Thursday, May 21st...
Sighting several species of birds with the likes of Sandpipers, Stilts, Larks, Egrets, Yellowlegs, Mockingbirds, Red winged Blackbirds, Herons, Swallows, Plovers, Phalaropes, Spoonbills, Willets and more [my bird photos are most always saved for my birding blog], along the way some views of the nature's habitat, near the jetty, along the trail, and by the Marine Institute in the merry merry month of May:
From a long distance, a Horned Lark flying away from its Feeding Field - Wildflowers with enlarged section
Marine Institute Flag Pole - Camping Restriction Sign - Fire Wheel Flowers [unusual to see pink blossom]
Paraglider [Motorized Kite Flying] and Fence Line [with enlargement cutout]
pandanus palms, these plants are not closely related to palm trees
No doubt you figured out that one of my favorite areas that is close proximity of our home is Mustang Island. More so, the small fishing village of Port Aransas, Texas. And it is also one of the birding "hot spots" along the coastal bend of the state. Bud and I find ourselves back on the island highway at least once a week, but more times than none, two or three times. Especially during the Spring Migration months of April and May...avoiding the area like the plague during schools' Spring Break. Anyway, last Thursday, I was walking along a birding area, Charlie's Pasture North, which is nearby the large Ship Channel that enters the Port area of Port A heading to Corpus Christi, or out into the Gulf of Mexico. As I was returning from my mile walk along the hiking trail, I spotted a huge cargo ship. Altho I was too far away, I knew I was missing out of the 'action' along the ship's bow waves!! But, the two of us were here in the area for another reason, so I wasn't making haste to get back to the pavilion for loss of seeing this particular ship go by. After this trek, we were going to head to the beach and jetty where a particular bird, I was told, was en masse for the last week or so! And in Summer Breeding colors. I figured by the time we arrived in that spot, another ship would go out or be coming in and I could get photos of the action then.
What is the action I wanted to record with photos? Where there are large ships, there are dolphins. At least in this channel!! And sure 'nough, another ship was leaving the port to head into the Gulf!! I rushed from the sandy beach area where I was getting bird photos, to the jetty with my camera primed and pointed to the ship's bow!! Soon I was not disappointed.........
From Marine Traffic
this information on the oil tanker, Ridgebury John Zipser
Call Sign: V7DX7
Flag: Marshall Is (MH)
AIS Type: Tanker
Gross Tonnage: 84735
Deadweight: 164772 t
Length × Breadth: 274.2m × 50.04m
Year Built: 2009
Info Received: 2015-05-21 17:25
Area: Mexico Gulf
Latitude / Longitude: 27.6993° / -96.8256°
Speed/Course: 13.9kn / 131°
Destination COVENAS [CO] - Columbia
ETA 2015-05-27 05:00 UTC
Last Known Port PORT ARANSAS [US] (2015-05-21 16:07:00)
Previous Port PORT ARANSAS [US] (2015-04-10 17:32:00)
Now, a bit of information on the dolphins seen here, playfully guiding the Zipser out to sea...
They are Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins:
Diet includes fish, squid and crustaceans. Bottlenose dolphins exhibit a range of feeding strategies, including cooperative hunting (often herding fish into tight circles), feeding in association with fishing boats, digging in the sand to uncover food and chasing fish onto mud banks.
Adults reach six to 12 feet in length and weigh 400 to 800 pounds. Males are slightly larger than females.
Bottlenose dolphins are found worldwide in tropical and temperate waters, often along coastlines or in bays, harbors or estuaries.
While bottlenose dolphins are not endangered, some populations are depleted. In U.S. waters, they are protected by the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act. Coastal populations may be especially vulnerable to habitat degradation, including high levels of pollutants from human activities both on and offshore.
Bottlenose dolphins are top ocean predators with few predators of their own. Sharks and killer whales occasionally prey upon dolphins. Humans represent a major threat to bottlenose dolphins who are accidentally caught in fishing gear (gill nets, purse seines and shrimp trawls) or entangled in discarded gear and monofilament line. Dolphins are still hunted in some parts of the world.
Another sultry day, but the cloud cover and the sea breeze kept the body temperature down and I enjoyed the early morning activities I recorded !