Wednesday, April 14, 2010

High Island, TX April 2010

I just got back from a quick weekend on the Texas coast. This trip wasn't as successful as last year, but I did manage to snag 128 species of birds, get my first-ever photos of King Rail and Least Bittern and have a great time.

The songbirds appear to be around two weeks late leaving Mexico. Evidently, there was a cold front that reached to the Yucutan, and that was why the numbers weren't there. Additionally, the mulberries were mostly still green, accounting for surprising misses on Rose-breasted Grosbeak and Baltimore Oriole.

Some good birds were seen, however. Prothonotary Warblers were fairly numerous, and in addition to scads of Yellow-rumped "Myrtles", I saw several Swainson's, Worm-eating, Orange-crowned, Northern Parula, Hooded, Louisiana Waterthrush and Palm Warblers. (Three of those are pictured above!) Vireos included Yellow-throated, White-eyed, Warbling, Red-eyed and Blue-headed. Scarlet and Summer Tanagers were both numerous, as were Indigo Buntings. Others saw Painted Buntings as well. Mostly, the warblers were low in both number and variety (no Nashville, American Redstart, Chestnut-sided or several other "common" warblers had been seen yet this year as of 4/11).

The waders and shorebirds were as good as last year. Least Terns were numerous, although oddly there were very few Brown Pelicans on the Bolivar Peninsula (that I could see, anyway). My group missed the Yellow and Black Rail at Anahuac NWR, but they had been seen earlier in the day. Our compensation: Least Bittern, American Bittern, King Rail, Clapper Rail, Sora, Seaside Sparrow and Mottled Duck. In reality, Least Bittern was the treat. Sadly, the light was very poor for a photo. But as my first-ever photo of this bird, it's acceptable...

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