Bird Brain Chronicles, Bird pics and story

January 9 – Birding and Fishing About the Same

I grew up doing a lot of fishing. When you asked the guys in the bait shops about the fishing, they’d be sure to give one of two answers. “Well, good luck to ye. You shoulda been here yesterday, though.” or  “This ain’t exactly the best time to go fishing, next week is when the fish start running here.” I thought of that today when I decided to make Wednesday my “Wandering Wednesdays” where I travel a bit farther away from home than normal. I went to Indian Point Park which is on the bay between Portland and Corpus Christi. I’ve talked with guys who’ve gotten amazing pictures there. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve driven by there and looked at my wife, wondering why I didn’t have my camera. So, today I went expecting multitudes of birds and great picture taking opportunities.

 

The first bird I saw was this sparrow. This feisty little bird saw me trying to steal his soul with my camera and skedaddled across the path and out of the way, but not before I got a few good shots in. Then, I walked down a boardwalk that’s set up to allow you to view the wildlife without harming the ecosphere. There are lots of little “pond” type areas, perhaps large tide pools, that draw the birds in. On normal days. But today was not normal – I was there to take pictures. I saw a flock of gulls a little beyond decent picture taking range and snapped a few shots to see if I could find something worth editing later.

 

 

 

 

As I was walking along though, this beautiful bird flew in. I don’t normally do two pictures of any type of bird on this blog, although they can all be seen in my Facebook Photo album, but after doing a few minutes of fashion modeling after he landed, this tri-colored heron  began hunting. While this was just my observation from this one tri-color, they spread their wings before grabbing at the critters in the tide pools that they see. Perhaps this is meant to strike fear in the hearts of their intended prey. I just thought it was kind of cute. I had high hopes for the day when I saw this tri-colored heron.

 

 

As I walked farther along, I saw an egret off in the distance. I took a shot, but it was too far away for it to  be much of a shot. I walked back, took a few more shots of the heron, and then looked around this park that I’d never visited before. There was nothing interesting in the pier area so I tried to walk down the road past the pools of water, hoping to see something. I saw one bird that was so far away that for awhile I wasn’t sure it was a bird! I’ve decided it was a heron of some kind, great blue or (more likely) a tri-colored. It was so far away that even enlarging it with Photoshop didn’t help. Walking didn’t yield any good shots, so I walked back and decided to drive further up the road.

 

 

I did see another tri-colored heron as i was driving so I pulled over and took shots through the open window. They came out ok, but I liked the shots I showed earlier better. After taking those shots, I tried a different place in this area, but those areas that are normally full of birds were empty. I still wanted a few more pics, so I headed back to the T-heads and my go to spot when I absolutely have to get some bird pictures. I didn’t take any pictures of the grackles, but there were some cormorants, seagulls (surprise!), pigeons, and brown pelicans. Most of the pelicans were sleeping, as if they were enforcing the Corpus Christi siesta. The guy in the pic below, I call him Peligandolf. He’s telling us that we will not pass. I’ll just leave the other types below the last paragraph without any further comment.

Even on a low volume day, Corpus Christi has a wide variety of birds and I love the opportunity to see God’s creation here.

 

Bird Brain Chronicles, Bird pics and story, Daily Work

January 8 – Yes I Missed Yesterday But Today Was Good

I had a weird schedule yesterday and didn’t have any good period of time to go out looking for birds. I won’t get into it but after Sunday’s “Oh, those are birds,” day and yesterday not getting out, I wanted to get some good pics today. I headed out to the Suter Wildlife Refuge which has given me great opportunities for pictures in the past. (Well except for the most recent Christmas day but let’s not get into that. I was pleased with the chances today. I did try to take some pics of birds as they flew, but those didn’t come out well. It does keep me learning, though.

The Suter Wildlife Refuge is set up with a boardwalk out to a viewing area along the water. The first bit of water you see is an inlet that the electric company uses for cooling (I think.) The first bird I saw was a Great Blue Heron. I do enjoy the big birds. They are so much easier to get a good picture of. The little birds flit around all the time and won’t sit still for me. But the big birds, the royalty of the bird family, if they acknowledge you, it’s with a glare that lets you know that your presence may be tolerated. (If they fly away, it wasn’t.) Later I saw a second Great Blue Heron grooming himself and showing, by example, how all distinguished gentlemen should groom. (I did have problems getting my head upside down…)

 

 

 

 

 

 

A common sight in that inlet are the coots. I wouldn’t normally include this picture but, if I read it correctly when shooting, it was eating, and I always like to get pics of the birds eating. This one was eating his salad with algae dressing, I believe.

 

 

 

 

Then, I saw the bird that made the whole trip worthwhile to me. A black crowned night heron was sitting on the branches on the other side of the inlet. A few years ago, I had gotten pictures of a yellow crowned night heron, but hadn’t seen a black crowned one. They’re a little smaller than most of the other herons based on my unscientific observations, but they’re beautiful birds. I joined another man who was enjoying his view of the bird. We talked after it flew away. The pictures I got of it flying were blurry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Downstream about ten yards from the heron was a Great Egret. Egrets fit in well as members of the royalty. Slow, deliberate, and stately they go about their hunting without acknowledging our human presence.

 

 

 

 

When you get to the observation area, you’ll generally see two groupings of birds. I’m guessing it’s because of sand bars, but I don’t know. Today, northern shovelers were up close and gulls, with a few terns possibly, were a little farther out. Then, past these two groups you’ll see pelicans, herons, and egrets. Straight ahead and to the right the birds tend to be individuals instead of in flocks, at least smaller groups. I didn’t get a good picture, but I was able to tell from the blurs that some black necked stilts were enjoying the day. The picture, based on my research on google images is of a greater sand plover who was running through the shallow surf looking for food. 

 

 

 

 

 

There are a few trails on the other side of the parking area that I usually take, but I was on a short time period today, so I headed home. I stopped at our local grocery store (HEB) and while there in the parking lot, I saw this female grackle wandering around the cars. All I can say is that you gotta love the eyes!

I enjoyed the day so much today that it made up for two off days. I love seeing the beauty and variety in nature. I can’t help but see God’s hand and design in all of these amazing creatures,