When I landed in Corpus I had a couple hours free, and was able to see some of the Rio Grande Valley specialties near the northern limits of their range. For example a quick stop at and around Hazel Bazemore park produced views of Inca & Common Ground-Doves, Couch's Kingbirds, Green Kingfisher, Black-crested Titmouse (always tempted to call plural birds "Titmice"...), and Great Kiskadee along with the more widespread species.
As you approach the coast you are in the heart of the White-tailed Hawk's range here in the United States. This stunning local specialty is always great to see and I noted at least a dozen between the airport and Port A! There were also Kestrels, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Northern Harriers, and Red-tailed Hawks rounding out the raptor list. Aplomado Falcons are nearby but I didn't make a special trip to track one down on this trip (so many birds, so little time...)
On Padre Island proper the other birds seen are fairly typical of what I see near my home on Florida's gulf coast. Notable exceptions (beyond the aforementioned) include Least Grebe, and Neotropic Cormorant. Why these two birds aren't seen in FL is beyond me but I keep looking.
American White Pelicans are a common sight along gulf coast beaches along with laughing gulls, terns (mostly Forster's and Royal), and a great assortment of Shorebirds.
Marbled Godwit, Padre Island, TX, 22 Feb 2007
Regal Marbled Godwits are often present on beaches with more numerous Sanderling, Black-bellied Plovers, Ruddy Turnstones, and Short-billed Dowitchers among others. It is interesting to note that the majority of the dowitchers I identify to species on the gulf beaches are Short-billeds. The Long-billed Dowitchers seem to prefer the brackish water marshes and fresh water ponds.
These same inland pools where I saw Long-billed Dowitchers on this trip, played host to Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, American Avocets, and Black-necked Stilts. The short grasses of the island were hopping with Palm Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, and a variety of sparrows. Most common were Savannah Sparrows but on one windy morning I caught fleeting glimpses of both Vesper and Le Conte's Sparrows as well. I would have loved to have seen both better, but at least I know I will have great opportunities to see these birds singing on territory later in the year when I work the Detroit Lakes Bird Festival in MN!
Black-necked Stilt looks back over its shoulder, Port Aransas, TX 25 Feb 2007