Birding South Padre Island

The third and final day of my families’ trip to south Texas was spent on South Padre Island. This is the southern portion of Padre Island, an large island in the Gulf of Mexico. While this island is a nice vacation spot, it also hosts some great birding. However, we couldn’t spend all that much time at the island due to the fact that we had to catch a plane at 1:00.
So, in the morning, my dad and I left our hotel and walked across the street to the South Padre Island branch of the World Birding Center. This center contains a large boardwalk which goes out over the salt flats and out to the beach overlooking the Laguna Madre (the shallow lagoon which separates South Padre from the mainland. We then proceeded to spend the next hour walking the boardwalk. On the boardwalk, we found black skimmers (a species I am quite fond of), tricolored herons, many redheads (and I mean many, there were probably around 400), black-crowned night herons, pintail, common moorhen, and many more.

Common Moorhen

Blue-Winged Teal

American Widgeon
While we were on the boardwalk, my dad began to talk to a couple of birders who were also on the boardwalk. They told us that behind the convention center you can find piping plovers. Piping plovers are a very cool shorebird which I have wanted to see for a while. Therefore, we decided to go over to the convention center to attempt to find some.
First however, we returned to out hotel to have a large breakfast (three pancakes, a waffle, two pieces of French toast, a glass of orange juice, and a biscuit [this is what happens when you give me an all you can eat buffet]). We then went to the South Padre Island Convention Center to find some shorebirds.
We pulled onto the beach and parked about halfway to the shore. We then got out and set up our scope to view the many shorebirds that were near the waterline. This revealed two black-bellied plovers, many semipalmated plovers, a handful of sanderlings, and a large number of piping plovers! We then scoped the waterfowl that were just offshore and revealed many redhead, some pintail, two common loons, and a bunch of red-breasted mergansers.
Thus ended a great trip to the south Texas area. I am quite pleased with how the trip turned out and will definitely plan on returning to this special area of the US soon.

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