Thursday, April 24, 2014

San Luis Pass, 4/19/14

Last week a first winter Iceland Gull was found at San Luis Pass just south of Galveston and Honey had the weekend off so we made the long journey up there.  Because of a late start we didn't arrive till 5 PM but that still gave a couple of hours of daylight.  Problem was that it was Good Friday and the local fisherman and beach party people were out in force and the gulls had moved off into the bay.  So I spent the next two hours searching desperately to no avail.  But we still enjoyed the pleasant evening and all the birds.  Several hundred American Avocets staged with other shorebirds and the large gull flock.

A fearless Willet fished next to my scoping location.

A white morph Reddish Egret strutted nearby.

We hit the beach under the toll bridge the next morning hoping to get lucky.  A Lesser Black-backed Gull looked sharp in the early morning light.  Once upon a time this was a very rare bird in Texas.

A small flock of Snowy Plovers feed along the surf.

So we returned to our observation point from the night before.  There were still plenty of distant gulls to scope.  Honey tried her best to help.  Though not a fanatical birder she's usually good for finding something interesting on our trips.

Eventually our search seemed to pay off as a ghostly white gull appeared in the distance.  But careful examination revealed the gull to be similar in size to nearby Herring Gulls and to have a pink bill with a dark tip.  This was the first winter Glaucous Gull that had also been reported.  We tried a while longer but the Iceland Gull failed to show.

On the way home we crossed Lake Texana where I photographed a flock of Cliff Swallows collecting mud at the lakeshore for their nests.  After I downloaded the photos, I noticed two Cave Swallows were in the flock.

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