Huge Number of Birds on Texas Gulf Coast
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讀萬卷書    行萬里路

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In the morning of January 25, 2015, we took the 15-minute free big Galveston-Bolivar ferry to go from
northeastern end of Galveston Island to southwest end of Bolivar Peninsula along the Gulf of Mexico on Texas
coast. This free ferry is big and carries not only many passengers, but also many cars, buses and trucks.  As
bird watchers, we were happily surprised by huge number of noisy seagulls swarming over our heads and
following our ferry in a feeding frenzy. It was a fantastic and exciting experience for bird watchers.
Huge number of seagulls following the huge wakes behind the big and powerful ferry.

Some more experienced people said that in warmer seasons, they see not only many gulls, but also many
pelicans. Furthermore, some playful dolphins are jumping and playing with the powerful turbulence and wakes
behind the big ferry.
There are two factors that are driving such frenzy behavior of huge number of gulls around and behind the big
ferry: (1) some passengers on the ferry are enjoying feeding these birds by throwing some foods (may be
French Fries) up into the air for those birds to catch in the mid air, and (2) the powerful turbulent wakes behind
the ferry stir up many fish to the surface and these surfaced fish become easy targets for these birds to catch
as shown in the following pictures.
These two pictures show that this man with baby on his right arm is using his left hand to through food up into
the air for the birds to catch. His right hand under the baby is holding some more food.
This baby has food on his raised left hand waiting for gulls to get the food from his hand.

There were also several other passengers on the ferry enjoying feeding the birds. They had a bag of food on
one hand and were throwing food up into the air with the other hand as shown on the following picture.
This is one of many gulls getting the foods in mid air.
In this picture, another gull got the food in the mid air.

The Sport Mode of my camera is very useful and helpful to catch such action photos. In Sport Mode, the
camera focuses very fast, and as long as the shutter release button is pressed down and is kept down, the
camera keeps on taking several shots in every second of ongoing actions, until I release the button.
銀鷗歡舞。

In this picture, a piece of food is going up in the air among the gulls.
The powerful turbulence behind the big ferry.
Some gulls dived down to the surface of the turbulent wake behind the ferry to catch fish.
Some gulls are on the surface of the powerful and turbulent wakes behind the ferry to catch fish.

The ferry operation consists of five boats, each of which can carry approximately 70 vehicles, 500 passengers
and six crew members. Each ferry is capable of carrying eight 18-wheel trucks weighing 80,000 pounds each.

This gave me opportunities to take pictures of not only frenzy bird activities near our ferry, but also near other
ferries. On late afternoon near sunset time of January 27, 2015, we took the free ferry ride in opposite
direction from Bolivar Peninsula to Galveston Island.
A side view of the ferry at the ferry terminal of Bolivar Peninsula.
這是賞鳥者夢寐以求的地方。

A tail view of the ferry.

Map 1: Click here for interactive Google Map showing location of Port Bolivar-Galveston Ferry.

The Ferry Terminals are at the end of Highway 87 on both Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula. This is a
free service and runs 24 hours. Ferries run approximately every fifteen to twenty minutes. This ferry continues
to be one of Galveston's most popular attractions.

I also took a movie of this exciting feeding frenzy of many noisy gulls swarming the ferry as shown on the
following YouTube website:

https://
www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnkQlgWjcnc&feature=youtu.be
One of two or three beautiful roseate spoonbills that we saw in Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). We
toured this NWR twice, once in the afternoon of January 25, 2015 and the second time in the morning of
January 27, 2015.
There were two or three other occasions at other locations in this 13-day tour of Texas Gulf Coast that I saw
a roseate spoonbill flew by quickly, but I was busy driving and did not get a chance to take pictures.

For example, some roseate spoonbills show up in Arthur Storey Park (at 7400 West Sam Houston Parkway
South, Houston, TX 77072)  in Chinatown in Houston as shown on the following two websites:

http://
blog.udn.com/chouhwa/18851500

http://blog.udn.com/chouhwa/3348829

Map 2: Click here for interactive Google Map showing location of Anahuac NWR

Map 3: Click here for detailed Park Map of Anahuac NWR

The main entrance of Anahuac NWR is at 4318 FM (Farm Market Road) #1985, Anahuac, TX 77514. It is
about 70 miles east of Houston. FM 1985 is also known as Whites Ranch Rd. The main entrance is on FM
1985 and is about 4 miles east of the junction of FM 1985 and FM 562 and about 11 miles west of the
junction of FM 1985 and TX 124.

This NWR provides a paved road entrance and approximately two and a half mile paved one-way auto tour
loop around Shoveler Pond for wildlife viewing.

Note: There is a second entrance into Anahuac NWR. This second entrance is also on FM 1985 and is about
7 miles east of the main entrance. This second entrance with a road goes into a limited area of Anahuac
NWR known as East Bay Bayou Tract or Skillern Tract. However, the road from this second entrance is NOT
connected to those from the main entrance. So, if you want to tour the main portion of Anahuac NWR, make
sure that you go in from the main entrance. Do not confuse these two entrances.
空中不時有大群的雪雁飛過。

In Anahuac NWR, we saw many snow geese flying in the sky.
One group of snow geese was on the wetland marked as White Fronted Moist Soil Units on the Map 3 above.
So, we drove to the unpaved Cross Road to get closer to this group of snow geese so that my compact
super-zoom camera could zoom in to get some good pictures of the snow geese.

Moist soil units are a management tool that provides a critical part of the diet of wintering and migrating
waterfowl. Seeds and plant parts (leaves, roots, and tubers) found here provide energy and essential nutrients
for wintering waterfowl. They also support abundant and diverse populations of invertebrates, including insects
- an important protein source for waterfowl. They are important for wildlife and make for great wildlife
watching. During the winter months large concentrations of waterfowl can often be found feeding here.
湖邊和蘆葦叢裏白茫茫的一片。

From the Cross Road, I reduced the zoom of my camera to cover larger area of snow geese activities. We
were happy to find this group not too far from the Cross Road.
But on the auto tour loop road, we saw and heard the sound of another much larger group of snow geese very
far away in a different direction (northwest) as shown in these two pictures. Even my compact super-zoom
camera with 65X optical zoom is still not powerful enough to get good and clear pictures of that huge group.
We asked the NWR ranger and other birders in the NWR to see if there is any road to get closer to that huge
group of snow geese. The answer is No. Those snow geese know how to choose a location very far from any
road in the NWR.

(We tried by driving along FM 1985 and along FM 562 along northwest boundaries of Anahuac NWR. But no
luck and did not get close to that huge group of snow geese.)
遠眺很大的雪雁聚集地,南歸秋雁多宿於此,越冬棲息的雪雁, 密密麻麻,數以萬計。

That group of snow geese is so far away and so huge that they look just like a very long white line on the
horizon in this picture. These snow geese are migratory bird and winter in this NWR. In spring season, they
leave here and migrate north to arctic tundra. We were happy to see them in this NWR during this winter
birding tour.

However, sometimes if a bald eagle comes to harass and to stir up the entire huge group of 20,000 or more of
snow geese to lift up and soar into the air at the same time, it then becomes the most memorable experience
of spectacular and very noisy air show as shown in the following YouTube movie:

https://
www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAGW3TOTs48


We have also seen the spectacular views of tens of thousands of snow geese in action in Delaware, New
Jersey and Pennsylvania as shown on my web pages at:

http://
shltrip.com/Bombay_Hook.html

http://shltrip.com/Merrill_Creek_Reservoir.html

http://shltrip.com/Snow_Geese_50000_of_Them_All_Over_the_Sky.html
We also saw many white ibises in this NWR.
A flock of white ibises in the air.
白鷺鷥在渾水摸魚, 虎視眈眈。

One of several snowy egrets in this NWR are shaking their feet in the muddy water to probe for and to stir up
fish. When a fish is disturbed and tries to swim away, the egret uses its long bill to catch the fish. I took a
movie clip of this snowy egret in such action as shown in the following YouTube website:

https://
www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_qMWlfiH10&feature=youtu.be
Duck and black-necked stilts.
白冠水雞水草圍繞中,辛勤覓食。

One of many American Coots on the water. This is commonly seen in many national wildlife refuges all over
USA.
成群的鳥在空中飛。

Many birds in the air.
On the afternoon of January 26, 2015, we came to Sea Rim State Park for bird watching on this (0.75-mile
one way) long marsh boardwalk, known as Gambusia Nature Trail, over a large wetland. This State Park is
located at 19335 S. Gulfway Drive, (i.e., TX 87), Sabine Pass, TX 77655, Phone (409) 971-2559. It is 10
miles west of Sabine Pass on the northeast coast of Texas.
白鹮雪白的身體配上橘紅的大嘴和長腳,嘴喙細長,並且向下彎曲。

One of many white ibises seen in this state park.
A frock of white ibises busily foraging at the edge of marsh by poking their long and curvy bills deep into the
mud. I took a movie clip of the foraging behavior of this flock of white ibises as shown in the following YouTube
website:

https://
www.youtube.com/watch?v=fx-m4GQUi2s
天上人間任你來去, 展翅高飛, 揚長而去。

This one seems to be Anhinga.
群鴨飛翔,勢欲凌空去。

Many ducks in the air.
大白鷺剛降落的瞬間。

This egret just landed.
西塞山前白鷺飛, 臨空欲飛天。

An egret in the air.
沼澤裡的小魚小螃蟹小蝦小蟲,構成了自然生態相依存的生物鏈。

Some big birds or wild animals are eating blue crabs on the boardwalk and leave the shell and the craw of the
crab on the boardwalk. There are several sets of such shells and craws left on the long boardwalk.
蘆葦沼澤濕地,浩瀚似海,一望無際。

A view of the large wetland area in Anahuac NWR.
Two American Coots out of water on the boardwalk.
一隻佇立枝頭的小鳥, 耐人尋味。

One of many kinds of birds seen in this State Park.
Many white ibises in the air and on the ground in this State Park.
這一隻隼把獵物帶到樹上,啄食享用。

This looks like a falcon eating its catch on the tree.
群鷗在空中翻飛,爭風,追逐,嬉戲,鼓舌鬥唱,搶食物,聲勢浩大,連場精彩好戲,
一場緊接一場, 蔚為壯觀。
不同種類的鳥群在葦蕩間飛舞鳴歌,多種鳥類到這裡棲息繁衍,翩翩起舞,形成一幅野趣
天成的優美畫面。
長空雁鳴聲,沖霄高天去。
鳥兒嬉戲翩翩舞。
大白鷺展翅飛翔英姿。
我們醉心於飛羽攝影,這三天有了很豐富的收穫。

It is a fantastic and exciting experience for us to see large number of noisy seagulls swarming the Bolivar Ferry
in a feeding frenzy, tens of thousands of snow geese wintering in Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, several
beautiful roseate spoonbills and many other kinds of birds in action in these three days of birding from January
25 to 27, 2015.

The six parts of our winter birding tour of Texas Gulf Coast are listed in the following:

Part 1 entitled "Many Majestic Red Crowned White Cranes (丹頂白鶴) and Many Other Winter Birds Along
Texas Gulf Coast " is at:

http://
www.shltrip.com/Red_Crowned_White_Cranes.html

Part 2 entitled "Huge Chinese Dim Sum Restaurant in Houston, Texas" is at:

http://
www.shltrip.com/Huge_Chinese_Dim_Sum_Restaurant.html

Part 3 entitled "Many Beautiful Roseate Spoonbills (玫瑰紅琵鷺), Dolphin and Other Birds in Port Aransas,
Texas
" is at:

http://
www.shltrip.com/Many_Beautiful_Roseate_Spoonbills.html

Part 4 entitled "Huge Number of Birds on Texas Gulf Coast" is at:

http://
www.shltrip.com/Huge_Number_of_Birds_on_Texas_Gulf_Coast.html

Part 5 entitled "Many Interesting Ducks and Birds on and near Duck Lake in Houston Zoological Gardens " is at:

http://
www.shltrip.com/Many_Interesting_Birds_in_and_near_Duck_Lake_in_Houston_Zoo.html

Part 6 entitled "More on Winter Birding along Texas Gulf Coast" is at:

http://
www.shltrip.com/More_on_Winter_Birding_Along_Gulf_Coast.html
黃昏的迷茫中,我們的腳步聲驚起一整群鳥,忽然騰空飛起一陣驚荒亂紛飛。
氣勢磅礴的雪雁飛翔隊伍。
How I use information age technologies to enhance my enjoyment greatly of sightseeing large driving tour loop
of thousands of miles and of one to two weeks in duration covering many Points of Interest is described on my
web page at:

http://
www.shltrip.com/Sightseeing_in_Information_Age.html