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.
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.
Black-necked Stilts waded in the shallows.
A Great Blue Heron was fishing in the harbor…
… and a Common Tern hunted overhead.
Black Skimmers were resting on the sand bars, occasionally making forays out over the bay.
Once we were out on the bay, we saw many wading birds:
I am always excited to see Roseate Spoonbills with their lovely pink color and prehistoric faces.
There were groups of Red Knots feeding on the sand bars in the bay.
As we headed farther out into the bay Rozzi, Scarlet’s dog, began to bark excitedly.
We soon saw the cause of her excitement …
… but I will save that for another post.