2022-09-01 SPI Day One

Semipalmated Plover - Charadrius semipalmatus
The high heat and humidity didn’t slow down the foraging of this Semipalmated Plover. My first day on South Padre Island was as much about catching up with friends in south Texas as it was about visiting with its birds.
American White Ibis - Eudocimus albus
American White Ibis were just one of the wading species attending the SPI Birding and Nature Center. This one caught a crab snack. 

I met my friend Mary after breakfast at the SPI Convention Centre, after I first stopped by the Sheepshead Bird Sanctuary owned by the Valley Land Trust. As I was pulling into the Convention Centre parking lot, Mary was headed away, having already scouted the grounds. She pronounced the place as “dead”, but joined me for a quick reconnoiter that proved to me she was correct. We spent some time catching up on stories about friends and family, then I drove across the street to check in to my campsite at Andy Bowie County Park. Once I was checked in, I grabbed my camera gear and jumped in her car to pay a visit to the SPI Birding and Nature Center, next door to the Convention Centre. 

Mary was friends with the manager of the facility, and I was treated to a free visit to the grounds. It was another hot and humid morning on SPI, but somehow we mustered up the gumption to walk out on the boardwalk and discover what birds we could. There were shorebirds and waders that readily gave themselves up to our lenses, and warblers that hid among the mangroves, teasing us with glimpses. 

When we’d had enough of the heat and humidity, Mary taxied me back to the RV, and I settled in to finish my blog about my Tuesday visit to Laguna Atascosa. It was a successful start to my stay on the island. 

Later, after the sun reached a low angle in the west, I walked out over the dunes to sample the birds and scenery on the gulf-side of the island. I didn’t take my camera because, being so close, I felt I could return later and chase the birds. I found the ever-present Sanderlings and a few Ruddy Turnstones working the sandy shoreline. But off-shore were pelicans, gulls and terns splash-diving in the waves. I didn’t see any plovers, and I suspect there was too much human activity for the Snowy Plovers I hoped to see. It would have been a good time to take pictures. The sun was at my back, and the action with the gulls and terns flying out to sea was fun. I’ll be here all week folks! If there aren’t any harsh weather events, I’ll bring my gear back out and work on capturing some images.

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