Friday, October 4, 2013

South Padre Island, 10/3/13

Yesterday I ran out to South Padre Island to see if I could find the Prairie Warbler at the convention center and to check out the beach.  I ran into Bill and Dottie and Bill quickly spotted the Prairie Warbler.  Turns out I had seen one in the spring so it wasn't even a year bird.

There was also the most photogenic Olive-sided Flycatcher I've ever seen.  Usually they are way up on a dead snag.  This one was at eye level over the water feather.

There were a few other warblers and empids but nothing great so I headed out to the beach to look for Red Knots.  I saw a few scattered ones and a flock of 22 so it was a good knot day.  This one was shot from the car and is sporting somebody's tag.

Driving along the beach often provides for good photo ops, like this American Oystercatcher.

And this Piping Plover who looks like he's worried about someone putting another band on his leg.  Gee, there must be a better way.

I'm trying to be artistic with this Snowy Plover photo.  Not sure if I succeeded but I like it.

I drove all the way up to the Port Mansfield cut, about 25 miles of beach.  Birds were way down in numbers compared to my last visit but the driving was much easier.  As I approached the cut bird numbers started to increase and there were thousands of terns and about a hundred shorebirds at the base of the jetty by the cut channel.  I got down on hands and knees (which doesn't work too great when you're covered with sunscreen) to sneek up on the shorebirds and got some pretty good photos like these Red Knots.

And this first year Sanderling.

His cousins are on the move!

Shorebird soup.

I tried not to flush the terns but they seemed to flush every few minutes where I was near them or not.  The large feeding flock consisted of Sandwich, Common and Black Terns with just a few Forster's.

Common Tern is usually not very common on SPI but there were hundreds of them feeding offshore.  They will probably move south with the next coldfront.

So where are the cows?

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