Hurricane Harvey’s path of destruction has seen unprecedented and catastrophic events in coastal Texas. Some birders have been out safely documenting what they have seen, and numerous typically pelagic or near shore species have been displaced far inland from the coast. Below the live map of sightings is a sampling of some of the species documented far from the Gulf of Mexico.
This aerialist is a typical cyclone-assisted vagrant, perhaps one of the more expected tropical species to occur out of range with hurricanes. Below, a photograph from Ft. Bend, 38 miles inland.
We expected numbers of this species to appear in the wake of this storm, and reports highlight significant numbers inland. Below, a series of photographs of inland frigatebirds.
At Walter E. Long Lake, 170 miles inland.
A presumably high altitude and low density overland migrant, this species is often associated with strong weather systems that may “knock” down individuals on the move. In this case, strong storms associated with the arrival of Hurricane Harvey’s energy farther inland may highlight interactions between high altitude migrants and strong convective thunderstorms around the fringes of the hurricane’s circulation. At Lake Travis, 165 miles inland.
This typically coastal and near shore species does not often appear displaced in fast moving hurricanes. However, the slow forward progress of Harvey over the coastal boundary coupled with the abundance of this species on the Texas coast made for a different pattern, with a number of individuals appearing far inland.
A similar story to Royal Tern, this species is a coastal and near shore species presumably displaced by this slow moving behemoth. Also near Austin, about 140 miles from the coast.
This species is almost certainly a regular occurrence at many inland lakes in Texas in small numbers, but it is possible that Harvey displaced from the coast or knocked down some individuals during migration. At Walter E. Long Lake, 170 miles inland.
Caspian Tern. Arman Moreno/Macaulay Library. eBird S38862187.