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2020-03-17 Tuesday After The Boat Ride

Tricolored Heron - Egretta tricolor
The small rocky point on the bay attracted many birds (it must have been good fishing there). I met these birds after my third day of exploration of Aransas NWR aboard the “Skimmer”. There was still time left in the day for explorations. I found a nice place to park next to Little Bay and photograph local resident birds.

I said my goodbyes to the Skimmer and her crew in Fulton Beach after a wonderful morning full of highlights at Aransas NWR. I fully expected to settle in somewhere nearby and get down to processing my ever-growing image collection, and process the files to prepare them for sharing on my website. I found a “quiet” place in Rockport next to Little Bay and parked. As luck would have it, there was a gated pier near my chosen sanctuary and some interesting birds both on the dock and on the nearby water. What harm could there be in taking a few more photos? I opened the side door of the van, sat in the doorway and started taking pictures. An hour and a half passed and over 1000 times I pressed the shutter. I just couldn’t stop myself while the light held and the subjects posed.

As I began photographing the pelicans, cormorants and gulls on the water, and the turnstones on the dock, I noticed that tall waders were fishing from a point on the shore a few yards to my left. There were some tense moments on the beach when more than one large bird landed near the other, and conflicts erupted. The Snowy Egret was especially intolerant of the Tricolored Heron who wanted a place to try his fishing skills. Eventually everyone got a turn.

The Texas wind raised a lot of chop on the water and the Black Skimmers weren’t able to glide over a glassy surface, and those long graceful passes with their lower mandible slicing the surface were not possible. Yet they still worked through the choppy water, even if it meant crashing into a wave once in a while. Undeterred when a crash plucked them from their aerial regimen, they’d rise again and resume their patrol.

The birds I captured were American White Pelican, Black Skimmer, Double-Crested Cormorant, Laughing Gull, Redhead, Ruddy Turnstone, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, Willet.

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