Snow birding

Roseate Spoonbill

I havenít seen Grand Mesa at all today, and the West Elks have vanished again. I know that we need the moisture desperately, and I know that it is January. But I long for a warmer clime!

††††††††† But I canít afford to leave town! So I gaze at the program from the Whooping Crane Festival of 2011. And dream. Of course the Whoopers were the

Text Box:  prize birds of the trip and happily Karen (my birding buddy) and I saw plenty. The Texas coast subtropical environment was all new to me and there were others birds that I especially hoped to see ó like the Roseate Spoonbill.

††††††††† On the second morning out, we were driving along the gulf shore, and there were six Spoonbillsóall pink! And the bills looked as impossible as they did in the field guide! Two were preening, two seemed to be asleep and two were foraging. What a treat! Before we started this trip, I did some research and learned that these birds usually forage alone. They sweep that spatula-shaped bill back and forth across the water to find small creatures. As I gazed at them, I thought, ďAvocet?Ē Those familiar birds of Hartís Basin forage in this manner. But the bill! It seems impossible (but then Iím not a Spoonbill!).

††††††††† They are more common in Florida, so I feel particularly lucky to see them here in Texas. They occur all along the Gulf of Mexico Coast, into South America and the West Indies. Normally Iím interested in details: the nest, the eggs, incubation, fledging period and names: Ajaia ajaja? What a strange name: I wondered what it meant. Though my field guide gave some information, I didnít even look. I was far too busy just admiring these pink birds of the subtropics. Now the windís up and I see the sideways snow out the window. And I donít care!