One of my passions/hobbies is bird photography. As I looked at my work last year, I didn’t take much time for that. There’s nothing more relaxing to me than walking with a camera and finding a good bird to photograph. (Unless it disappears before I get the camera up…but we won’t go there.)
Since I live in Corpus Christi, which is the birdiest city in North America, or so I’ve heard. I though I would spend a little time each day taking bird pics and then telling you a little bit about them and the places I go to take them. After a while you may get some repeat info, but that’s ok. You can skip those parts. I’m hoping others will see these pics and want to follow my journey as well.
Since I didn’t start this on January 1, I’ll give a recap of those days.
January 1 was cold (for Corpus Christi) and overcast. This is the kind of day that the birds normally stay inside, huddled underneath a blanket, reading a good book while sipping a cup of hot cocoa. As I tried to think of where to go, I remembered that one place that there are always birds is the People’s Street T-Head. Shrimpers come into the docks there and sell off the boat. The birds are always around to help eat the culls from the shrimpers. So, I headed downtown. While we didn’t have an overwhelming number of birds, there was a good variety.
One bird you’ll generally see there is a brown pelican. Those guys are amazing flyers. I think they were the inspiration for the pterodactyls in Jurassic Park. I’m showing two pics here because I started chuckling, thinking we had the pelican version of Laurel and Hardy.
Another common bird on the bayfront is the seagull. Here’s a note, if it really needs to be said, is don’t feed the seagulls. I had a great laugh at the seagull in the picture below. We have a local restaurant chain called Boat ‘n Net. This seagull was on the back of a boat, tugging at a fish that was stuck in a net…so I accused him of eating at Boat ‘n Net.
Grackles are common birds in South Texas, and they tend to hang out around the bayfront as well. One thing you’ll never forget about a grackle is his eye. The eyes are beautiful!
Another bird I’ve come to love is the cormorant. I think this one is double crested. I’m still learning. These beautiful birds look like the Loch Ness Monster when they’re swimming on the water. Then they dive for food and come up 30-40 yards away. Here’s Nessie.
January 1 wasn’t a bad day, but it wasn’t a great day. January 2, though, was cold and rainy. I stopped short of my original plan and went to Lakeview Park. There’s always something around there. On the second, there wasn’t much, but we still saw domesticated ducks, which I didn’t really take pics of, Northern Shovelers and American Coots. My children think the Coot should be my spirit animal. I’m not gonna overload you with pics, since they were both swimming together.
January 3 started off cold and damp like the first two days of the year. After I got back from my picture taking expedition, the sun came out and would have been much better for shots of birds flying. (Faster shutter speed.) But, I finally got some good pics of Sandhill cranes! The first time I saw them, I stumbled on them by accident and they flew away before I could get the shots. The second time, they were too far away to get any good shots. Today they were within 100 yards of the path I was taking in the Oso Bay Wetlands Preserve. I was told that they’d plowed the field the other day and the sandhills descended on it. There were probably about a hundred cranes there. (Hard to count because of the intervening trees. They are beautiful, majestic birds and I loved looking at them and shooting them…on camera that is. This pic has an adult and a juvenile. (I coulda used about 20 others.)
I saw a few turkey vultures and a caracara flying around, but didn’t get any shots of them. I did see what looked like Roseate Spoonbills teaching a Snowy Egret (I hope that’s the right ID) how to eat. Two Roseates and the Egret were palling around and sticking closer than brothers! Here’s one of those pics.
Later, a godwit (again, I hope it’s the right ID) came by and sat down next to them.
I saw a group of black birds and almost turned away when a couple of ladies who were bird watching also noted that they were Groove Billed Anis and not grackles like I supposed. I don’t know that I ever saw them in the wild and I know I didn’t have any pics of them, so I was happy to get a few pics. Here’s one where you can see the grooves in the bill that give it its name.
Even in a group of slow days I saw almost 20 different bird types. Corpus Christi is an amazing place to go bird watching. Stay tuned for more!