Sunday, 15 May 2022

Texas 22 - Day 15

Tuesday April 25th was...FALL DAY!!! A day I'd hoped to experience again on this Trip had finally arrived. I'd had a few Good Days already BUT this was the one...and I was SO close.

I returned to Corps Woods (a 10 minute drive) and was "in situ"by 7.30am. A couple of Birders had beaten me to it and one, who was already leaving for work, informed me he'd had 3 Ovenbirds on the northern path! It soon became apparent the place was "hopping" as they say over there. 

The next few hours were special and flew by (excuse the pun). There was no lull, just constant activity and excitement as Birds appeared and disappeared amongst the foliage. As you can imagine some species aren't much of an identification challenge as they are so unique in their plumage characteristics. Some are breathtakingly beautiful and obvious, while others can be far more subtle e,g Thrushes.
55 species seen in 4.5 hours. ALL at low level and close quarters. Perfect!!!

Some highlights...

My one and only Yellow-billed Cuckoo...

There and gone in 5 seconds...a precious capture. One of my sharper moments!

Again my one and only Cerulean Warbler. One of the scarcer Warblers. VERY pleased to re-find this bird albiet briefly...

An Azure Jewel

Speaking of Jewels...

Blackburnian Warbler

As you can imagine...another much sought after species.

***Probably as good a time as any to re-iterate my attitude to Birding Abroad. I can't say I would never try pastures new BUT Birding the ABA fulfils my every need. The Birds MEAN something to me and I see them at their BEST. Although I have been known to travel quite some distance to see the odd bedraggled Autumn Migrant in Britain on occasion, the FULL MONTY is FAR better. Everyone has their own parameters...and these are mine. As Paul Newman once said..."Why have a McDonald's when you can have Fillet Steak". I think he was referring to something else...but no matter! lol!!***

So there!

11 species of Warbler seen...
Black and White (4)
Tennessee (4)
American Redstart (4)
Cerulean (2)
Magnolia (2)
Blackburnian (2)
Chestnut-sided (3)

4 species of Thrush including Veery...

...and Swainson's...

Can't complain.

After lunch we headed back down the Island to Settegast Road. Yet another try for Bobolink (I'm a trier)...yet another negative.  However, there was a significant sighting here. As we started to leave the area we drove over a narrow channel of water. There on the wire was a common (I didn't see that many actually) yet spectacular bird...

Belted Kingfisher - everything's BIGGER in Texas

A slightly better view than at Preston!

I also saw...

Northern Harrier
Orchard and Baltimore Orioles
Summer Tanager

I decided not to linger at Lafitte's Cove, which was a debatable decision as birds were definitely lingering? Can't get 'em all right. Instead, we headed down to San Luis Pass for some space. It's a great spot with extensive views at the West End of the Island. Louise enjoyed it...

Another dancing Reddish Egret (wf) in the background

...and a lone Laughing Gull kept vigil..

...the visit brought back great memories of finding an ABA MEGA here on November 28th 2017...

Tamaulipas Crow

Just thought I'd drop that in!

Our final stop for the day was at "2 Dead Cows"...better known as Dos Vacas Muertas. I chose this Site because, as previously stated, it's low level and uncrowded. Also the sun being in the West, gives superb late afternoon light from the track.We arrived at 4 and in the next 2 hours I saw 44 species, some in large numbers. The most numerous species was Grey Catbird, they were everywhere, on one occasion I counted 6 in one bush! Visible Migration.

Freshly Bathed

There was a light bulb moment that Louise even found fascinating!...

a glowing Scarlet Tanager

The photo doesn't really illustrate how bright this bird was in the greenery. It WAS like a light bulb!

Three Vireo species turned up...


species of Warbler including a lovely diminutive Yellow...

However, the undoubted star of this particular show was the Bay-breasted. It's a late migrant and it took quite a few Years for me to add it to my Texas/ABA Lists, entirely due to my "Easter window fortnight" when I was teaching. All previous views were distant and high in tall trees. Today all this changed. I decided to wait outside the actual reserve on the track, with the sun at my back.

Constant action ensued before the Star of the show emerged...and stole it completely...

First Glimpse



To finish...I took these two pics 7 seconds apart...

A more relaxed bird enabling me to get my dream pics of this beautiful species. The perfect end to a sensational day...

No comments: