Sunday, November 26, 2006

High Island, Hummingbirds, Impending Parenthood, and a Green Treefrog, Too

Lured by tales of Buff-bellied Hummingbirds and late season warblers I made a dash down to High Island this afternoon. Didn't leave home until about 3pm, so by the time I arrived at the Boy Scout Woods I only had about an hour of good light in which to do some birding.

Most birders visit High Island in spring, when the trees are leafy and (sometimes) full of colorful neotropical migrants. On April weekends it can be hard to find parking, and crowd control becomes an issue. In fall it's a very different situation. Most of the leaves and all of the birders are gone. Even on a weekend you could have the woods entirely to yourself, as I did this afternoon.Boy Scout Woods at High Island...where are all the birders?

The first hummingbird I saw was a Selasphorus type that had staked out a patch of shrimp plant in the northwest corner of the sanctuary (see photo below). As with most of its ilk, it presented a difficult identification problem. Insolveable, really. Utterly hopeless. It's either Rufous or Allen's, but that's the best I can do. Odds are it's a Rufous.Shortly afterward I found the two Buff-bellied Hummingbirds lurking in the thicket just past the review stands. They were chipping constantly, which made locating them easy. Unfortunately they were nervous and camera-shy, and I failed to get a photo. At one point I had both chipping simultaneously to either side of me.

A little further on I had a nice look at an Ovenbird (migratory laggard!) that was in an aggitated snit over all my pishing and crunching around. Other birds...let's see...there was a Brown Creeper, loads of Hermit Thrushes chupping here and there, a few Ruby-crowned Kinglets, an Orange-crowned Warbler, White-throated Sparrow, etc.

While I was finding the birds the mosquitoes were finding me. From the itching I'd say they really liked my hands.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Michelle is on bed rest by doctor's orders. Turns out we aren't having a baby, but babies. Yes, I said babies, as in twins! And I was just getting used to the idea of having one child. The danger of miscarriage is highest during the first trimester, and her doctor wants her to play it safe. So Michelle is off work, and I've taken on the role of faithful manservant - fetch this, tote that, etc. Michelle likes to stay busy, and is not enjoying this period of enforced inactivity. Hopefully she'll be able to go back to work soon.

Chilly as the weather has been it still isn't too cold for little crawlies. Found this Green Treefrog clinging to our front door when I got home. Like geckos they climb walls, doors, and windows where light attracts insects. To get this picture I moved it to a more photogenic perch on a nearby cast iron plant.


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