02 April 2012

The spring has sprung...TEXAS (2 April)

After a decidedly gloomy start, brought about by gray skies followed by prolonged heavy rain, and no birds the day improved markedly for me in High Island. I went for a quick jaunt around Houston Audubon's Boy Scout Woods, pre-lunch, and pre-shorebirding, and found myself eyeballing three different Louisiana Waterthrushes that were new in today. On returning to the entrance I also got news of a Worm-eating Warbler, and so hurried over there with just a few minutes to spare, and managed to squeeze in this dead leaf specialist before lunch.

Lunch was spent birding along the Bolivar Peninsula, with my first of season Black Terns (1 full jet adult, and a non-breeding bird), and two pink-flushed Franklin's Gulls being the clear highlights. The latter always intuitively feel like they should be more common along the Gulf Coast, although as their broad migration pattern largely takes an inland route they are not too numerous and were much appreciated by me. A surprise came on Bob Road, where a winter plumage Common Loon probably reveals just how much water is lying around the peninsula right now.

Back in the woodlots in the afternoon I saw my FOS Blue-winged Warbler sharing a tree with my FOS Tennessee Warbler, and a nuthatching Black-and-white Warbler too. Before long duty called and I was walking the trails in Houston Audubon's Smith Oaks sanctuary for the afternoon bird walk. Sometimes these can be challenging near birdless affairs (if no migrants have arrived in town), although the bird Gods were smiling today, with rarely a dull moment and plenty to fill a notebook. We knew things were looking good when a party of three Black-throated Green Warblers appeared overhead, loosely associating with another Black-and-white Warbler, and a male Northern Parula. A mulberry tree led me to a mulberry-stained Rose-breasted Grosbeak loafing with intent nearby. Things turned even better when a Worm-eating Warbler (my second of the day no less) appeared unusually high in the Oak overhead. This was followed by a crimson male Summer Tanager, a superb pair of Scissor-tailed Flycatchers that lit up my scope, and a pair of Yellow-throated Warblers.

The day finished in traditional High Island fashion with the fly in at the rookery, where Roseate Spoonbills, as ever, were the headline stealers, although a healthy crop of Louisiana Herons (isn't that name so much better than Tricolored?!) were also much appreciated. My day finished, much as the day before, with a Hermit Thrush bathing thoroughly in the Boy Scout drip.

Storms on the way for High Island, and I await with baited breath...


Noushka said...

The Spoonbill is amazing!
Lovely shots!

Lee Dingain said...

Sam, there's a typo on your post. Surely you mean 'grey' skies?