Saturday, May 15, 2010

Spring Winding Down...

Last night we had some muy grande thunderstorms, and power was knocked out. This morning I checked the yard for passerine migrants and was rewarded with a single Red-eyed Vireo.  Not exactly an awesome fallout, but I'll take what I can get.  Migrants have been scarce here lately, with the season winding down and the prevailing southerly winds probably blowing them all clear to Canada.  We still have droves of White-winged Doves and Ruby-throated hummingbirds at our feeders, and I frequently hear Great Crested Flycatcher and Summer Tanager when I'm puttering around the yard.

When I first moved here I planted a couple of little mulberry trees in the backyard.  I had dreams of them growing into towering giants like those at Sabine Woods and High Island, chock full of thrushes and tanagers and grosbeaks, etc.  This hasn't happened yet, and considering their growth rate, my potential life span, and the ever-decreasing numbers of neotropical migrants, I might not live to see that day.  But over the last seven years or so they have grown a bit, and somehow managed to survive two hurricanes.  I bring this up because this spring they are both bearing fruit, and I had a very satisfying moment a couple of days ago, as I watched a bright male Summer Tanager snatching a treat from one of them. So it hasn't all been for naught.

More birding of the accidental sort - on Sunday, May 9th, I was surprised to see an adult Swallow-tailed Kite circling near Rogers Park in Beaumont.  We were there because the park has a playground for the kids, not because it's a magnet for cool raptors.

On the evening of May 10th I saw a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron pass over our backyard, and on the evening of the 11th a male Great-tailed Grackle was spotted flying south (I know, I know - common roadside trash, but birding is all about location, and they are rare within sight of our yard).

I sometimes eat lunch at the Jack-in-the-Box that sits on the corner of MLK and Washington Boulevard in Beaumont.  Visible from the drive-thru window is a row of martin houses in front of a little hardware store. Lots of martins there. We have a martin house on a pole in our backyard.  All we have are House Sparrows.  Maybe the problem is we aren't at a busy urban intersection surrounded by gas stations and fast food...


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