Date: December 19, 2015
Temperature: start 40º
Year List: 328
Birds: Common Snipe, Killdeer, Snow Geese (many flocks), Northern Mockingbird, Savannah Sparrow, American Pipit, American Avocet, Least Sandpiper, Dunlin, Northern Shoveler, Great Egret, Black-crowned Night Heron (at least 50), Roseate Spoonbill, Bald Eagle, White Ibis, White-faced Ibis, American Coot, Common Gallinule, Northern Cardinal, Black & Turkey Vultures, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Wren (sp), Western Sandpiper, Merlin, Great Blue Heron, Belted Kingfisher, American Kestrel, Brown Pelican, Common Grackle (HUGE undulating flocks), Black Skimmer, Royal Tern, Black-necked Stilt, Laughing Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Ruddy Turnstone, Long-billed Curlew, Willet, Great-tailed Grackle, Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawk, White-tailed Kite, Greater Yellowlegs, Sanderling, Black-bellied Plover, Herring Gull, Piping Plover, Eared Grebe, European Starling, Red-breasted Merganser, Forster’s Tern, Snowy Egret, White-tailed Hawk
It was a beautiful relaxing morning – we were watching birds out our RV windows while we enjoyed breakfast. A trip to the Skillern Tract of the refuge gave us some amazing sights – hundreds of Snow Geese in small flocks all in the air at the same time – beautiful against the bright blue sky. When we got to the end of the trail to the deck, I knew we needed the scope. Once retrieved, the scope revealed close to 50 Black-crowned Night Herons, both adults and juveniles, all in a small area of tall grasses – what a sight!
We made lunch, completed a few chores, showered and went to the Bolivar Peninsula to see our favorite birding haunts. Even though the tide was low, the water was high – a wind driven tide. Not too long ago, there had been water over the highway, and it was apparent where end-loaders had moved sand – huge amounts of it – off of the highway. In a few places, the sand had blown back over the highway. So, the birding was not as good as it has been. We were to meet Jim and Karen at Stingarees on the peninsula, but when we arrived, we found that it was closed. I called Jim, and he found out that they were closed through the holidays – good for all of those workers! So, we drove back to Winnie, and had dinner again at Al-T’s – they have a huge menu, so it was no problem. All four of us were sad, however, because we all enjoy Stingarees.
Once home, Jim and Karen stopped over to give us some route tips for when we head to Jackson, WY for the summer, as we will be working together next summer. Glad to have the ideas. It has been a wonderful day.