This is the next of an occasional series on birding the Texas coast in April, 2019. The first post was May 8th on the rookery at Smith Oaks, on High Island Texas. Today we move a bit south and west to Rollover Pass, Galveston Bay, map below. All the images here were captured at the little yellow dot at the bottom left of the map below. High island is the slightly greener elevation to the right on the map. The map is a feature of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC that maps any images with GPS coordinates stamped on the file. Fortunately the Canon 7D Mark II has a GPS chip, which when combined with LR allows mapping of all my bird images, very helpful when trying to figure out "where were we?" when a photo was taken.
Among the many shorebirds at Rollover Pass on April 28th was a Reddish Egret, dark morph, in full breeding plumage. The Reddish Egret is a medium to large heron that inhabits shallow salt water, and runs, jumps, and spins to stir up small fish during feeding. This species comes in light and dark morphs, and here we see the dark morph in full breeding plumage. Considered uncommon, this bird lives in shallow salt ponds and marshes in southern areas on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.
The characteristic feeding behavior consists of spreading the wings and spinning and lunging over the shallows to stir up prey. The behavior is so specific that it can be used as a bird identifier when spotting the bird from a distance.
On the 28th my subject was right in front of me, in good light, and "danced" a number of sets. Here are three that I was able to pull out of the deck of images.
Without interruption, here is Set 1. Note in the last frame a small fish has jumped out of the water to the right.
Here we see in the first frame a fish jumping completely out of the water, then splashing back in in the next frame.
Third and last set.
For more on the Reddish Egret see the Audubon Guide to North American Birds online.
That's all for now!
Henry Johnson, photographer and author of this site. For more detail, see About