One Good Tern Deserves Another

Yesterday was my last day in the South Padre Island area.  A morning walk on the beach produced hundreds of terns of at least six species.  We are relatively tern-poor in Western Washington, where seeing more than a couple species in a day is unusual.  My favorite tern is the Black Skimmer, with his mammoth orange-and-black bill (seen here with a number of smaller Sandwich Terns, which have thin black bills tipped in white).


In addition to a great many types of terns, the Texas Gulf Coast is also blessed with an abundant number and variety of herons and egrets.  All of these birds thrive in the extensive coastal marshes and wetlands that run the length of Texas’s shoreline for hundreds of miles.

Usually, when I get into a staring contest with a bird, I win handily.  But this Green Heron stared me down with its stern and unwavering gaze.

Green Heron

A Tricolored Heron was skulking nearby, trying to catch a little shade under a tiny mangrove.

Tricolored Heron

Along the boardwalk I looked down to see a great many fish.  Those are going to make the local Ospreys very happy, I thought.


Suddenly a black and white blur streaked past, skimming low over the way, and snagged a fish on the fly-by.  Then the Osprey took his catch to a nearby perch, and calmly breakfasted on very fresh fish.


In the afternoon I began the long drive north.  I had an important date the next day.  A date with chickens.  And I didn’t want to be late.

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