Monday, November 17, 2014

Texas Tour 2014 - Corpus Christi: Day 2 - Sept. 17, 2014

    My second day at the Corpus Christi Hawk Watch started out very slowly raptor-wise. Due to the lack of birds streaming in from the north the afternoon before, there were no raptors around to create a lift-off flight in the morning. Thus, I entertained myself by taking many photos of the hummingbirds raging around the 30+ feeders at the hawk watch.

Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Feeding frenzy of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds!

Ruby-throated Hummingbird in all his glory!

Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird hiding the red throat.

Once the temperatures began to rise in the late morning, we started to see some raptor migration happening. Soon, we were counting multiple kettles of 700-1,000 raptors at a time! Counting this many raptors at once was a very different experience for me, and was initially a little overwhelming. However, by the end of the day I was getting the hang of it! The total for the day was 20,200+ raptors, composed mostly of Broad-winged Hawks, with 666 Mississippi Kites.

Raptor migration madness! All those specks swirling around each other are Broad-winged Hawks with a few Mississippi Kites. 

Late in the day as migration was slowing down for the evening, and temperatures had reached into the 90s (F), some of us started to lose our minds. One hawk counter suggested that we get some large Ostrich feather fans and hire people to fan us while we count hawks. However, due to the heat and exhaustion of the day, he did not say Ostrich properly. Instead, the words came out as "Oyster feathers". The hawk watch platform erupted in laughter, and from then on, everyone present tried their best to slip the newly coined term "oyster feathers" into as many sentences as possible. Hilarity ensued.

At the end of the day Libby and I went back to her house to change, then went to a place called Snoopy's Pier off of South Padre Island Drive. I chose to order the shrimp and rice dish which was one of the best shrimp dishes I have ever had! Very fresh tasting with great shrimpy flavor throughout. Even better was seeing Brown Pelicans, White Pelicans, White Ibis, and Little Blue Herons from the restaurant. Our seating was on a dock over the water, with Laughing Gulls staring at us longingly from the roof. At first, I could not figure out what was deterring the gulls from coming down to our tables. Then, I noticed that there were thin white strings strung strategically over the dock, preventing gulls from flying in and sneaking food off people's plates. What a brilliant idea!

Shrimp and Rice at Snoopy's Pier

Gull deterrents.
The sun setting at Snoopy's Pier
Stay tuned! Two more posts coming up about my time in Corpus Christi!

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