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COASTAL BIRDS OF TEXAS - IV

Article and Photos by Ken Rudine


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Brown Pelican
Brown Pelican, Rockport
Connie Hagar came to Rockport in 1935. Until she died in 1973 she traveled a 9 mile route she hewed out the area, twice a day to record the birds she saw. Since 1982, we have done a similar thing without her discipline. Our findings are the same. Like she found birds are frequently perched at the same place, at the same time for days or weeks at a time. Birds want food, sex and safety. If their perch gives them that – they will be back – even if it is not until next year.

Rockport’s position is at the geometric apex on the Coastal Bend, so it should get more wind and wave action than any other Gulf area. All this wind action stirs the water helping produce abundant food for the birds, resident and migratory.

Yvonne and I have listened to 25 years of Hummer/Bird talks. These speakers have their experiences in common with birds and insects, but little else. These speakers tell how all birds and insects live by the herd mentality, without saying it. Just like all living beings, humans are included in the herd. Long ago man's observation about becoming a leader was - determine which way the herd is headed, and then get out front, and act like the leader. But a few years later that same man said I will not seek, nor will I accept, being your leader any more because I have learned a free people (or birds) are naturally their own leader good, bad or ugly.

Details about my 4th series of costal birds follow: the Summer Tanagers and Orchard Oriole were shot at Paradise Pond at Port Aransas. The Parakeet was shot in a Houston backyard. It must have been a house pet that escaped, and is seen often and apparently doing well.
Summer Tanager
Summer Tanager, Port Aransas
Orchard Oriole
Orchard Oriole, Port Aransas
Parakeet (Eescaped), Houston
The Brown Pelican series were taken at the fish cleaning area of Cove Harbor south of Rockport. Brown Pelicans are a resident bird making spectacular dives up to 40 feet to catch a fish.

The Scissor-Tail Flycatchers were on their March 2013 migration north and there were hundreds, if not thousands of them in town.
Brown Pelican
Brown Pelican, Rockport
Scissor-tail Flycatcher
Scissor-Tail Flycatcher, Fulton
We can often see Roadrunners but getting a decent photo is entirely a different thing. This photo was made near Roma. We Texans see Buzzards everyday, but not necessarily in bird books. This Buzzard is doing what all birds do sometimes which I call “drying his wing-pits”.
Greater Roadrunner
Greater Roadrunner, Roma
Buzzard
Buzzard, Fulton
Roseate Spoonbills are seldom seen in the Rockport/Fulton area now as compared to five years ago. The following photo shows the water in a circular rippling as a result of the swinging of its bill for food which is called spooning.

The Osprey is a fish eater. Like an ordinary hawk flying low in a field after rodents, the Osprey flies low over water. They also perch on wires over water waiting for opportunities to snag a fish with their talons.
Roseate Spoonbill, Rockport
Osprey
Osprey, Rockport
Great Egret
Great Egret, Rockport
Purple Martins live off flying insects. Martins shown here are gathering before migrating. The following photo was taken in August 2013 when thousands of them were roosting in Houston. FM1960W at Centerfield Dr about 8PM is the location shown.
Purple Martins Roosting
Purple Martins Roosting, Houston
White Pelicans migrate from Canada to Rockport/Fulton arriving in November and leaving about March. They swim most of the day eating an occasional fish. In the late afternoon they tend to gather causing a spectacle which encourages people to feed them. Unlike sea gulls bombing gullible feeders from overhead, the pelicans eat while swimming in the water.

If you like these pictures - then choose large camera files and fast shutter speeds.
White Pelicans
White Pelicans, Lamar
White Pelicans
White Pelicans, Fulton

© Ken Rudine
December 3, 2014

More Birds by Ken Rudine:
Coastal Birds of Texas - I
Coastal Birds of Texas - II
Coastal Birds of Texas - III
Roadrunner | Green Parrots | Heron's Nest |

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