Bird Brain Chronicles, Bird pics and story

January 17 – A Few Surprises

I still do some volunteer work for our school district and today was one of the days that I had to meet for a committee I’m on. I brought my camera, in case I had time after our work to go down to the Bayfront and get some pics. I chose to go to Cole Park, one of the more popular places for activities in Corpus Christi. There’s fishing off the sea wall, walking and biking trails, a kids playground, a skate park, and an amphitheater. I didn’t expect much in terms of new birds, but, I figured I’d get a few pictures I could use. Was I surprised!

 

 

Well, not at first. The first birds I saw were the grackles all over the ground. I had to laugh at the picture you see here, because I imagined Jimmy Cagney as the gangster boss with his hands clasped behind his back as he was addressing the thugs under his command. While there was a flock in the grass, I was happy that I focused on this grackle.

 

 

 

 

I turned my attention towards the water, where, beyond the man fishing, a few cormorants were out searching for food. I considered them a whole heard of mini loch ness monsters. There seemed to be some interesting interplay between them as they worked together and then moved off on their own, only to work with the other one. Definitely shifting allegiances for these three.

 

 

 

The seagulls gave me a few smiles. The still pics don’t show the battle for the perch on the light, but these two guys got disrupted a few times and eventually there were three on the light. Then, when I tried to get a picture of the three, they all flew off.

 

 

 

I didn’t mention the fishing pier out at Cole Park, because it’s been condemned. I normally wouldn’t have two pictures of gulls, but, there are some pigeons here two, so this is a pigeon picture. It’s hard to tell from this pic, but the gulls were on the top rank of the railing and the pigeons wee on the bottom. I can’t imagine living downstairs from the gulls in a situation like this. The pigeons didn’t seem to mind in general, but there were a couple who tried to move on up to the top floor.

 

As I moved along the Bayfront, I saw these ruddy turnstones. While I had seen them before, they were a pleasant surprise. I found them in a couple of places along the way. This pic with the two of them appeared to be both of them moving away from threats – one being me. I’m sure when they met here, they warned each other about the danger ahead of them. One of those dangers was me.

 

Then, I saw the willett. While I had seen these birds in the past, I hadn’t seen any this year. It was a nice surprise.

 

 

 

 

Next, I saw this little bird that I thought was a ruddy turnstone at first, but when I focused on him, I realized that it was something different. When I got home, I looked him up and discovered that he was a spotted sandpiper. This was a new one for me, or a lifer, and it was a great surprise. But wait…there’s more!

 

 

 

 

I still haven’t figured out what this one is. Google images caught it as a common sandpiper, but they’ve been so far off that it isn’t funny. It looked to me like the sandpiper feet were claws and this one’s were webbed. I could be wrong though. But, if I don’t know what it is, obviously, it’s new to me. Another nice surprise.

 

 

 

 

My son called while I was walking back to the car and we discussed some of the arrangements for my mom’s memorial service. As we were getting ready to hang up, this pelican came flying by. I had to get this picture.

 

 

 

Finally, one last surprise. This bird, I didn’t have time to identify him was swimming along the way to my car. I’ll be looking him up and identifying him in an edit when I can.

I had far lower expectations for this trip than I had or any of my other excursions so far this year. There were four new birds for the year, with three of them new for my career as a birder. The day was full of surprises and left me in a great mood.

Bird Brain Chronicles, Bird pics and story

January 14 – Going Back to the T-Head

Today was cold which means that most of the birds wouldn’t be out. The one place I was sure would have some birds was the People’s Street T-Head, one of my favorite go-to places. If you’re not from Corpus Christi, The T-Heads jut out from the shore in the shape of a T. (Thus the name.) People’s Street is the home of the shrimp boats and you can buy shrimp right off the boat. The other T-Head and the L-Head (should be self-explanatory) have other emphases. All of them sport marinas. I like the People’s Street T- Head because the shrimp boats draw birds.

The first bird of the day was a Ruddy Turnstone. It was the first time I’d seen them this year. These little guys are energetic when they want to be and I saw them as they were darting across traffic. (Well, the street since my car was one of the few on the T-Head today, and I was .) They joined a herd of pelicans and some seagulls for a birdy party. I love the way the coloring works out on these cute little birds.

 

 

 

 

This pelican was slightly apart from the flock a little farther over on the dock. I think he was trying to get their attention so they’d join him in the hokey-pokey. “C’mon guys! You put your left foot in…” There are always a few comical shots from these birds.

 

 

 

The seagulls, meanwhile, were joining in the fun. This guy joined the pelican in his dance, and a good time was had by all. They were so cold that I was able to get pretty close to them. They may have been thinking, “This guy’s a Texan. Maybe he’ll barbecue us and we can finally get warm enough.” Of course, some of these birds take their hokey-pokey a bit too seriously!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, the cormorants were out. I was able to catch a couple in flight this time. I missed one taking off. Before they leave the water it seems like they’re running on the surface as they try to gain the speed to take off. They’re ungainly until they get in the air. Once they take off, though, they can move it!

 

Finally, I saw the obligatory grackle. Anywhere you go in Corpus Christi, the grackles are already there. There are some places at night where you’ll see hundreds if not thousands all sitting on the same wires. I don’t like grackles very much, but I love those eyes! They get me every time.

We have a lot of cold weather coming in, so I may not get out much to take new pictures. Would you be interested if I posted pics i took earlier? Would you prefer I posted birds from Rwanda? What suggestions would you have?