Friday, 18 April 2014

Colourful High Island migration

Just a quick update from here in High Island. Having busted a gut to get here for Tuesday morning, the predicted fall did occur. With thunderstorms and strong northerly winds on the Monday evening, loads of migrants ditched down in High Island and the adjacent Sabine Woods. fresh from their Gulf of Mexico crossing. There were unfortunately tales of people seeing Yellowthroats getting chewed up by waves as they failed to make landfall, but thankfully a lot of birds did make it. And so Tuesday and Wednesday were a bit of an eye dazzler with an array of yellows, blues, reds and greens popping out from all angles.

Close call for best American wood warbler - Blackburnian (above) and Yellow-throated (below)
Tuesday finished with a total of 21 warblers including Canada, Cerulean, Chestnut-sided, Blackburnian, Swainson's and Golden-winged all at Hook Woods, High Island. Along with these mega yanks, there were loads to keep the likes of myself (and a load of f**ktards) happy - Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Summer and Scarlet Tanagers, Red-eyed, Yellow-throated, Warbling and White-eyed Vireos, Wood and Swainson's Thrushes, Indigo and Painted Buntings, Dickcissel and lots of Baltimore and Orchard Orioles too.
Summer time

Yellow-billed Cuckoo in typically lethargic posture
Meanwhile at Sabine Woods yesterday there was a similar composition of birds, with Palm Warbler and Yellow-throated Warblers different to the day before. And for me, as good as the warblers, were a couple of distant Hudsonian Godwits in ricefields near Anahuac during the evening. This was a wader I didn't really expect to see this early in the Spring here in Texas, and was one of just a couple of Nearctic waders I've not seen before (the other still being Bristle-thighed Curlew!).

Palm Warbler
Today, having had some decent views of Bachman's Sparrow, we managed to add Prairie Warbler as warbler species 34 for the trip (as well as having good views of breeding Swainson's Warbler too). Other highlights today included a whacking flock of about 50 Yellow-headed Blackbirds as well as a Barred Owl just before dusk. Just one full day left tomorrow, and unlike a lot of trips, this is one where I could stay out here a while longer. The birds just keep on coming...

Various shades of yellow - Golden-winged Warbler (above) and Prothonotary Warbler (below)

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