Sunday, May 02, 2010

Backyard Bird Fallout

We had a little fallout here yesterday morning, first evidenced by a singing Chestnut-sided Warbler (yard bird #138) in our front yard.  I was alone with the kids so I couldn't spend much time birding or go far from the house, but for a while our yard certainly qualified as a target-rich environment, with Great Crested FlycatcherGray CatbirdTennessee Warbler, Summer Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, and Baltimore Oriole among the neotropical migrants vying for attention.  A Red-headed Woodpecker was a nice bonus. Weather at the time was dismal and drippy, which may have had something to do with the sudden appearance of so many migrants.

Today was very quiet by comparison.  The only birds of interest were a male Common Yellowthroat at the pond and a very distant Common Nighthawk.

Birding around our yard has been good lately.  Here are some additional highlights:

April 28 - A female Wood Duck, a Northern Waterthrush, a Common Yellowthroat, and a Yellow-breasted Chat were at the pond; a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak and male Indigo Bunting were at our feeders; and a Common Nighthawk was seen in the sky off to the southeast.

April 27 - A male Baltimore Oriole was at our hummingbird feeders in the morning, a Yellow-breasted Chat was at the pond in the evening, and Great Crested Flycatcher and Summer Tanager were around our yard at dusk.

April 25 - In the morning a Northern Waterthrush and female Painted Bunting were at the pond, Barn and Cliff Swallows were flying over, and a Great Crested Flycatcher was observed in our front yard.  After looking around the yard I drove to High Island, where my best finds were a Black-billed Cuckoo and male Lazuli Bunting at Smith Oaks.  I then birded the Bolivar Peninsula (Magnificent Frigatebird, shorebirds, etc.), and returned to Smith Oaks in the afternoon, arriving about 5 minutes too late to see the Fork-tailed Flycatcher that had just flown away, never to be seen again.  Despite the one totally egregious miss I managed to get 121 species for the day, including 20 species of warblers.

April 22 - Saw 2 male Indigo Buntings from our kitchen window, heard Common Nighthawk.

April 21 - A male Rose-breasted Grosbeak and male Indigo Bunting were in out front yard, a male Orchard Oriole and male Blue Grosbeak were in our backyard, and a Red-headed Woodpecker was seen flying over a neighbor's yard.

April 19 - A male Rose-breasted Grosbeak and 2 male Baltimore Orioles were in trees near the pond, and a male Baltimore Oriole was subsequently seen in the big live oak by the house.

April 18 - A Yellow-throated Vireo was seen and Summer Tanager heard singing for the first time this spring.  In the evening I spotlighted a Raccoon in our backyard - he seemed unintimidated by my approach, and stayed long enough for Lucy and Bryce to come out and see him before he scampered off.


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