High Times at High Island
Bryce finally came home from the hospital on Saturday, and except for a big bandage on his belly he's the same as ever - still playful and full of smiles. No more trips to the emergency room, please. We've had quite enough. Little fellow gave us quite a scare this time.
With large numbers of migrants reported on Saturday, and signs and portents of an impending fallout on the coast, Michelle granted me leave to go birding. It was very kind of her to stay with the kids and let me disappear for a few hours.
As soon as I got out of the car at High Island I began to notice little chippy sounds, an indication that it was going to be a good day. I wouldn't describe the situation as a fallout, but there were plenty of birds to be seen. Of course I heard the inevitable lament, you should have been here yesterday. And naturally a real fallout is predicted for tomorrow, when I will be at work. See - you just can't win.The weather was dismal and drippy at times, and poor lighting made photography difficult. Not that the rain seemed to hamper bird activity at all. Tennessee Warblers were most abundant at the Boy Scout Woods, but once again most of the warblers were at Smith Oaks, probably because there are simply more trees left standing there. Chestnut-sided, Bay-breasted, Magnolia, and Blackburnian Warblers were present in fair numbers. Luck was with me, and along the trails at Smith Oaks I also had a Black-billed Cuckoo (always a treat), a Philadelphia Vireo, and yet another Cerulean Warbler. Wherever there were fruiting mulberries there were lots of catbirds, grosbeaks, tanagers, and orioles. Vireos, on the other hand, were unusually scarce, and flycatchers were virtually absent.
Below is the Philadelphia Vireo at Smith Oaks. It was sharing a little stand of willows with an assortment of warblers, which included Yellow, Tennessee, Chestnut-sided, Black-and-white, Bay-breasted, and Blackburnian. Not too shabby.My year list now stands at 203 species, which seems somewhat less than impressive, particularly when you consider that on April 19th a party of birders managed to get 260 species in Texas in a single day, setting a new national big day record. Now that's birding!