Friday, November 21, 2014

Texas Tour 2014 - Corpus Christi: Day 3 - Sept. 18, 2014

     My last full day on the Corpus Christi Hawk Watch started out with a few kettles forming in the morning, but by the early afternoon some inclement weather to our north shut down raptor migration for the rest of the day. The temperature then rose quickly, but we were well entertained throughout the day by the local Red-tailed and Swainson's Hawks, with a few close flybys of random Broad-winged Hawks and other birds that were hanging around. The local momma White-tailed Deer also stopped by to munch on the blooming Rain Lilies and a few squirrels appeared to lick up the spilled seed under the bird feeder.

Broad-winged Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Swainson's Hawk
Swainson's Hawk hover hunting. 
Eastern Fox Squirrel
Immature Mississippi Kite

White-tailed Deer

Mmmmmm Rain Lilies!
Doe eating Rain Lillies

White Ibis
     After publishing the last blog post, I found some cool photos from the the day before when the kettles were huge and mind-blowing. I am posting them here even though they were not from Sept. 18 because they are too awesome to omit.

Broad-winged Hawks
Huge kettle!
     On the way home we decided to look for Buff-breasted Sandpipers on a nearby sod farm, but saw nothing except grackles and Killdeer. However, as we were nearing the house, I saw something "weird" in a grassy field and yelled at Libby to stop. I wasn't quick enough with my orders and there was traffic behind us, so we had to go down the road a bit and turn around. All that hassle was definitely worth it because that field contained my lifer Long-billed Curlews! About 25 of them total!

Long-billed Curlews with a refinery in the background.

     Craving something other than Mexican food, we decided to go to P.F. Chang's for dinner. Apparently they now have gluten-free dishes on the menu which was perfect for me, and turned out to be delicious!

Spicy Chicken (gluten-free)

     By the time we were finished with dinner it was dark outside. As we walked out into the parking lot I spotted a nighthawk catching insects around the lights! Wanting to identify it as either a Common or Lesser Nighthawk, we spent around 10-15 min lurking in the parking lot with our binoculars trying to get a good look at it. We were pretty certain it was a Common Nighthawk, but it will forever remain as a nighthawk species since we were unable to get a good enough look at it. The rest of the evening was spent finalizing the route for our second Big Day as Team Hawksauce which would commence the next morning. More on our Big Day coming up in the next post!

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