Thursday, April 27, 2006

Finally Some Birds!

Awoke yesterday morning feeling ill, and immediately started throwing up. I was scheduled to work in the afternoon, but the headache and nausea continued and I spent the rest of the day in bed (except for occasional trips to the bathroom). I'm still feeling some achiness, but not enough to keep me from driving to Houston to see Southern Culture on the Skids tonight. I think I'm feeling well enough, but I'm gonna take it easy - which means no heavy drinking at the show. I also have a job interview this afternoon (fingers crossed!).

Spring migration has generally been dissapointing this year. I haven't heard of any major fallouts, and my trips to Sabine Woods and High Island have yielded very few neotropical migrants. Since the presence or absence of large numbers of birds at coastal locations is largely weather related, and large-scale groundings only occur when storms and north winds halt migration, our nice weather is probably to blame. Under pleasant conditions most birds probably overshoot the coast, and fly well inland before taking cover. This is good for the birds, but makes for dull birding.

On Tuesday I went back to High Island. Thunderstorms had been predicted, and some grounding of birds was likely to occur. This time I wasn't dissapointed. When I arrived at the Boy Scout Woods it didn't look too promising, but it was early, and migrants departing from the Yucatan usually arrive in the late afternoon. So I killed some time there, and as the day progressed more birds began to appear. Highlights were a Kentucky Warbler and a male Painted Bunting.

Swamp Rabbit at the Boy Scout Woods. Cute, huh?
From there I went to Smith Woods, where the situation at 4pm was very different - birds everywhere! The trees were full of kingbirds, catbirds, cuckoos, tanagers, orioles, grosbeaks, buntings, etc. Around fruiting mullberries the numbers were almost overwhelming. Trying to find vireos and warblers was more difficult because the larger species were making so much commotion. Baltimore Orioles were particularly abundant. Here's a male I photographed near the parking area.This Yellow-billed Cuckoo posed for me just long enough to get this picture.


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