Friday, June 22, 2012

Black-tailed Godwit - First Record for Texas

Chasing a rare bird is an exciting experience, but imagine travelling to see a bird that has never been seen in Texas. That's exactly what happened last weekend when I went to Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge on the Upper Texas Coast to see a Black-tailed Godwit that had been hanging out on a little pond for about three weeks.
Black-tailed Godwits are usually found in Asia, Africa and Europe. They rarely show up in North America, but occasionally are found on Alaska's Aleutian Islands. There's no telling how the rare shorebird ended up on the Upper Texas Coast, but if you've been keeping track of my blog, you're well aware that Texas is a hotspot for rarities.

Ron Weeks, a birder in the area discovered the rare shorebird hanging out with some of its relatives - Hudsonian Godwits. These Godwit species are similar in appearance, but the Black-tailed Godwit can be distinguished from the Hudsonian by the snow-white color under the wings as seen in the photos below.

Although the shorebird was far away and difficult to photograph due to the location, I was content getting distant views of this historic bird for Texas.

After getting a long look at the Godwit, I birded more of the refuge and found some Short-billed Dowitchers and Wood Storks.

Brazoria NWR
 I also decided to visit one of my favorite state parks, Brazos Bend State Park, where I found some Purple Gallinules and Anhingas.
Brazos Bend State Park

Purple Gallinule
And I had some close encouters with a few alligators...

This park is incredible for photography and it's so scenic with moss hanging off oak trees and lakes decorated with large lily pads. I recommend this park to anyone who wants to experience a true adventure.

Board Walk on 40 Acre Lake
Anhinga sunning on 40 Acre Lake

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