04 April 2012

A tern for the worse...TEXAS (3 April)

With all the talk of fronts, tornadoes, and the resulting "fallout" along the Gulf Coast, today in High Island was one of the worst teases in history. This was arguably the quietest day in the woods I have ever known there! After four hours of daylight we had yet to see a single warbler, with the collective effort of all visiting birders yielding one species in total! The only bright spot was provided when Scott and I ventured to Highway 1985, before the warbler walk, and found a couple of Buff-breasted Sandpipers, sharing the only flooded field in the area with masses of Pectoral Sandpipers, and a handful of American Golden Plovers. Unfortunately though when we returned at lunchtime with a group of eager Buff-breast "hunters" there was no sign of them. It was just that kind of day!

The afternoon Houston Audubon walk around Smith Oaks on High Island started off equally dull and we feared the worst. By 4.30pm we were noting that we had still to produce a single warbler on the walks. However, Scott squeezed a Northern Parula out of one of the Oaks, and soon after Black-and-white Warbler and Yellow-rumped Warbler followed. OK so we had not broken any records, with just four individual warblers, but we had broken our duck and at least we were not walking home, tail between legs with no warblers at all! Best sighting of the afternoon though was a challenging kingbird, either Couch's/Tropical Kingbird, which shared a mulberry with a gaudy male Baltimore Oriole. On balance structurally it was edging the way of Couch's. Sadly the bird refused to call, and so left itself with the tag "probable".

The photo above is a non-breeding Forster's Tern from the coast the other day - no photos today as you might have guessed, so I had dip into the archive!

Let's hope for more out of this migrant hotspot tomorrow...

1 comment:

KaHolly said...

I am so envious, birds or no birds. I've always wanted to be at High Island for migration. And I'm oh, so close - New Braunfels!! Good luck!