Birds of Aransas County

Rockport is located just across a narrow bay from Padre Island on the Gulf Coast in southern Texas. This whole area is appreciated by birders for its huge numbers of birds supported year round and being a stopping point for thousand of migrating birds in spring and fall. Steve (S. Bates) has been in Rockport, TX since last July. Tom and I arrived here in January. None of us are ‘birders’ as we know little about them and have not pursued bird photography with any seriousness. Our bird photography is largely the photography of ‘opportunity’. If we are fortunate to have an opportunity to photograph one of these gorgeous creatures within the limits of our lens we will do so. When it works we get all excited! Below is a collection of photographs that have opportunistically crossed our paths while staying in Rockport. Our apologies to our wonderful birding friends if we have mis-identified one of these birds. Let me know and I will set it right.

White Ibis adults and juveniles (the juveniles are molted brown)

White Ibis adults and juveniles (the juveniles are molted brown)

Tricolor Great Heron

Tricolor Great Heron

Male and female adult Whooping Cranes. They migrate north in the summer. Photographs of the Whooping Cranes were taken using a borrowed Canon 600mm prime lens.

Male and female adult Whooping Cranes. They migrate north in the summer. Photographs of the Whooping Cranes were taken using a borrowed Canon 600mm prime lens.

Red-billed Coot Moorhen

Red-billed Coot Moorhen

Roseate Spoonbills, referred to as ‘rosies’ around here

Roseate Spoonbills, referred to as ‘rosies’ around here

Brown Pelicans

Brown Pelicans

Cooper Hawk

Cooper Hawk

American White Pelicans

American White Pelicans

Female Cardinal

Female Cardinal

Brown Pelicans

Brown Pelicans

Red-headed Aythya americana (salt water diving duck)

Red-headed Aythya americana (salt water diving duck)

Cooper Hawk

Cooper Hawk

American Coot

American Coot

Great Egret

Great Egret

Great-tailed Crackle

Great-tailed Crackle

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican

White Ibis

White Ibis

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican

Tri-colored Heron

Tri-colored Heron

Tri-colored Heron with Sheephead fish

Tri-colored Heron with Sheephead fish

Red-headed Aythya

Red-headed Aythya

Laughing Seagull with Sheepshead

Laughing Seagull with Sheepshead

Great Egret in breeding plumage

Great Egret in breeding plumage

Sanderling

Sanderling

Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican

Whooping Crane

Whooping Crane

Tri-colored Heron

Tri-colored Heron

American Pelican

American Pelican

Pied-billed Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe

Herons atop tall live oaks where they have. built their nests

Herons atop tall live oaks where they have. built their nests

Colt (juvenile) Whooping Crane

Colt (juvenile) Whooping Crane

Colt Whooping Crane

Colt Whooping Crane

Colt Whooping Crane (dancing!)

Colt Whooping Crane (dancing!)

Brown Pelican waiting for his lunch at a fish cleaning station

Brown Pelican waiting for his lunch at a fish cleaning station

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

American Finch

American Finch

Brown Pelican (here’s lookin’ at ya baby!)

Brown Pelican (here’s lookin’ at ya baby!)

Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill

Long-billed Curlew

Long-billed Curlew

Tri-colored Heron

Tri-colored Heron

Morning Dove at Steve’s feeder

Morning Dove at Steve’s feeder

Whooping Cranes

Whooping Cranes

Great Egret

Great Egret

Male Cardinal

Male Cardinal

American Pelicans

American Pelicans

Long-billed Curlew

Long-billed Curlew

Herons atop live oaks

Herons atop live oaks

Adult Whooping Cranes with their juvenile ‘colt’

Adult Whooping Cranes with their juvenile ‘colt’

Whooping Cranes

Whooping Cranes

Whooping Cranes

Whooping Cranes

Great Egret

Great Egret

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

American Pelican

American Pelican

Front bird is a Kingfisher and the back bird is a Laughing Gull

Front bird is a Kingfisher and the back bird is a Laughing Gull

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican

Coot

Coot

Osprey

Osprey

American Pelican taking food from a Brown Pelican

American Pelican taking food from a Brown Pelican

Osprey (we think)

Osprey (we think)

Tri-colored Heron

Tri-colored Heron

Turkey Vulture (where a hundred hang out on a nearby microwave tower)

Turkey Vulture (where a hundred hang out on a nearby microwave tower)

Snowy egret

Snowy egret

Whooping Cranes with a coyote nearby (he does not consider them prey and they ignore him)

Whooping Cranes with a coyote nearby (he does not consider them prey and they ignore him)

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill

Great Egret

Great Egret

Crackle

Crackle

Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill

Wilson’s Snipe (we think)

Wilson’s Snipe (we think)

Split-tailed Fly Catcher

Split-tailed Fly Catcher

Split-tail Fly Catcher

Split-tail Fly Catcher

Tufted or crested Tit-mouse (lots of discussion on this one’s identity)

Tufted or crested Tit-mouse (lots of discussion on this one’s identity)

You might imagine the conversation in trying to name these birds. We have reference cards. “Well, that one has yellow feet so that makes it a . . . Now that bill curves down so that suggests it is . . . That red face makes it a . . . Hmmmmm . . . . . not sure about that hawk. . . . “

Carol's Favorites of Highway 395

It is my turn to share my favorite photographs from Highway 395. These are the images that make me smile.

Mono Lake sunrise

Mono Lake sunrise

Artists Palette Loop

Artists Palette Loop

Buttermilk area

Buttermilk area

McGee Creek (wonderful hike)

McGee Creek (wonderful hike)

Zabriskie Point

Zabriskie Point

Convict Lake sunrise

Convict Lake sunrise

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes in Death Valley

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes in Death Valley

Owens River

Owens River

Table Arch in Alabama Hills

Table Arch in Alabama Hills

Big pond on Rock Creek Lake hike

Big pond on Rock Creek Lake hike

Zabriskie Point

Zabriskie Point

Red Rock State Park

Red Rock State Park

Cyclops Arch

Cyclops Arch

North Lake in the spring

North Lake in the spring

McGee Creek after early fall snowstorm

McGee Creek after early fall snowstorm

Sunrise on the Sierra as seen through Mobius Arch

Sunrise on the Sierra as seen through Mobius Arch

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes in Death Valley

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes in Death Valley

Sagehen Meadow

Sagehen Meadow

Fifth grade marching band marching in the Mule Days celebration in Bishop, CA

Fifth grade marching band marching in the Mule Days celebration in Bishop, CA

Mono Lake

Mono Lake

Alabama Hills in foreground with Sierra in the background

Alabama Hills in foreground with Sierra in the background

From the road (Highway 395)

From the road (Highway 395)

Plein air artist at pond in Aspendell

Plein air artist at pond in Aspendell

On the road to Whitney Portal

On the road to Whitney Portal

McGee Creek trail

McGee Creek trail

Seen from the road to North Lake

Seen from the road to North Lake

North Lake

North Lake

Virginia Lake

Virginia Lake

On the road to Lake Sabrina

On the road to Lake Sabrina

McGee Creek Canyon

McGee Creek Canyon

Zabriskie Point at Sunrise

Zabriskie Point at Sunrise

From the road to Whitney Portal

From the road to Whitney Portal

The back side of Cyclops Arch

The back side of Cyclops Arch

Yours truly trying for a different look to Mobius Arch in Alabama Hills (think ‘scooch up on big rock)

Yours truly trying for a different look to Mobius Arch in Alabama Hills (think ‘scooch up on big rock)

Stopping along the road to McGee Creek Trail

Stopping along the road to McGee Creek Trail

Convict Lake in the fall

Convict Lake in the fall

Seen from the road to North Lake

Seen from the road to North Lake

On the road Lake Sabrina

On the road Lake Sabrina

South Lake

South Lake

Creek we crossed before driving up the mountain road to North Lake

Creek we crossed before driving up the mountain road to North Lake

With Russ, a fellow Nikonian at Olmstead Point.

With Russ, a fellow Nikonian at Olmstead Point.

Tom's Favorites of Highway 395

Last spring and fall we were focused on photographing along Highway 395 on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada. The Visitor’s Center in Bishop had a brochure that described this stretch of highway as having a hundred byways and along each highway a hundred wonders. Is that really possible? YES. We were consistently treated to photographic opportunities that made each foray out with our cameras a delight. Many of the specific locations have already been blogged. But, there are some advantages to seeing the photographer’s favorites from their ‘body of work’. Here are Tom’s favorites.

Mobius Arch in the Alabama Hills.

Mobius Arch in the Alabama Hills.

Convict Lake at sunrise.

Convict Lake at sunrise.

Pond at Glacier Lodge near Big Pine Creek.

Pond at Glacier Lodge near Big Pine Creek.

Water storage ponds outside Bishop. These ponds are owned by the City of Los Angeles.

Water storage ponds outside Bishop. These ponds are owned by the City of Los Angeles.

The Sierra as viewed from Alabama Hills.

The Sierra as viewed from Alabama Hills.

Mesquite Sand Dunes in Death Valley.

Mesquite Sand Dunes in Death Valley.

Top of Mt. Whitney at sunrise.

Top of Mt. Whitney at sunrise.

Zabriskie in Death Valley.

Zabriskie in Death Valley.

Ancient pines at Bristlecone National Monument.

Ancient pines at Bristlecone National Monument.

Owens River near Bishop.

Owens River near Bishop.

Red Rock Canyon State Park.

Red Rock Canyon State Park.

Mono Lake.

Mono Lake.

Bodie State Historic Park.

Bodie State Historic Park.

Cyclops Arch in Alabama Hills.

Cyclops Arch in Alabama Hills.

The road to Parker Lake Trailhead.

The road to Parker Lake Trailhead.

Mountain Range near Bishop with Mt. Tom in the foreground.

Mountain Range near Bishop with Mt. Tom in the foreground.

Tourists hiking among the ridges at Zabriski Point in Death Valley.

Tourists hiking among the ridges at Zabriski Point in Death Valley.

Yosemite National Park with Half Dome as seen from Olmstead Point.

Yosemite National Park with Half Dome as seen from Olmstead Point.

Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park.

Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park.

Rock Creek Lake.

Rock Creek Lake.

Mesquite Sand Dunes in Death Valley.

Mesquite Sand Dunes in Death Valley.

Taken along Highway 168 on the way to North Lake.

Taken along Highway 168 on the way to North Lake.

Wild Iris growing in a cow pasture in Bishop.

Wild Iris growing in a cow pasture in Bishop.

Valley in Yosemite National Park.

Valley in Yosemite National Park.

Barn along Highway 395.

Barn along Highway 395.

Red Rock State Park.

Red Rock State Park.

McGee Creek Canyon.

McGee Creek Canyon.

Twin Lakes in Mammoth Lakes recreational area.

Twin Lakes in Mammoth Lakes recreational area.

Ponds near Bishop.

Ponds near Bishop.

Mono Lake at dawn.

Mono Lake at dawn.

Road to Whitney Portal.

Road to Whitney Portal.

Sunrise at Alabama Hills.

Sunrise at Alabama Hills.

Mt. Tom.

Mt. Tom.

Buttermilk area at the foothills of the Sierra.

Buttermilk area at the foothills of the Sierra.

Lake Ellery east of the Yosemite entry gate from Highway 120.

Lake Ellery east of the Yosemite entry gate from Highway 120.

Buttermilk area.

Buttermilk area.

Overlook north of Bishop showing Mt. Tom in the foreground.

Overlook north of Bishop showing Mt. Tom in the foreground.

Road in Bristlecone National Monument.

Road in Bristlecone National Monument.

View from road on our way to North Lake.

View from road on our way to North Lake.

Ponds near Bishop.

Ponds near Bishop.

Highway 120 east of Lee Vining.

Highway 120 east of Lee Vining.

Much photographed (we stopped at least 5 times) old house along Highway 395.

Much photographed (we stopped at least 5 times) old house along Highway 395.

North Lake.

North Lake.

Road to North Lake (one lane with some pullouts).

Road to North Lake (one lane with some pullouts).

Lake Tioga in Yosemite National Park.

Lake Tioga in Yosemite National Park.

Lake Lundy.

Lake Lundy.

Mt. Tom from Highway 395.

Mt. Tom from Highway 395.

Reservoir on the way to Lee Vining.

Reservoir on the way to Lee Vining.

Highway 120 or Tioga Pass leading to the east entrance of Yosemite.

Highway 120 or Tioga Pass leading to the east entrance of Yosemite.