Today seemed like the day to revisit some of our previous birding sites and check out others recommended by other birders we had met on the trail. Like the population in general, not all birders are friendly. In fact, there are some who make it very clear they are not to be disturbed. But others are eager to help a fellow birder find a great bird. We love these people!
A return trip to Bolivar Flats turned up oldies but goodies, and what we thought was an exciting new bird, a wood stork. But as often happens, when later reviewing photos we confirmed it was a white-faced ibis. Try as we may and wish as we might we could not turn it into a wood stork. Darn bird!
For several days we had heard about Rollover Pass, a channel between the Inter-coastal Waterway and the Gulf of Mexico. The currents and tides stir up fish. Not only do recreational fishermen love this spot, the birds do too! We could not believe our eyes when we arrived at the end of the road and looked across the water to a small island near the shore. A large colony of mixed birds blanketed the island and waded in the surrounding water. Hundreds of American avocets, several species of terns, the ubiquitous and comical brown pelican, and a new bird – the black skimmer!
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Moving on to Yacht Charter Rd. we were delighted to find both black terns and bridled terns. A visit to Port Bolivar turned up a comical sight – lined up in a row on pilings were a great blue heron, a brown pelican, a laughing gull, and a new bird – a black-crowned night heron!
Lunch in Winnie at the famed Al T’s Seafood and Steakhouse Restaurant provided local flavor in both people and food. The hush puppies were to die for, but neither of us could bring ourselves to partake of the fried alligator. On the road into Winnie we came upon a crested caracara feasting on carrion on the side of the road. Keep your eyes peeled, you never know where you may come upon a great bird!
Late afternoon being premier time for warblers at Boy Scout Woods, we returned to the bleachers to enjoy the company of other birders while waiting to see birds stop by for a drink from the water fountain. Fortunately a stunning pair of hooded warblers, a white-eyed vireo (who pretended to be a pine warbler until we looked more closely at his photo), an American redstart, and a blue-winged warbler were happy to oblige.
We closed out the day with a return trip to the Rookery at Smith Woods to watch nootropic cormorants, roseate spoonbills, and great and snowy egrets return to roost for the night. The rare purple gallinule was spotted several times and an indigo bunting was seen in a tree on our way out. A great end to another incredible day of birding on the Gulf Coast.