A large variety of birds can be found here in the upper Texas Coast area around Galveston, TX. It makes our Galveston RV resort truly a bird watcher paradise! Quaker Parakeet, Roseate Spoonbill, White Ibis, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Marbled Godwit, Sandhill Crane, Hooded Merganser, Common Loon, Black Skimmer are all common birds here. Gulls, terns, and hawks are often visible overhead, barn owls nest within the park and our very own Mallard Ducks.
The Mallard, or wild duck, is a dabbling duck which breeds throughout the temperate subtropical Americas, Europe, Asia, and North Africa, and has been introduced to New Zealand and Australia. The male birds have a bright green head, while the female’s is light brown. The Mallard lives in wetlands, eats water plants, and is gregarious. It is also migratory. The Mallard is 22–26 in long (of which the body makes up around two-thirds), has a wingspan of 32–39 in and weighs 32–42 oz.
Huey, a male Mallard duck hatched on 4/2/11, was delivered to us on 4/4/2011 (left photo-4 days old). During the trip to us the shipping company truck had mechanical failure and was immobilized for an unknown time. Out of 12 ducklings, Huey was the only to survive. It was amazing he made it, the duckling was not lethargic or weak, but wide eyed, thirsty and hungry. The supplier then sent us a new shipment of 12 Mallard ducklings and arrived on 4/12/2011 (Right photo-4 days old).
The Yellow-crowned Night Heron, also called the American Night Heron or squawk, is a fairly small heron, similar in appearance to the Black-crowned Night Heron. It is found throughout a large part of the Americas, especially (but not exclusively) in warmer coastal regions. Adults are about 24 in. long and weigh 22 oz. They have a white crown and back with the remainder of the body grayish, red eyes and short yellow legs. They have a white stripe below the eye. Juveniles resemble young Black-crowned Night-Herons, being mainly brown flecked with white or gray. In warmer locations, some are permanent residents; others migrate to Central America and the West Indies.
The Monk Parakeet, also known as the Quaker Parrot, is a species of parrots, in most treatments the only member of the genus Myiopsitta. It originates from the temperate to subtropical areas of Argentina and the surrounding countries in South America. Self-sustaining feral populations occur in many places, mainly in North America, Europe nominate subspecies of this parakeet is 11 in. long on average, with a 19 in. wingspan, and weighs 3.5 oz. Females tend to be 10-20% smaller. It has bright green upper parts. The forehead and breast are pale grey with darker scalloping and the rest of the underparts are very-light green to yellow. Self-sustaining populations have been recorded in several US states and various countries.
As Pets: Monk Parakeets are highly intelligent, social birds. Those kept as pets routinely develop large vocabularies. They are able to learn scores of words and phrases.
The Laughing Gull is a medium-sized gull of North and South America. It breeds on the coast of North America, the Caribbean and northern South America. Northernmost populations migrate further south in winter, and this species occurs as a rare vagrant to western Europe. The Laughing Gull’s English name is derived from its raucouskee-agh call, which sounds like a high-pitched laugh “ha… ha… ha…”.
This species is easy to identify. It is 14–16 in long with a 39–43 in wingspan. The summer adult’s body is white apart from the dark grey back and wings and black head. Its wings are much darker grey than all other gulls of similar size except the smaller Franklin’s Gull, and they have black tips without the white crescent shown by Franklin’s. The beak is long and red. The black hood is mostly lost in winter. Laughing Gulls take three years to reach adult plumage. Immature birds are always darker than most similar-sized gulls other than Franklin’s. First-year birds are grayer below and have paler heads than first-year Franklin’s, and second-years can be distinguished by the wing pattern and structure.
Laughing Gulls breed in coastal marshes and ponds in large colonies. The large nest, made largely from grasses, is constructed on the ground. The 3 or 4 greenish eggs are incubated for about three weeks. These are omnivores like most gulls, and they will scavenge as well as seeking suitable small prey.
I will continue to add more as time permits. So far I have encountered 34 species here at the park and hope to get the right photo for each one. Thank you to our RV campers for all the great photos you have submitted and especially Wikipedia.