Monday, February 16, 2009

Notes from the Coast (Update)

Following up on Friday's post regarding the post-Ike status of bird sanctuaries on Bolivar Peninsula.

There was a new (and much more optimistic) report this morning on the TexBirds listserv from the Houston Audubon Society's Sanctuary Manager, Winnie Burkett:
Bolivar Flats has been absolutely spectacular the last couple of days. Thousands of avocets and peeps — with hundreds of willets, snowys, White Pelicans and Marbled Godwits make for a nice show. There are nice numbers of other birds too, but no dowichers. I haven't seen dowichers there since Ike and wonder what food they like has disappeared. Birds are still best viewed from the North Jetty, you also might have an opportunity to see the 2 Peregrines who sit on the Coast Guard tower, a block north of the jetty, they were screeching at each other on Thursday and whenever they rearranged where they were sitting all the shorebirds would get up to.

There were Black-bellied Plovers, Sanderlings and 14 Knots on the beach north of Rettilon Rd. This is progress as it has been a while since there were any birds feeding on the beach. The flock of scaup just off the beach has grown and may include other things but I didn't have time to scope it out.

There are now a couple of restaurants open on the Bolivar Peninsula. La Playita in Port Bolivar has reopened and there is a new restaurant Coconuts in Crystal Beach I hear that Stingaree is also open too. The Grocery Store in Crystal Beach opened last week.

Yesterday Claybottom Pond at High Island was full of birds . 130 Spoonbills, 30 Black-crowned Night Herons, Snowys, Great Egrets and several hundred White Ibis all just roosting on the north side of the pond out of the wind. We counted 35 alligators including some pretty big ones. Previously the most gators I have counted at one time was 15, but with fresh water in such a short supply I guess others have moved in.

50+ volunteers worked on the woods this weekend and it definitely getting easier to see birds on the ground. They were also removing Chinese privet and replacing it with native trees and shrubs. Wayne Nicholas and family worked on the photo blind in Boy Scout Woods, which definitely needed work. What would we do without volunteers????
Thanks for the update, Winnie!


Bob and Cynthia Kaufman said...

I'm so glad that everything is workiing out well. We were at High Island last April and that was one very memorable trip we had.

The Early Birder said...

I've just stopped by from Lynne's link at Hasty Brook. We had a fabulous birding holiday in & around High Island a few years ago so memories of Bolivar flats are still strong in my mind. Thanks for allowing me to understand the devastation caused by the hurricane but pleasing to learn that some things are returning. Frank