Sunday, April 18, 2010
Back at High Island
Yesterday was mostly about driving in an effort to track down 4 key birds on the upper Texas coast. I had no success with any of the four, but I did see 43 new birds for this week. This was only the second day so far this year when I have birded that I did not get a new bird for the year.
Today however made up for that short fall. It started slowly with some rain while I drove around looking for rice fields in hopes of finding buff-breasted sandpipers. I thought I had some on sod fields, but they spooked and flew away before I could make a positive ID. I finally drove by a rice field near Attwater Prairie Chicken NWR where in the past I had seen this bird, and sure enough I found a group of about 30. I spent some time checking out this new year bird with my scope before heading towards Houston.
I hit a torrential thunderstorm as I was coming into Houston, but checked the rare bird alert to find that High Island finally was having a major birding day with more than 20 species of warblers leading the show. I made it to High Island by 1:30 PM to join in on the birding fun. Since today is Sunday, there were lots of birders enjoying the number and diversity of birds. The top photo is of one of my favorite warblers, an american redstart. The second is of a baltimore oriole.
I ran into an Englishman that I had seen earlier at High Island and also at South Padre Island. He was supposed to have flown home yesterday, but the Iceland volcano has grounded him in the States for another week. Hopefully the spring migration will now pick up and keep him happy.
By the end of today 15 new year birds were seen, 5 of which were warblers (blackburnian, blackpoll, prothonotary, worm-eating and northern waterthrush). I saw a total of 18 warbler species in 4 hours of birding. This is not close to my 1 day record of 24, but it is quite good for only 4 hours of time in the field. A total of 52 new birds were added to the week's total which is now up to 120. For the other 9 new year birds, check the year running total list on the right hand side of the blog. The YTD number is now at 487. Tomorrow I will be out all day taking in the migration, and looking particularly for hudsonian godwits. Stay tuned!