23 April 2010

Shorebird Spectacular...(Bolivar Peninsula, Texas): 23 April

With warblerless woods in the morning for me I opted to head down to the shore and hot Frenchtown Road, which has been the top place for shorebirds over the last week or so. This ended up being my best days shorebirding down there in my three seasons based out of High Island. On arrival a small group of 5 Wilson's Phalaropes preened in among the dowitchers and held our attention until the summer plum Red Knot showed up (that has been faithful here for the last week of more). Sweeping the pool a large shorebird probing the mud proved to be yesterdays Hudsonian Godwit still present, although the three Baird's Sandpipers that nervously joined the pack soon jetted off north. (Perhaps helped along by the menacing Peregrine Falcon that scythed over the pool while we stood alongside).

A brief respite from waders had us scoping a bold Sora walking out onto the open mud, before we decided to check where the hudwit had gone. While hauling up to far end of the pool to check on the godwit we got caught in a rainshower that brought down a flurry of songbirds: 13 Dickcissels stood rain-sprinkled in the grass, before a male Bobolink emerged a short time later. The same magic flock also held a rainbow Painted Bunting, a lone Black-throated Green Warbler (looking completely lost in this near treeless landscape), Blue Grosbeak, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Warbling Vireo and several Indigo Buntings.
Back onto the shorebirds we teased out a pair of White-rumped Sandpipers, watched a frankly tame Clapper Rail bathing mid-pool for a time, (photo) and also found a single Pectoral Sandpipers, and more than 10 Stilt Sandpipers, not to mention a flock of 13 or so Fulvous Whistling Ducks near the lighhtouse.

The afternoon for me ended back on High Island ogling first a gorgeous male Golden-winged Warbler at Smith Oaks, my first this season, and then a flamey male Blackburnian Warbler.

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