Port Aransas Christmas Bird Count 2016-12-19

On Monday I participated in the Christmas Bird Count of my original home town, Port Aransas, TX. As usual, Warren Pulich and I covered the Port Aransas Nature Preserve at Charlie's Pasture and the south jetty. (Warren is a long-time Texas birder and one of the originators of the Port Aransas CBC back in the 1970s.) Most years we have a few more people on our team but this year it was just the two of us. Temperatures in the 30s and north winds over 20 mph made the morning challenging, both to find birds and stay warm.

Bird highlights included a flyover of about 50 Snow Geese heading northeast. They were low enough to get these photos of a few of them:

Snow Goose Flock - 2

Snow Goose Flock - 3

Songbirds were hard to come by in the cold wind, but we found a few. At the end of the morning we were most excited to find a group of three Palm Warblers foraging together in the recently burned area of the preserve along Port Avenue. These birds are expected winter residents, but are never common. Here are a couple:

Palm Warbler - 3

Palm Warbler - 4

An interesting plant observation was this high concentration of Black Mangrove seeds at the edge of many mud flats:

Black Mangrove Seeds - 1

A big surprise find for me was the remains of a sea turtle at the edge of one of the mottes. My guess is that this turtle washed up on the nearby shore and a coyote or other similar-sized animal carried it up into the dunes to eat it. Here's a poor photo of part of it, and see the attached observation.

Sea Turtle Shell - 3

Here are a few more photos on Flickr.

Here are our bird lists for the day on eBird:
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S33110773
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S33110776
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S33110778

Here's Warren on the left and me on the right, trying to stay warm in the morning:

Warren Pulich in Dunes - 2 Cold Selfie

Posted by mikaelb mikaelb, December 23, 2016 00:15

Observations

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Coypu Myocastor coypus

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 19, 2016 08:06 AM CST

Photos / Sounds

What

Typical Sea Turtles Subfamily Carettinae

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 19, 2016 09:27 AM CST

Place

Texas, US (Google, OSM)

Photos / Sounds

What

Black Mangrove Avicennia germinans

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 19, 2016 10:53 AM CST

Description

Taken during the Port Aransas Christmas Bird Count on 2016-12-19. By south Texas standards, this was an extremely cold count. Temperatures were in the 30s and north winds blew at least 20 mph all day.

We were surprised by the large concentrations of black mangrove seeds we found at the edges of some of the mud flats.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Greater White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 19, 2016 08:57 AM CST

Description

Taken during the Port Aransas Christmas Bird Count on 2016-12-19. By south Texas standards, this was an extremely cold count. Temperatures were in the 30s and north winds blew at least 20 mph all day.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 19, 2016 08:17 AM CST

Description

Taken during the Port Aransas Christmas Bird Count on 2016-12-19. By south Texas standards, this was an extremely cold count. Temperatures were in the 30s and north winds blew at least 20 mph all day.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 19, 2016 09:11 AM CST

Place

Texas, US (Google, OSM)

Description

Taken during the Port Aransas Christmas Bird Count on 2016-12-19. By south Texas standards, this was an extremely cold count. Temperatures were in the 30s and north winds blew at least 20 mph all day.

Photos / Sounds

What

Palm Warbler Setophaga palmarum

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 19, 2016 12:21 PM CST

Description

Taken during the Port Aransas Christmas Bird Count on 2016-12-19. By south Texas standards, this was an extremely cold count. Temperatures were in the 30s and north winds blew at least 20 mph all day.

The day before the count I briefly scouted the area and found a single Palm Warbler. We were excited at the end of the morning of the count when we found three foraging together near the same area.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 19, 2016 02:25 PM CST

Description

Taken during the Port Aransas Christmas Bird Count on 2016-12-19. By south Texas standards, this was an extremely cold count. Temperatures were in the 30s and north winds blew at least 20 mph all day.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 19, 2016 02:06 PM CST

Description

Taken during the Port Aransas Christmas Bird Count on 2016-12-19. By south Texas standards, this was an extremely cold count. Temperatures were in the 30s and north winds blew at least 20 mph all day.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Sandhill Crane Antigone canadensis

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 19, 2016 10:48 AM CST

Description

Taken during the Port Aransas Christmas Bird Count on 2016-12-19. By south Texas standards, this was an extremely cold count. Temperatures were in the 30s and north winds blew at least 20 mph all day.

We heard a Sandhill Crane and looked up for the flock. We saw a flock that turned out to be American White Pelicans. But on closer inspection a single crane was flying with them.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 19, 2016 12:22 PM CST

Description

Taken during the Port Aransas Christmas Bird Count on 2016-12-19. By south Texas standards, this was an extremely cold count. Temperatures were in the 30s and north winds blew at least 20 mph all day.

Photos / Sounds

What

Snow Goose Anser caerulescens

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 19, 2016 08:41 AM CST

Description

Taken during the Port Aransas Christmas Bird Count on 2016-12-19. By south Texas standards, this was an extremely cold count. Temperatures were in the 30s and north winds blew at least 20 mph all day.

These were a few of a flock of 50 Snow Geese that flew right over our heads, heading northeast.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Myrtle Warbler Setophaga coronata ssp. coronata

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 19, 2016 03:09 PM CST

Description

Taken during the Port Aransas Christmas Bird Count on 2016-12-19. By south Texas standards, this was an extremely cold count. Temperatures were in the 30s and north winds blew at least 20 mph all day.

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