Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Day Birding on Mustang Island, March 2015

I looked down to see something stirring and roiling the green algae ridden water. Expecting to see a turtle I was surprised to see the unmistakable webbed feet and tail trying to desperately keep the ducks head under water as it fed . Suddenly it popped up and the sight of the bright blue bill was just as much of a surprise to me, It was a male ruddy duck!
The weather was taking a break from the cold fronts and so we had decided to cross the ferry to enjoy a day of birding at Mustang Island. Two of our favorite birding places there are the Birding Center at the water treatment plant and Paradise Pond.
Turning the first corner of the boardwalk at the water treatment plant greeted us with the sight of a resting flock of rosette spoonbills. It’s the start of the breeding season here and the birds are all decked out in their bright pink plumage.
Behind them two large alligators sunned themselves and probably dreamed of nice fat nutrias, (they were everywhere) or perhaps a duck or grebe dinner. Blue winged and green wing teals were busy feeding as were numerous northern shovelers.
A tricolored heron<( I prefer the name Louisiana heron), flew in and began wading the muddy water.
Nearby a greedy american coot gave me a glimpse of water on a ducks back, and we actually got an image of the water with our new camera!
Renita caught sight of a small little grey bird, and taking an image with our 75-300 telephoto lens let us identify the bird as a female yellow-rumped warbler. A little further a least grebe paraded by us. It’s the smallest of the grebes and southern Texas is one of the best places to add one to your birding list.
Spotting a Sora rail we were unable to take an image before it quickly ducked into the thick marsh grass and disappeared from sight. Black bellied whistling ducks also swam near the alligators and we were able to add them to our day’s bird list along with several cinnamon teal.
Leaving the water treatment plant we made the short drive to Paradise Pond. For some reason the bush has been severely cut back and while it’s opened up the small area we were disappointed at the small numbers of birds.
Normally the small pond provides a resting spot for large numbers of night crowned herons but today only three were present. Still Renita took a great image of a night crowned heron perching on an overhead branch.
Pam pointed out a ladder backed woodpecker and it actually seemed to pose for a picture.  It’s so unusual for any woodpecker to stand still in its endless search for grubs. A snowy egret waded in the back of the pond dodging between the trees to make focusing it a challenge.

Too soon it was time to head back home. It had been a great day of birding on Mustang Island and it had whetted our appetite for more spring time excursions on the Gulf Coast. What a great day made especially fine as we were able to share it with Pam and Roy! Clear skies


  1. Beautiful pictures! C

  2. Great pics!!!! Looks like the new camera is working well. Are you stopping at Betty's on your way to Grand Isle. We will be there starting the 18th.