February 14, 2018 Grand Isle, Louisiana

Roseate Spoonbills
Roseate Spoonbills

Finally!

After twelve straight days and nights of rain and fog with what must be about 100% humidity, I stepped out of the motorhome around 5 AM for Sam to do her thing … and I actually saw stars above. For the first time in two weeks! And that was followed by a visible  sunrise, and what’s more, the sun continued to be seen throughout the entire day.

I really do think I made a mistake not staying in the desert this winter. I can’t say I enjoy the fogged up windows day after day and the muggy 70 degree nights for sleeping, I guess the desert’s winter climate kind of spoils you with it’s wonderfully consistent sunny days, lack of humidity, and cool starlit night skies.

Roseate Spoonbill
Roseate Spoonbill

Anyhow, with a return of the sun, there also was a return of some Roseate Spoonbills, a beautifully ugly wading bird that I had only caught a distant glimpse of during the last two weeks. Today I encountered a few individuals here and there and the one pair in the top image. Gorgeous pink plumage and an almost prehistoric looking head with that very unique beak.

Osprey
Osprey

The Ospreys were out in force, as usual. At times you may see one perched atop about one of every ten utility poles running along the highway, and they usually are dining on a freshly caught mullet or Speckled Trout.

Osprey with Speckled Trout
Osprey with Speckled Trout

There were a few wading fisherman below this bird who would have been glad to catch a healthy Speckled Sea Trout like this guy was dining on.

Great Egret
Great Egret
Great Egret
Great Egret

With the sunny weather, there seemed to be a few more Great Egrets out and about, prowling the shallow waters in search of breakfast.

Brown Pelican with White Pelican
Brown Pelican with White Pelican

Once again there was a single White Pelican wandering among the Brown Pelicans at their usual haunt on the south side of the highway. This morning I counted 88 pelicans gathered there with the majority of them juveniles.

Brown Pelican
Brown Pelican
Brown Pelican
Brown Pelican
Brown Pelican
Brown Pelican

Came close, but just didn’t quite get the dramatic pelican diving-for-fish shots I was looking for. But with some decent light this morning, at least I had some opportunities.

Brown Pelicans
Brown Pelicans
Brown Pelicans
Brown Pelicans

I get a kick out of watching the occasional chaotic action in this large gathering of Brown Pelicans. Ninety percent of the time they are patiently floating along as in the image above.

Brown Pelicans
Brown Pelicans

Then someone stumbles upon a fish …

Brown Pelicans
Brown Pelicans

… and everyone around instantly flies or paddles in …

Brown Pelicans
Brown Pelicans

… to get a piece of the action.

Brown Pelicans
Brown Pelicans

A lot of splashing and slashing, then after just a minute or so, calm returns, until someone else discovers another fish below the surface.

Tomorrow is also supposed to be rain free, so I will get one more chance to get some shots before I head up to New Orleans for a few days at Bayou Segnette State Park.

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March 21, 2014 Goose Island, Texas

Scissortail flycatcher
Scissortail flycatcher

A Mixed Bag of Birds

Another solid overcast cloudy day here on Goose Island. Sunday, I leave here for South Llano River State Park out in the hill country of central Texas so this may be the last post for a week or two as it appears there is no Verizon coverage out there.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Bluebells
Bluebells

I am hoping to find wildflowers in bloom out there as well as spring migrants and there is supposed to be a large turkey population in the park. I have noticed quite a few flowers starting to appear in the pastures here in Lamar.

Scissortail Flycatcher
Scissortail flycatcher

This flycatcher was caught doing his thing along the fence line of the pasture on 12th Street.

Turkey Vulture landing
Turkey Vulture

Not just another pretty face!

Great blue heron
Great blue heron

This great blue heron was just passing through

Roseate spoonbills feeding
Roseate spoonbills

as was this roseate spoonbill. In addition to the whooping cranes, there is a large variety of birds using the pastures and the pond within as a roosting and/or feeding resource.

Long billed curlew
Long billed curlew
Long billed curlew
Long billed curlew

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Long billed curlew feeding in the shallows within the state park.

A gathering of whoopers
A gathering of whoopers

Not a great photo, but it is rather unusual to see this many whoopers peacefully hunting together, usually they tend to stick to pairs or a family unit of three and aggressively chase other whoopers away. Today, these guys were actually kind of boring to observe as there never were any flare-ups amongst them.

Whooping crane in flight
Whooping crane in flight 
Whooping crane
Sharing a pasture

I kind of liked the dark background this grazing cow provided for the whooper.

Whooping crane family flying in
Whooping crane family flying in
Whooping cranes
Whooping cranes
Whooping cranes
Whooping cranes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whooping cranes
Whooping cranes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 17, 2014 Goose Island, Texas

Scissortail Flycatcher
Scissortail Flycatcher

Migrants are arriving!

On the way out of the campground, I caught this tricolor heron fishing in one of the ponds just as the sun was beginning to light things up.

Tricolor Heron at Sunrise
Tricolor Heron at Sunrise

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Tricolor Heron Fishing
Tricolor Heron Fishing

While there were 9 Whoopers scattered around the pastures, none were close enough to get any good shots, so I headed back to the campsite to get some computer work done. At the last second I decided to run up to the fishing pier in the campground just in case there were some small wading birds on the water’s edge.

As I drove between the two sections of waterfront campsites, I spotted some colorful movement in the tall grass and shrubs on the side of the road…a scissortail flycatcher, a new bird for me!

Scissortail Flycatcher
Scissortail Flycatcher
Scissortail Flycatcher
Scissortail Flycatcher
Scissortail Flycatcher Pair
Scissortail Flycatcher Pair

 

 

Scissortail Flycatcher
Scissortail Flycatcher
Scissortail Flycatcher
Scissortail Flycatcher

 

 

 

 

 

On my way back from shopping yesterday, I spotted this odd couple along the road in Fulton. They appeared to be channeling their inner hunting dog, although they seemed a little confused as to which way to point.

Roseate Spoonbill and Great Egret
Roseate Spoonbill and Great Egret

 

February 14, 2014 Grand Isle, Louisiana

Osprey on post
Osprey

Finally, beautiful weather has returned, sunny and warm with a gentle breeze and blue skies! So up on the roof I go to replace the turret on my Winegard satellite dish. My hoped for ladder never materialized, so had to do a little improvising to get the unit up on the roof and get the old one down without breaking anything, including myself. Probably spent a couple of hours on the project and didn’t have any major problems except for one adjustment plate that had to be reused but did not match up perfectly with the corresponding part of the replacement turret.

Climb back down the ladder, go in and power the system up, the unit raises up, circles, and circles, and circles, then spits out a new error message “ AZ motor stalled”. Turn the power off and it starts to stow itself but now can’t and we are stuck with the new error message and a dish in the upright position that now won’t stow. Too late to call Winegard so this saga will continue tomorrow.

 

Osprey
Osprey
Osprey on post
Osprey

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drove up to Fourchon with a little success, finding an osprey with it’s specked trout lunch.

Flotilla of white pelicans
Flotilla of white pelicans
Shorebirds
Feast!

 

This flotilla of white pelicans was only 100 feet from the gathering of white ibis, snowy egrets, great egrets and roseate spoonbills that were really working this area hard. Obviously, there either were a mess of shrimp in this area or a large amount of baitfish. On this trip, with the road work preventing me from pulling over, I have missed an awful lot of opportunities to shoot mass gatherings of birds such as this.

Black crowned night heron
Black crowned night heron
Black crowned night heron
Black crowned night heron
Black crowned night heron
Black crowned night heron