03 May 2010

Warbler Fallout...(High Island, Texas): 2 May

With the lackluster performance of Boy Scout Woods in the morning it was hard to see what came in the afternoon. The skies may have been deep blue, and the the wind light, but it was coming out of the north, and at this time of year the huge volume of migrants moving through this section of the Upper Texas Coast put us in good stead for a final flourish for the spring during our last official day in High Island.

A steady flow of birds dropping into the drip by the Grandstand encouraged me to check the photo blind as there were a few spaces available. I intended to pop in for 10 minutes, but stayed an hour. The action was non-stop, frenetic, gripping and unmissable. I sat glued as warbler after warbler fought for a place at the drips, birds literally lining up alongside to get a space! It was not just warblers though as Baltimore Orioles, Gray Catbirds, Indigo Buntings, Painted Buntings, Orchard Orioles, and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks also hung around too. In all more than 20 species of birds visited, including a mindblowing 14 species of warbler! Best among the warblers were Magnolia, Golden-winged, Blackburnian, and even a furtive female Mourning Warbler that refused to actually get wet. The main pulse of warblers though was dominated initially by Yellow Warblers and Chestnut-sided early on, switching to a flurry of American Redstarts when I returned just before dusk. It was not just about diversity though, as the numbers of birds was remarkable too, with scenes of 5 different American Redstarts flicking nervously around the drips, while Chestnut-sided and Magnolia Warblers looked on not uncommon! An awesome last afternoon at this very special spot for migration.

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