"A"5 (Dr. & Mrs. George Lowery
( Horaee Jeter - Shreveport
(Jim Stewart - Shreveport
(Nancy & Jerry Strickling
MARCH REPORT SUMMARY - Bayshore Areas
by Linda Snyder
Migrants are very alow in coming into the area. With the first week of March,
there was ax considerable reduction in numbers of wintering birds, such as Blue-Gray
Gnateateher, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, House Wrens, Orange-erowned Warblers and Goldfinches. However, before they left^ most of these gave forth their songs reminiscent
of their nesting grounds. As always, the beautiful flute-like song of the Hermit'Thrush
is the most' thrilling. I heard for the first time the halting song (similar to Red-
eyed)) of the Solitary Vireo. The Brown Thrasher has been competing with the Mockingbird in more gutters! fashion, and the Ruby-crowned Kinglet lets himself be known by
his little "hunting song". I also heard the cry of the Common Loon for the first time
at Texas City Dike.
The water birds are still making » big splash with the Glaucous Gull still at
the Dike on March 31 and the ap pearanee at duRbnt Pond of ai female Common Merganser.
Clint and I identifiedhsr March 28 by the wall-defined area: of red and the white patch
on the throat, the greater amount of white in the wing, the crested head and th*
stradghter bill. Later we showed her to Paul Corneil who made an attempt to photograph
+r+ + + -tt +r # -H- +f * +
by Clint Snyder
On February 26, 1961, the Ornithology Group undertook its first pelagic bird trip.
Departure was scheduled for 8:00 aim. from Bier 18 in Galveston; however because of
engine failure on the "Miss &me", it was an hour before we could get a replacement -
ax striking red aad yellow excursion boat, "Captain Doc". We were extremely fortunate
since this boat with its floored upper deck was much more adaptable to birding. While
waiting for the replacement, we watched the gulls and pigeons flying around the piers
against"aaclear blue sky. There had been ahlustering norther; however, by now the
wind had dropped to aagentle breeze from SSW, and the temperature was in the high 50's»
The trip finally got underway at 9!00 as the group of intrepid birders boarded the
"Captain Doc". In order to start attracting the gulls> we immediately began throwing
out part of the 20-odd pounds of bait (suet, popcorn, fishheads and chicken entrails).
After about a mile, we had attracted a tremendous cloud of Laughing Gulls (causing
some of those on board to seek protection for their heads). Passing the Galveston docks
was quite interesting as Captain Doe gave an authoritative narration on the maritime
environment of Galveston. We plowed through the relatively muddy waters of Bolivar Roads
with porpoises lazily rolling ahead of us in the stin. -As we passed the lighthouse, a
pair of Eared Grebes and a-Common Loon were seen in the surf at the end of' the jetties.
Little did we know that these would be the 3ast waterfowl we would see on the trip.
We found no dueks in the Gulf2 The transition from bay to gulf water was quite pronounced,., as the water became a clear blue-green in color. Flowing along at a top speed
of 10 mph, we trailed behind us a string of gulls - mostly Laughing, a: few Herring, and
£0i occasional Bonapartes. A Caspian Tern at about 5 miles out was an unusual bird. As
we approached the 10 mile distance, the composition of the flock of gulls changed, with
Hering Gulls replacing most of the Laughing Gulls until at 12 miles we had a floek of
50+ Herring Gulls:-and only an occasional Laughing.
By this timesDst of the people aboard were becoming used to the rooking of the
ship, and all had their sea»legs. The novelty of scanning the horizon, and the practicality too, had worn off until at 17 miles, Jerry and Nancy Strickling exclaimed almost
in unison "What's that birdJ* as ax large brown-colored bird swooped in from starboard
and had crossed our stern before most people could see it. Graciously the bird recircled
the boat and identification was tentatively established as an immature Blue-faced Booby.
(There has been some doubt expressed as to the identity of1ne bird. It was definitely a
member of the Sulidae, and to this observer it appeared definitely smaller than the adult
Gannet. The coloration was a uniform brown (not mottled), and lighter patches were on
the rump and top part of the head or back. It is best that it be listed as unidentified.)
As Linda Snyder was watching the bird she saw another larger, white bird in the distance.
This bird was spotted a few seconds later by the rest of the party and was identified
as an adult GANNET. Even though the bird never came very close to the boat, the fact that'
it was an adult made its identification possible. If it had been an immature, it probably