A Year on Clear Lake-Mar 13, 2013

Peak Weather Day–March 13, 2013

The days  just can’t get any better than today. Perfect temperature, perfect sunshine, perfect humidity – bottle it, bottle it, bottle it. The sunrise was beautiful, too–what a gorgeous start to the day.

The Snowy Egret was at its favorite fishing hole. It must be a good spot because there is rarely a day that it doesn’t show up, and spend most of its time there.

A little further down the way, I spotted this tern sitting atop the post most often occupied by the osprey. My first thought was that he’s a Royal tern, but I’ve discovered  that during breeding season identifying birds is more challenging because of the plumage change. What I thought was a Forster’s Tern spotted hanging out with the seagulls a few days ago, may actually be a Common Tern sporting its breeding plumage. And it turns out today’s tern is actually a Caspian.

Birding can be complicated. Birds have different coloring based on age, season, sex and heaven knows what else. It’s challenging to keep them straight, but I’ve asked a couple of birding experts to help – I’ll let you know what I find out.

Regardless of the complexity, birds are fun to watch and to learn about. It’s hard to believe that I have lived on the water for 15 years and never paid them much attention–and I’m an avid wildlife lover who takes great joy in nature and the outdoors! It makes me wonder what else I’ve missed over the years.

By the way, Sara Snell, of the Galveston Bay Area Texas Master Naturalist program, reports that every day for the next month people will gather at Sylvan Beach in LaPorte to count the hawks flying over during migration. The activity begins around 9:30ish when the thermals start warming and hawks start flying. Anyone can stop by.