Wednesday, July 12, 2017

South Padre Island, 7/10/17

The weather forecast said it would be pretty calm out at the beach so I thought it might be a good time to make a summer run up to the Port Mansfield Channel to look for boobies and rare terns.  This past spring my attempts were thwarted by high tides and rough surf.  Turned out to be a beautiful day although there were no rare birds.  But there were lots of common birds, especially terns with this summer's offspring. Here's a diminutive Least Tern and it's very differently plumaged youngster.



Young terns keep their juvenile plumage for just a short time so you have to get out there fairly early in the summer if you want to see it.  Here's a begging Royal Tern.


And begging Sandwich Terns.

This Black Tern seems upset with somebody.


I usually see one or two Gull-billed Terns at the most on the SPI beach but this time I saw seventeen of them.  Are these post breeding migrants?


Of all the common terns, the Common Tern is often one of the least common terns at SPI.  This one in basic plumage shows the dark carpal bar and dark outer rectrices.



Another bird that soon loses its juvenile plumage is the Laughing Gull.  The scaly backed youngsters are only visible for a short time before moulting to the duller winter plumage.



There were hundreds of Sanderlings.  These still have a few feathers from their summer alternate plumage.


It's hard to get close enough to a Snowy Plover for a good photo.


This ragged Willet is warning his cousins that I'm taking photos.


Nothing exciting but still a nice day.