01 April 2010

Smith Oaks Cormorants (HAS Smith Oaks, High Island, Texas): 1 April 2010

Birding in the coastal lots on High Island was near desperate today with very little around songbird wise. The best of the bunch being a cracking Yellow-throated Warbler probing the bark of a Sweet Gum, while a sprightly male Northern Parula plied his trade alongside.

Shorebirding and the rookery though are always solid, reliable and decent in these parts and pad the day when the songbirds fail you. This day was no different. Down on HAS Bolivar Flats the Long-billed Curlews once again surprised us with the size of their substantial bills, nice side-by-side comparisons could made of Wilson's, Piping & Semipalmated Plovers, and the packs of terns contained all 7 species in the area right now (Royal, Sandwich, Gull-billed, Least, Common, Forster's, and Caspian Terns), in addition to a jet Black Skimmer loafing conspicuously among them. At Rollover Pass the sandpiper horde was impressive, and dominated by hundreds of Western, with just a few Semipalmated 'pipers picked out from the melee.

A dusk finish at the Smith Oaks rookery saw us watching as Great Egrets played with their clutch of peppermint-beach green eggs, and listening to cormorants grunting and croaking (Neotropic & Double-crested Cormorants-see photos), and the delicate Roseate Spoonbills continued playing with any stick they could find, being a little behind the pace with the Egrets in terms of nesting.

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