Sabine Woods, Shangri La Botanical Gardens, & more Backyard Birding
Time to get caught up on recent bird stuff.
Our Mississippi Kites were last seen on August 7. As I noted in my last blog entry, on that day they were unusually active. Their restless behavior was probably a preparation for migration, because the next day they were gone. Date of departure, August 8.
Texas has been extremely hot and dry all summer. Through the month of August we continued to receive very little rain, and daytime temperatures seldom dipped below the upper 90s. Even so, compared to other parts of the state, Southeast Texas has been fortunate. At least we've had some rain - enough to keep most of the vegetation alive, and the landscape more or less green. I recently drove to Houston, where they haven't been so lucky. There the grass has turned yellow, and many of the trees appeared to be dying.
Despite the heat I spent a few hours in the late morning/early afternoon of August 28 walking around Sabine Woods. Only saw three other birders, but the place was loaded with migrants, particularly large numbers of empids (mostly "Traill's" types and Leasts), Great Crested Flycatchers, Eastern Wood-Pewees, and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. Warblers included numerous Yellow, 1 Prairie, 2-3 Black-and-white, 1 Prothonotary, 1-2 Worm-eating, 10+ Mourning, 10+ Canada, 1 Hooded, 1 Wilson's, 1 American Redstart, 1 Ovenbird, and several Yellow-breasted Chats (if with the recent taxonomic changes that can still be counted as a warbler). Also saw 1-2 Chuck-Will's-Widows, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, 1 Olive-sided Flycatcher, 1 Blue Grosbeak, and Baltimore and Orchard Orioles. Deer flies were pesky in spots, but with the dry conditions the mosquitoes were not so bad. Here's a photo of a Great Crested Flycatcher taken that day: