clear shots of birds I was getting. Come across the pond! I will meet you in Port Aransas! LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. What an fantastic trip you had! The variety of birds you saw is simply amazing! You really have mastered your new camera in record time; you photos are stunning! Your photographs have inspired me to take a trip to Port Aransas next year. Would you mind telling me when it was that you visited? I think you were there at the perfect time. Thank you for sharing all of your beautiful work Kelly!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much Stephanie for all your kind words. I can tell you, nothing inspired me more to learn that camera fast then knowing I was visiting the coast during spring migration 🙂 I was there mid May and I was almost too late for the migratory warblers. I think you should visit closer to the end of April / first of May for better timing. I know there were at least 4 other variety of warblers there that had already moved on. I think a big reason my trip was so successful in regards to the egrets and herons and such was due to the drought. It made them congregate in great numbers in the ponds. But even without this factor, I have always seen lots of birds when I visited Port Aransas, even in the fall. But springtime was simply amazing! Contact me if you decide to go and I will give you directions on just where to visit.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s