Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Stilt Sandpiper at Anahuac NWR

After the last few days of focusing on bird-photo development and mountain-dulcimer music, yesterday found me craving two things:  a good serving of prime rib and time back out in the field to sight the feathered ones.

And so yesterday afternoon I treated myself to an early Prime Rib dinner at a Texas Roadhouse. Their prime rib is reliably good; their food is reliably too salty.  I’m not complaining; I’m just saying.

I don’t eat a lot of red meat by U.S. middle-class standards, but every couple of weeks I’m chasing after a really good (big) hamburger or a piece of tender prime-rib.  That’s the human I am:  omnivore.  Texas offers a lot of choices to raise my bad cholesterol levels.  And I enjoy most of them.

I intended to leave “first thing” this morning for a birding day trip.  But last night's nightly read of Texbirds, via the American Birding Association website, held consistent reports:  the dry conditions were evaporating good upper-coast birding.  And so I made a late-night decision to postpone the day-trip, with hopeful expectations for the forecasted end-of-week rain.

With decision to postpone an early-out-the-door field trip, late last night found me continuing my multi-day photographic development of last week’s three days in the field.  I’ve struggled with a series of photos of what I believe to be a first year Buteo.  My best guess last night was a Broad-winged Hawk. 

This morning, with field guides and Jerry Liguori’s “Hawks from Every Angle” surrounding my keyboard, I’m second guessing myself. I photographed this probable buteo, perched in a tree at Lafitte’s Cove, eating a meal of fresh meat from what appears to be a good-sized bird. 

I’ll post these “forest buteo” photos tomorrow.  Today I mention them as an “advertisement” and call for help with identifying tomorrow’s pictures.  A young man pointed out this feathered omnivore and with a confident voice, claimed a Merlin.  I’m doubtful of his identification but not confident of a corrected identification…please take a look tomorrow.

Today I post three Stilt Sandpiper photos; what a lovely treat for me to sight and photographic this new lifer!  I watched it move about the same area of Anahuac NWR as the Ruff (the May 4th 2014 blog post, “The Ruff at Anahuac NWR” details the location).
This advanced-beginner birder surely appreciated the Stilt Sandpiper’s breeding plumage colors.  The Stilt Sandpiper is a U.S. migrant, headed each spring to the northern reaches of coastal Canada.  

How about that heavy barring that goes all the way back to the vent and undertail coverts—and the beginnings of rufous cheeks!  Beautiful!

Enjoy this day!

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