Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Rollover Pass: Herons & Egrets

On my second day on the Texas Gulf Coast my focus shifted to shorebirds. I asked one of the fine guides from Tropical Birding Tours where he recommended, and he said Rollover Pass on the Bolivar Peninsula without hesitation. So that's where I went; if you're going to ask for advice, you might as well take it.

Great Blue Heron, Rollover Pass
This is definitely not a spot I would have thought about on my own -- a man-made strait with squat, ugly concrete barriers and trash everywhere left by people fishing.  But where there are people fishing there tend to be fish.  And where there are fish there tend to be birds looking to eat them.

Overcast skies sapped much of the color from everything.  So I went monochrome in postproduction with many of my shots, including this Great Blue Heron in flight.

Great Blue Heron, Rollover Pass
A Great Blue landed on one of those ugly concrete barriers I mentioned earlier.  Even though he was fairly close to me in my wonderful car blind, the environment did not seem like it would lend itself to an attractive shot.  Then I noticed the waves rolling in over the barrier in the background, and I thought if I timed a shot right I might have something after all.

Great Blue Heron, Rollover Pass
I love the contrast between the chaotic spray in the background and the serene bird in the foreground in this shot.

Reddish Egret, Rollover Pass
I'd never seen a Reddish Egret before.  But I saw this one for a long time.  He seemed to be quite comfortable here... but does he have a broken left leg?

Snowy Egret, Rollover Pass
I watched this Snowy Egret try to catch a fish for several minutes, a feat he never managed to pull off while I was there.

Reddish Egret, Rollover Pass
The Reddish, however, did get one.  Down the hatch!  And there definitely appears to be some sort of damage to that left leg.

Great Blue Heron, Rollover Pass
For just a moment, the sun found a hole in the cloud cover and gave me some great light on this Great Blue.

Great Blue Heron and Reddish Egret, Rollover Pass
I would have thought these two would have been more competitive.  But neither seemed to mind the presence of the other.

Reddish Egret, Rollover Pass
When the Reddish finally did move, he just sort of sauntered down the railing upon which he perched.  Not without stumbling a bit at one point.  But he regained his composure and unhurriedly continued on his way.  More evidence of a possible break in that left leg, though, given a bend that I don't think is supposed to be there.

Herons and egrets were far from the only birds I saw at Rollover Pass.  Much more to come!

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