Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Texas - Padre Island and approach - Monday May 30th 2011

Monday morning, Memorial Day, we had decided we would push on, visiting first Padre Island and from there heading down to Brownsville on the Mexican Border. At this rate we had a good chance of making it to Big Bend before the end of the week.

On the drive down to Padre I spotted a lone Egret in a pond, and bingo! Reddish Egret. I was beginning to fret that we would 'dip out' on this species as we'd singularly failed to find one thus far, however seeing one was a real delight, and completed the three most sought after bird species of the holiday for me:

Even more lucky, at the next stop we found a white-morph Reddish Egret, which makes up around 5% or less of the population of this species:

On Padre Island we headed for the park headquarters and parked up waiting for them to open. Loafing in the car park was a breeding plumage Forster's Tern:

and Royal Tern:

We decided to have a walk along the beach rather than sit in the car waiting, and enjoyed seeing these Laughing Gulls (you have to hear them to understand the name):

A familiar species from home, a Sandwich Tern flew past:

Once the refuge headquarters were opened an enthusiastic member of staff pointed out a few good locations for birds, so we headed off to find them.

Just off the boat launch deck we enjoyed American White Pelican:

While nesting on the scarce trees were White-tailed Hawk:

And Northern (Crested) Caracara:

The main beach is of course open to 4x4's (no wonder they have some extremely endangered nesting plovers, etc., now). We enjoyed Padre Island but I suspect it would be better to visit when it's not a public holiday and indeed in migration in April. From Padre it was time to take route 69 south to Brownsville.

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