~A short video, taken by Howard using his iPhone, at Smith Oaks Rookery. It is amazing being there, seeing and hearing these beautiful birds. You just don’t know where to look.
Featured photo: A Pied-billed Grebe in breeding plumage at Smith Oaks Rookery. One second he is there, the next second he is gone.
The Pied-bill Grebe is the most widespread grebe, found on small marshy ponds and waterways across most of the continent. His call when breeding is, a vibrant, throaty bark of ge ge gadum gadum gadum gaum goom gwaaaaaow gwaaaaaaow. (taken from Sibley Birds)
“The birds are relatively safe on the island from their usual predators such as coyotes and raccoons, because alligators patrol the moat around the island in search of these mammals. The alligator “guards” occasionally take birds also that get too close to the water, and eat chicks that fall from nests.” (Taken from the Houston Audubon Organization pamphlet.)
He rises up,
out of river,
plops himself down,
on the ground,
stalks his prey.
I don’t know why I was surprised when I looked down and saw this Alligator heading up the bank. He made his way under the roosting birds, finally going down the other side of the island. This is the first one I have seen at the rookery. Howard and I saw a total of three and I am sure there were more.
We are currently “bit” poor. New cycle starts in two days; oh joy! Just how many times a month can one purchase extra bits?
On Sunday, with lots of bits, we are headed to an area for four night where we won’t have internet service (lots of bits, no service), unless we drive to town and sit in McDonold’s to use their “bits”.
We have done this before and feel so bad about using their bits we just have to purchase an ice cream cone. Yeah, just horrible!
I have many more photos to post and will when I can. Here is an American Coot that we saw on High Island.
High Island, Texas, Smith Oaks Rookery, April, 2017
Could the Snowy Egret be my favorite Egret. Possibly! They are beautiful with long white plumes on their head and neck. Their facial color, during breeding, is mostly yellow. And, they have bright yellow feet! They are fun to watch being both silly and elegant. Their babies began to fly after 20 days and their life span is at least 16 years.
I didn’t notice a lot of them, perhaps I was focused on the Great Egret babies.
High Island, Texas, Smith Oats Rookery, April, 2017
The Egrets were ahead of the Spoonbills in nesting and raising chicks. They were still gathering sticks to add to their nests, sitting on the nests to hatch more chicks, and hunting for food to feed the chicks they had. Not sure how many chicks are hatched during a breeding season, but probably not very many of them make it to adults. 😦
The Spoonbills were chasing each other, mating, and vocal. Howard captured the sounds at this amazing place, which I will share in a future post.
It would have been a treat to see Spoonbill chicks!