Thursday, September 14, 2006

New Yard Bird! And It's a Big One!

Yesterday evening I spent some time watching the sky over my backyard. Lately I've been preoccupied with work on the house, and this is the first time I've lifted binoculars in quite a while. The reward was a flock of 4 White Ibis, a species I seldom see here. Sunset is a good time to watch for wading birds flying to roost. I've noticed that most are travelling from west to east. Also saw a Northern Parula in a neighbor's yard and heard a Common Nighthawk at dusk.

This morning I was scanning for raptors and had a brief tantalizing view of 2-3 large birds soaring above the trees to the north of the pond. They were probably Wood Storks, but I couldn't be certain. I continued scanning the horizon, hoping they would reappear. Then at about 10:30am I had an unmistakable pair of Wood Storks flying east right over my backyard! Too cool! A few minutes later I again saw a trio of them soaring in the distance. Went back inside, but was outside again at about 11:15am, just in time to catch the showstopper - a flock of 70+ Wood Storks moving westward amid a steady stream of Broad-winged Hawks!

Wood Stork is uncommon in Southeast Texas and a welcome addition to the yard list. Other birds seen here this morning included Black and Turkey Vultures, a Red-shouldered Hawk (among the Broad-wings), and an Eastern Wood-Pewee. Our flowers and feeders have been attracting swarms of butterflies and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. All that hard work in the garden finally paying off...


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