I Can’t Walk, but I See Birds

What we have here are three wood storks, two roseate spoonbills, and a great egret.

Well, it’s poor timing that I’m still limping around from my injured tendon and I have a long weekend! Being gimpy has not stopped me from making observations, and I had a DOOZY on Friday, and thanks to my neighbor, Ralph, had a good one yesterday, too.

I was looking out the window at the tank behind the house, like I always do, in case there’s a bird there. Yep. Lots of birds. I did a double take. That “egret” had a black head and black on its wings. Woo! The wood storks were here for their yearly visit!

I limped outside with the camera, hoping to get a close picture. I zoomed in, and got another surprise! Some of those “storks” were roseate spoonbills! Snap snap. I knew I’d have to snap fast, since the dogs had followed me out.

We’re out of here. Plus that cow is butting in on our territory.

Sure enough, the storks had enough of us interlopers and took off. That’s how I got this nice photo. I did get enough time to watch the storks going after fish like crazy. The water is so low that it’s got to be easy pickings for them.

I have the sense to stay out of the sun.

Of course, I grabbed a shot of the blue heron, who was sitting in the shade.

One reason this is such an interesting thing to see is that apparently, the Cornell Lab doesn’t think that these birds are found in Texas. We’ve seen them repeatedly, however, and my observation was confirmed on iNaturalist. Their records do show sightings in Texas, including very recently. I wonder if their range is expanding?

Also, these were the first roseate spoonbills we’d seen on the ranch, and this is not a common place to find them. These aren’t very pink, either, which makes me think they are eating more fish than crustaceans (though we have plenty of crawfish).

Another pretty bird

I don’t have any pictures of this one, but you’ll understand why when I tell  you that a darling flock of blue gray gnatcatchers. Here are a few quotes from the article I linked to:

During fall migration, eastern Blue-gray Gnatcatchers can accumulate on the Gulf Coast, particularly the Texas coast, in huge numbers.

In spite of their name, gnats do not form a significant part of the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher’s diet.

Well, I can confirm that there were a lot in Ralph’s tree, and that they were going after moths and other flying insects, with great gusto. These are TINY birds, and they are also fast! Ralph had spotted them, but had been unable to see one close enough to figure it out. Thank goodness I stood still long enough for one to hop around right in front of me, and since it was a male, I could tell it was bluish.

These little guys were a blast to watch!

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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