Spring 2011 Wrap-Up
Just a typical scene at Cattail Marsh (the shorebirds in front of the Roseate Spoonbills are White-rumped Sandpipers).
Not that there hasn't been some interesting activity. Flocks of White-winged Doves continue to frequent our feeders, and up to 4 Green Herons have been prowling the pond, which is in the process of drying up (in case you haven't heard, Texas is in the midst of a serious drought). Brown Thrashers nested in the honeysuckle behind our house, in exactly the same spot where Northern Cardinals successfully nested in 2007. The thrashers were also successful, as evidenced by subsequent sightings of at least one stubby-tailed fledgling (a sibling was found dead, hanging in the vines beneath the nest). Mississippi Kites have been continuously present around our yard, and I suspect they are also nesting somewhere nearby. A Great Horned Owl heard hooting just before midnight on May 17th represents only the second record for our yard.
After March I didn't get out again until May 7th, when I took the kids to Anahuac N.W.R. for the grand opening of the new visitor center - or so the Beaumont Enterprise would have had us believe. When we got there we found the building still under construction - announcement of the gala was apparently premature. Anyway, the trip wasn't a complete waste. Scanning flooded fields along the entrance road I found a flock of 4 Hudsonian Godwits. The few remaining wet places along the Shoveler Pond loop produced several species of sandpipers (including 1 White-rumped), as well as this King Rail.
On 22 May I went back, and spent a few hours covering the area on foot. In addition to the aforementioned whistling-ducks, waders, and gallinules, highlights included 3 Least Bitterns, 2 Soras, a Swainson's Hawk, about 200 White-rumped Sandpipers, lesser numbers of Stilt and Pectoral Sandpipers, several Wilson's Phalaropes, 2 Least Terns, 5 Black Terns, and a male Painted Bunting. Most of the gallinules were shy and flew at my approach, but not this one: