11 April 2012

Day of the Swainson's...TEXAS (10 April)

Well, after yesterday's unexpected bumper crop of warblers in High Island, it was hard to know what to expect. I mean after all the weather had suggested nothing out of the ordinary the day before, and actually hinted towards a quiet day with species overflying the woods rather than coming down, and we ended up with a cumulative total of 23 warbler species in the woods. On this day the weather was largely the same but the birds were very different-lower overall numbers (Tennessee Warblers no longer decorated every tree, and Hooded Warblers were no longer inescapable, although both species were still present).

Our morning walk around Houston Audubon's Boy Scout Woods was quite for a while before I kicked up a brown job in front of me, which was far from insignificant when I clapped eyes on its within my bins: a Swainson's Warbler no less. This is one of the most sought-after species in the coastal migrant traps, and easily missed, so we pursued it with vigor, and soon tracked it down feeding alongside an Ovenbird which could both be appreciated within the same binocular view on occasion. The bird continued to perform for the Boy Scout crowd on and off through the day, and it transpired that a number of these furtive warblers were roaming the same lot, making it a good day for those looking to add this to their life lists. Here is Luke Seitz's photo of the very individual that brought joy to many, including me today.

Over lunch down on the shores of the Bolivar Peninsula, the usual suspects were found, although we could not find yesterday's Snowy Plover unfortunately. Highlights did include around a dozen Red Knot though at HAS Bolivar Flats, and Black Tern at Rollover Pass, among a horde of other coastal birds.

After a scout around Houston Audubon's Smith Oaks woods in the afternoon proved what we expected, the woods were largely quiet, bar a few Summer Tanagers and a glowing male Scarlet Tanager, Luke and I headed back down the coast to shoot birds in the late afternoon light, highlights of which are to come...

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