My regular readers may recall that I went to Corpus Christi in search of the Bar-tailed Godwit, but couldn't find him. He was relocated in a small bayfront park along Ocean Drive, so I headed back again for another try. According to my field guide, this is a common bird in Alaska, who normally flies nonstop in fall to southwest Pacific wintering grounds. Texas is far from Alaska or the Pacific, but he found his way here.
This is my entry for Skywatch Friday. Those clouds dumped quite a bit of rain on the city that weekend. Visibility was so bad that highway traffic was moving only 20 mph at times. I crossed the causeway without realizing I'd even reached the bridge, so intent was my concentration on the road so I wouldn't end up in deep water or the back seat of the car ahead. The original plan was to continue south to the Lower Rio Grande Valley if I found my bird quickly. Flood warnings changed my mind.
The Bar-tailed Godwit was reported to be hanging out with a mixed flock of Marbled Godwits and Long-billed Curlews. The curlews were visible from the road as soon as I reached the park. I pulled into the parking lot, grabbed my binoculars, and scanned the nearby godwits to find the one that was not like the others.
|Marbled (left, darker) and Bar-tailed Godwit|
There he is, grooming in the rain like God turned on the shower just for him. He has an incredibly bendy neck.
I took a few photos, then got back in my car to find a nearby hotel room where I could wait out the storm.
There were still a couple of hours of daylight left after the rain stopped, so I headed back out to see what else was hanging out at Swantner Park. I asked another birder and he said, "Lots of Franklin's Gulls."
What? I assumed I was looking at Laughing Gulls. I should have paid more attention. The Franklin has a half hood, whereas the Laughing only has earmuffs. The wing pattern of his buddy confirms the ID.
|Sanderling (front, lighter) and Ruddy Turnstones|
Approaching the bay, I noticed there were steps leading down to the water, similar to those found on the seawall, but not as tall. There I found waders and shorebirds such as these Ruddy Turnstones and Sanderling.
This is not a numbered birding trail site, though it is found along the Central Texas Coast section of the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail.
Species Identified (15): Marbled Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Long-billed Curlew, Killdeer, American White Pelican, Franklin's Gull, Sanderling, Ruddy Turnstone, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Great Blue Heron, Double-crested Cormorant, Willet, Laughing Gull, Great-tailed Grackle, Rock Pigeon