A Birding Expedition on Laguna Madre Bay

A highlight of my trip to South Texas for the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival was a pontoon boat trip on Laguna Madre Bay with Scarlet Colley of the The South Padre Island Dolphin Research and Nature Center. We arrived at the dock in Port Isabel just at sunrise on a cloudy morning.

Laguna Madre Bay

Sunrise at Port Isabel

Six of us boarded the pontoon boat with Scarlet and Dan Jones, an excellent local birding guide.

As we cruised slowly around the harbor, Brown Pelicans seemed to be everywhere.

Laguna Madre Bay

Brown Pelican

Black-necked Stilts waded in the shallows.

Laguna Madre Bay, Port Isabel, Texas.

Black-necked Stilt

A Great Blue Heron was fishing in the harbor…

Laguna Madre Bay

Great Blue Heron

… and a Common Tern hunted overhead.

Laguna Madre Bay

Common Tern

Black Skimmers were resting on the sand bars, occasionally making forays out over the bay.

Laguna Madre Bay

Black Skimmer

Once we were out on the bay, we saw many wading birds:

Laguna Madre Bay

Little Blue Heron

Laguna Madre Bay


Laguna Madre Bay

Marbled Godwit

Laguna Madre Bay

American Oystercatcher

I am always excited to see Roseate Spoonbills with their lovely pink color and prehistoric faces.

Laguna Madre Bay

Roseate Spoonbills

Laguna Madre Bay

Roseate Spoonbills fly overhead

There were groups of Red Knots feeding on the sand bars in the bay.

Laguna Madre Bay

Red Knots

As we headed farther out into the bay Rozzi, Scarlet’s dog, began to bark excitedly.

Laguna Madre Bay


We soon saw the cause of her excitement …

Laguna Madre Bay

Bottlenose Dolphin

… but I will save that for another post.

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Filed under Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival, Texas birds

15 responses to “A Birding Expedition on Laguna Madre Bay

  1. Great post. Next time take me with you. 🙂

  2. cindy

    A wonderful collection! I particularly like the first Oyster Catcher pic!

  3. Terrific series of beautiful birds … a dog and a dolphin. Love the Black Skimmer in flight shot. We saw lots of Roseate Spoonbills down in Florida recently. They really are lovely birds. Great images, Linda! Looking forward to your Bottlenose Dolphin post!

  4. Howdee Linda~Awesome birds there! Hope to go some year…humm ..maybe next..could fly out there.

  5. Love those birds, looks like a super outing, and very cool a dolphin – they almost made me a marine biologist

  6. Lots of good memories of the festival

  7. sylvia lessard

    Wow, I will be there (port Isabel, texas ) late february or march.
    I Love birds and animal. Will it be a good time to see them ?
    Thank’s for these beautiful pictures.
    Sylvia, Sherbrooke, québec, canada

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