Sunday, April 18, 2010

It's Quiet...Too Quiet

The clear skies and prevalence of south winds has not been good for the birding here.  I can't speak for the coastal hotspots, but today was awfully quiet on the home front.  While tending to the garden I heard a vireo singing (probably Yellow-throated - some of them sound very alike to my ears), but otherwise there was nothing new.  The only warblers I saw today were Yellow-rumped.  Haven't had any Orchard Orioles here yet, and where are the Summer Tanagers?  They should have returned to our neighborhood by now.   

Recently I've noticed an interesting phenomenon involving Tree Swallows.  In the evening I regularly see them streaming southward past our home, often in substantial numbers.  A few days ago I observed hundreds and hundreds of them flying south over Beaumont at dusk (the location was a few miles directly south of our home).  I'm guesstulating - a new word I just coined  - that there must be a big roost site somewhere in the Beaumont area that they are returning to each evening. 

Several times in the last week I've seen White-winged Doves in our front yard.  This would have been very unusual prior to last summer, when they first started visiting our feeders.  Mourning Doves, House Sparrows, and House Finches have also noticeably increased in the last year or so, while some of our woodland birds seem to have decreased.  Our neighborhood has lost a lot of trees due to the hurricances, and I think this may have caused some changes in our local bird population, which has become more suburban in character.  Still waiting for our first Eurasian Collared-Dove...


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