Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Tuesday Birds As Usual, Mosquito Rampage

Neotropical migration seems to be more or less over at this point. Had one of those large mixed species assemblages here this afternoon. For a while little birds were flitting this way and that, but all the ones I saw were winterers and residents. The majority were Yellow-rumps. A few Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers also appeared to be associating with this "flock." It's been a good fall for sapsuckers, with more of them around the yard than in past years. There are also ungodly numbers of squirrels everywhere, so we could use some raptor assistance. Pipa chases them but lacks skills.

I had a female-type hummingbird buzz by, and got a decent look, not that it helped much. Wasn't a Selasphorus. Could have been a Ruby-throated or Black-chinned or even a Costa's, I dunno. I'm hoping we get more wintering hummers this year. Might try adding more feeders and flowering shrubs. If we get enough birds I might actually be able to identify one or two of them.

The flooding has subsided, but all that standing water has caused a mosquito population explosion across Southeast Texas. When I first moved here I was a bit apprehensive about the mosquitos, because I knew how bad they can be at some of the prime birding sites nearby (like High Island). Fortunately we don't usually have a mosquito problem here - which seems odd, considering that we live on the edge of a swamp. Last time they became a major nuisance was in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Rita. Since the recent deluge we've again had to deal with bitey swarms. If they are this numerous here they must be absolutely nightmarish in wet coastal areas. Places like Sabine Woods and High Island are probably best avoided at this time. Lately I've noticed fewer reports from birders visiting the Upper Texas Coast, probably in part due to the mosquito factor.

In other news...I've been transferred to a store in Beaumont and now my job truly sucks (not that it was ever so dreamy to begin with). I'm seriously intent on finding employment elsewhere, but the local job market is a bit limited and it might take a while. Work on the bathroom is almost completed. Tiling the shower and vanity should be finished soon, assuming no further delays. Next big project is remodeling the kitchen/dining room, but we're not quite ready to start on that one yet.


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