Port Aransas Christmas Bird Count

I was born in the small coastal town of Port Aransas, Texas. (Well, I was actually born in Corpus Christi, where the nearest hospital is.) So I have strong ties there, and I try to support the Port Aransas birding community by volunteering my time whenever I can. One way I do is by participating in their Christmas Bird Count. This year it was on Monday, December 16. I spent the morning birding with Clay Taylor out in the gulf on one of UTMSI's boats piloted by Frank Ernst. I spent the afternoon in the Nature Preserve at Charlie's Pasture with Warren Pulich Jr. and Beau Hardegree. Here are some highlights:

  • finding a Le Conte's Sparrow behind my parents' house just before sunrise
  • chasing a Northern Gannet that we thought might be a booby on the open Gulf at 37 knots and watching the bird stay easily ahead of us
  • getting "pulled over" by a Border Patrol speedboat so they could ask what we were doing
  • seeing Peregrine Falcons on abandoned oil rig platforms
  • finding Nelson's Sparrows on the mud flats in Charlie's Pasture
  • enjoying the company of Port Aransas birders

The unofficial species total for the day was 180. Attached are my iNat observations. Most of the same photos and a few more are on Flickr here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikael_behrens/sets/72157638767086525/

Can't wait until next year!

Posted by mikaelb mikaelb, December 18, 2013 21:56

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Leconte's Sparrow Ammospiza leconteii

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 16, 2013 07:09 AM CST

Description

For the Port Aransas CBC, I always check around my parents' house a little bit around dawn. Every other year I find something interesting, and this year it was this Le Conte's Sparrow in the dunes behind the yard. I've never seen one here, although I've never looked too hard. This one was perched in Camphorweed and responded to pishing.
Taken during the Port Aransas Christmas Bird Count.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

American White Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 16, 2013 08:38 AM CST

Description

These are a few of almost 400 American White Pelicans that were in the water around the edge of the south jetty. Taken during the Port Aransas Christmas Bird Count. Special thanks to Frank Ernst, boat pilot for the UTMSI, for taking us out to find birds in the gulf on such a beautiful morning!

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Bonaparte's Gull Chroicocephalus philadelphia

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 16, 2013 08:44 AM CST

Description

Taken during the Port Aransas Christmas Bird Count. Special thanks to Frank Ernst, boat pilot for the UTMSI, for taking us out to find birds in the gulf on such a beautiful morning!

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 16, 2013 09:33 AM CST

Description

Taken during the Port Aransas Christmas Bird Count. Special thanks to Frank Ernst, boat pilot for the UTMSI, for taking us out to find birds in the gulf on such a beautiful morning!

Photos / Sounds

What

Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 16, 2013 09:43 AM CST

Description

This photos shows the sometimes dramatic difference in size between the smaller male and large female. Taken during the Port Aransas Christmas Bird Count. Special thanks to Frank Ernst, boat pilot for the UTMSI, for taking us out to find birds in the gulf on such a beautiful morning!

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Northern Gannet Morus bassanus

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 16, 2013 10:51 AM CST

Description

We saw several Northern Gannets while out on the boat. All were flying and is the only photo I got. At one point we were chasing another gannet which we thought might have been a booby. (It wasn't.) We ended up going 37 knots alongside the flying bird which was easily keeping us just behind it. Taken during the Port Aransas Christmas Bird Count. Special thanks to Frank Ernst, boat pilot for the UTMSI, for taking us out to find birds in the gulf on such a beautiful morning!

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 16, 2013 02:17 PM CST

Description

The pointy wings and dihedral flight shape of this bird made me really try to make it into something else! Taken during the Port Aransas Christmas Bird Count.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

White-tailed Hawk Geranoaetus albicaudatus

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 16, 2013 02:22 PM CST

Description

Taken during the Port Aransas Christmas Bird Count.

Photos / Sounds

What

Nelson's Sparrow Ammospiza nelsoni

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 16, 2013 03:06 PM CST

Place

Texas, US (Google, OSM)

Description

We estimated there were at least 7 Nelson's Sparrow in one small area of Black Mangroves in Charlie's Pasture. Unfortunately we had to leave the boardwalk to see them, something I only do once a year for the CBC when we have permission to do so. Taken during the Port Aransas Christmas Bird Count.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 16, 2013 03:16 PM CST

Description

Taken during the Port Aransas Christmas Bird Count.

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