The festival is held at a time the birds are returning north for the summer. After a long trip across the Gulf of Mexico, the Galveston area is their first opportunity for dry land. Consequently, Galveston Island and its surrounds becomes one of the nation's premier birding spots.
During the festival we saw them all - birds that were passing through as well as residents who were beginning to nest. The end result was a wonderful experience for both Linda and me that finished with us taking a kayaking tour of the salt marsh wetlands.
The bird to the left is a peregrine falcon. Like several of these small photos, the bird was really too far away for my camera's range for great detail. But I have never photographed a peregrine before, so that makes this a "keeper." This is another "kayak photo" while we were exploring the wetlands on the bay side of Galveston Island.
There is another photo of the peregrine in the photo gallery at the end of the post.
In the Spring the wanton lapwing gets himself another crest;
In the Spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish'd dove;
In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.
The great egret you see here is in full breeding regalia with lots of long, wispy plumes. The long plumes are called aigrettes and occur only when breeding. The desire for aigrettes for ladies' hats in the late 19th century almost caused the great egret to become extinct. Also notice the bright lime green coloring at the lores, the area at the base of the bill. This coloring goes away when breeding time has passed.
The roseate spoonbill in the photo to the left is as deep a pink as it will be all year. You can just about see it here, but there is a bar on each wing that is so intense that it is almost red.
This is a great bird that is mainly found on the Texas and Louisiana coasts and the tip of Florida. Along with its great coloring, it has a bare head and a wonderful, spatulate bill. It is really not very common, and we are fortunate that it thrives along this part of Texas.
The spoonbill tends to nest in colonies, gathering in large numbers to produce and rear their young. They typically wait until they are at the nesting grounds to find a mate. Then the male and female build the nest together low in the bushes and lay about four eggs. The chicks usually hatch after about three weeks, and take about a month before they fly. The young birds have just a slight pink tinge, and won't become very pink for a couple of years.
Here are some of the best photos of our outing. A few were chosen without regard to quality, but simply because they have some neat subject matter. The rest are what Linda decided were the best ones to post.
We hope you enjoy the photos. Thanks for dropping by.