My old 2003 Tacoma 4x4 is slow and uncomfortable but it's good on the beach and I did not know what I would be up against. I arrived just before noon at the Bob Hall fishing pier on Padre Island armed only with the knowledge that the bird had been found at 4PM about six miles south of there. Being that Kleberg County starts just a half mile to the south I figured I might get some good Kleberg County birds even if I failed to find the Elegant Terns. Well I drove eight miles of beach and walked a mile a a half more on the Padre Island National Seashore without finding anything but common migrant terns and shorebirds. Most of the beach was drivable in a regular car but I was happy I had my truck when two cars got stuck in the only deep sand.
I decided to give myself as much time as I needed as I saw no reason for the terns to leave and they could easily be out fishing when I was failing to find them. After 3PM I was starting to wonder if I had failed to recognize them among the many similar Royal Terns. I was closely scrutinizing each for a slender orange-red bill. Finally at 4PM I found an Elegant Tern near the spot where Martin and Greg had found the two the previous day. The smaller size, almost as small as a Sandwich Tern, and narrow almost forceps-like red bill made it easy to pick out the Elegant from among the orange-billed Royal Terns.
Other interesting birds included my first Magnificent Frigatebird in Kleberg County.
And lots of newly arrived shorebirds like this banded Piping Plover. I will report the flag code and ring colors for this individual to the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
I was surprised to see this Short-billed Dowitcher flying along the beach with a flock of Willets.
Long-billed Curlew and Marbled Godwit.
Some of the Sanderlings were still wearing worn breeding plumage.
I finished the day with an all time personal high of nine species of terns: Elegant, Royal, Sandwich, Caspian, Gull-billed, Forster's, Common, Black and Least and five new Kleberg County birds. It was a good day!