Black-tailed Godwit and Tropical Mockingbird

My friend Allan emailed week before last to see if I’d be interested in a dash to the Gulf Coast to see a rare Black-tailed Godwit at the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge near Houston. So we left Saturday morning and arrived there at 3:15 in the afternoon. Allan had the location that the bird had been seen and within about 20 minutes the bird was spotted. This rare bird was big news and we encountered about 20 more birders while we were there and seemed like we were soon the experts. After feeling good about the identification, we took the auto tour through the refuge seeing a bunch of other birds that were common there though many were rare in Arkansas. After doing the tour we voted on whether to head back immediately or go to Port Arthur so that we could visit the Sabine Woods Sanctuary (to see an also rare Tropical Mockingbird) and Sea Rim State Park the next morning. The night in Port Arthur was unanimous and we came dragging into that town about 9:45. The next morning we visited the sanctuary which doubles as a mosquito sanctuary and soon added Tropical Mockingbird to my life list. This bird has been there all summer and in fact has mated with a regular Northern Mockingbird and produced a hybrid baby which we also saw. Sorry, no pictures of the rare mocker I was afraid to take my binos off her while trying to confirm she was the bird. Finally, at Sea Rim SP we saw plenty of shorebirds and other kinds including a third lifer for me the Seaside Sparrow. In all, we saw 75 species of birds including all of the herons and egrets and all of the godwit species.

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