Saturday, April 24, 2010

Dauphin Island AL, April 2010

At High Island, someone I ran into recommended Dauphin Island as a great place to see migrants at this time of year (mid-April). So I decided if I'm going to fly all the way to the Gulf, I may as well check it out. So after a more-or-less two hour flight from Harlingen to Mobile, I rented a car and headed south for about an hour to Dauphin Island. Fortunately, there was a motel there which was very nice and right on the water by a park. Although it was dark when I arrived, the next morning I was up at daybreak and immediately found Red-headed Woodpeckers one block away!

Red-headed Woodpecker

Then I headed to the bird sanctuary where I found many more Red-headed Woodpeckers, along with Downy and Red-bellied. Cardinals were singing enthusiastically, as were Brown Thrashers Common Grackles, Gray Catbirds and Mockingbirds. I also stumbled upon a Chuck-wills-widow on the trail!


On the migrant front, most birds were Red-eyed Vireos. I found 13 species of warblers in total: Northern Waterthrush, Hooded, Prothonotary, Kentucky, Worm-eating, Black-and-White, Black-throated Green, Blue-winged, Tennessee, Orange-crowned, Yellow-rumped, Common Yellowthroat and Ovenbird.

Prothonotary Warbler

No orioles, but one Rose-breasted Grosbeak, one Painted Bunting, several Indigo Buntings and several Blue Grosbeaks. A nice Great Horned Owl greeted me in the afternoon, in direct sunlight and wide awake! Unfortunately, my camera falsely reported that the battery was dead, so I missed that shot!

Northern Cardinal

Common Grackle

Brown Thrasher

Red-bellied Woodpecker

On day two, I birded the island a bit more. Semipalmated Sandpipers and Plovers were in a small wetlands area along with Dunlin, Willet and Reddish Egret. Not finding much else at the sanctuar (Black-throated Green and Blue-winged Warblers), I took the ferry across to Bon Secour NWR. There I found some Sandwich Terns, American Avocets, and in the pine woodlands a Pileated Woodpecker, Brown-headed Nuthatches, Eastern Towhees and an Eastern Bluebird. All in all, I got 103 species of birds for my Alabama state list in only two days, and the weather and scenery were stunning. It was a great trip!

Eastern Bluebird

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