Saturday, July 24, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
We looked through a lot of Royal and Sandwich Terns near the shrimp boats on the way out. There really wasn't much going on there, and with the calm waters we were anxious to get to deep water.
Bird of the trip on Eric Carpenter's South Padre Island Pelagic was this Greater Shearwater, one of fewer than 20 records for Texas (once reviewed by the TBRC). This spiffy looking bird was sitting on the water near a young Masked Booby and stayed with the boat and a school of tuna for more than half an hour - at times within 10 feet of the boat!
Here's the Greater Shearwater taking off from next to the boat.
We were frustrated with several very distant or very brief views of Masked Boobies in the morning, but this cooperative youngster was extremely accomodating first sitting on the water, and then flying down the length of the boat. Later, we saw this adult Masked Booby, quite a contrast to the first bird and recognizable a long way out.
And now for a fish story. With the Greater Sheatwater and the tuna feeding frenzy we spotted a whale shark about 20 feet long as it swam slowly slowly under the boat - lengthwise. While whale sharks are the largest fish in the world (being truly a shark though the size of a whale) this is a "little" whale shark. Next we saw the tail of one out of the water with dark shadows indicating where the body was for at least two whale sharks.
And then a third was spotted! It's easiest to see fish in the water with polarizing sun glasses, but one whale shark did a tail stand and poked its nose out of the water with its mouth agape. The spots were spectacular in the midday sun! And then it slowly slid underwater. Wow. This was the best look I've ever had at a whale shark! I spent a lot more time watching these huge fish instead of taking pictures.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
Page down for earlier posts just added about the Hook-billed Kites at Chihuahua Woods.
Friday, July 2, 2010
Thursday, July 1, 2010
She flew in repeatedly and landed in a small snag. From the snag she peered around and then dropped to the ground, often quite close to the perch. She quickly reappeared and I could see her eating snails. She seemed to be taking a long time to process each snail, until I realized that the snails were in clumps - presumably mating - and she was grabbing a clump each time she went to the ground.
She then ate all but one snail in the clump, and took that last snail to the feeding perch by the nest.
Although their diet is almost entirely Rhabdotus snails, the Hook-billed Kites are attacked by resident nesting birds including Northern Mockingbird, Western Kingbird, and Red-winged Blackbird.
The nest is so flimsy I had to check on the chick after the arrival and departure of Tropical Storm Alex. Here is the check, standing up and feisty, waiting for the next snail delivery.
Time to get out and leave things be.