Thursday, April 22, 2010
End of 16th Week
Another Thursday has come and almost gone. I am back in Florida and will be here for more than a week. I am here mainly to visit the Dry Tortugas next week, and to pick up a few birds elsewhere that I still need. But I am ahead of myself.
On Wednesday I was up and out birding at High Island by 7 AM. I met the English birder one more time since we have enjoyed birding together. It is always a treat to find a birder who is really on top of his/her game; a birder who understands some of the keys to successful birdwatching like form, shape and movement is often more important than color. For example, yesterday we were studying a small group of shorebirds at a wet area in Crystal Beach. One bird stood out as being different from all the others because of its coloration, shape, size and eating movement. But it also did not match the characteristics immediately of the bird we finally realized that it was--a baird's sandpiper. It was the right size, it had black legs and its eating motion and posture were right, but its color and its bill were a bit off the norm, thus causing some initial doubt.
Overall the birding was still good yesterday, and I got the shots above of the black-necked stilts (top) and the fulvous whistling-ducks. I had to leave mid afternoon to start driving over to Florida. And today was pretty much all about driving with the exception of a short stop at Ft. Pickens, Fl to see the beautiful white sand beaches and the old fort. So the last 2 days generated no new birds for the year, but there were 10 new birds for the week, bringing the total to a personal weekly best of 185.
As for my time in Texas the past 3 weeks, I feel very good about the results. Over 250 different species were seen. Almost all of the "target" birds were found. The trip out to Big Bend and the time at High Island were especially good. The potentially seeable but missed birds were white-rumped sandpiper, tamaulipas crow, groove-billed ani, and hook-billed kite. The sandpiper I will have more chances at over the next few weeks. The other 3 can only be found in "the valley" which may warrant a brief return trip this summer.
So there is no change to the YTD total of 497 birds, but the travel map has been updated. Tomorrow I will be back at Hernando Beach here in Florida to track down a budgerigar. Stay tuned!