Thursday, September 21, 2006

Good Weather For Ducks

Typical Texas weather - last night Michelle and I drove back from Houston with the top down and a sky full of stars overhead. By the time we got home it was turning chilly. This morning the dark clouds moved in, and we took a drenching. Now the clouds are gone and it's humid as hell.

Between sprinkles I did some backyard birding today. At noon I wasted at least an hour staring idiotically at the sky. There was no air traffic. Weather probably kept the raptors grounded. Seemed like all the birds were somewhere else.

Then as I walked up the driveway I had a Red-eyed Vireo. Then another. Then a tree full of them. Don't think I've ever had so many here, not all at once. Must have been 10-20 moving through the trees. And they were part of a larger mixed species association (I think flock would be the wrong word) that included a Yellow-throated Vireo, Carolina Chickadees, Brown-headed Nuthatches, Eastern Bluebirds, Summer Tanagers, a Baltimore Oriole, and a warbler or two. Not bad. We rarely get large waves of passerine migrants in our neighborhood...for a while it reminded me of a good day at High Island. Then the rain came and brought a sudden end to my fun.

The sky cleared, and at about 2pm I took another look around the yard. First bird I saw was a male Wood Duck resting on a log at the back of the pond - the first duck I've ever seen there (that's strange, a pond without ducks). Since I moved here I've had a few unidentified fly-by ducks, but finally I get one for the yard list! I even got a few decent photos. Note that the bird is banded on its right leg.And as if that wasn't good enough, at about 6pm I checked the pond again, and this time found a pair of Eastern Kingbirds - another long awaited addition to the yard list. Yeeeeee-haw!!!


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