Bird Notes from West Houston

Monday, April 24, 2006

Great Day Birding!

Glenn and I went birding on Sunday, 4/23. I've been telling him about my property in Chambers County, so he came over to see it. The birds just didn't cooperate with us. We did see a few pretty good migrants: Wood Thrush, Black-throated Green Warblers, Blue Grosbeak, a female Hooded Warbler, Indigo Buntings and the resident Northern Parula. We decided to run to High Island and see what was going on down there. We got to Boy Scout Woods just before 5:00 and before we got ten feet inside the gate, we had seen a Blackburnian Warbler, Yellow-throated Vireo, Blackpoll Warbler, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Scarlet Tanagers, Yellow Warblers and Baltimore Orioles. We made out way to the stands and there was quite a bit of activity around the water. There were Gray Catbirds, a Worm-eating Warbler, Scarlet Tanagers, a Kentucky Warbler, Indigo Buntings, Yellow Warblers and a Northern Waterthrush. We made a quick walk around the boardwalk and into the woods where I found a female American Redstart. Daylight was getting in short supply so we decided to go to Smith Oaks and brave the mosquitoes. We started off in the woods where we saw many of the same birds as Boy Scout Woods, but added a Gray-cheeked Thrush, Tennessee Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler and Orchard Oriole. The rookery was very active. We saw very clearly a Great Egret feeding three chicks. We also got to see alligators waiting below for the chance to grab a careless chick that might fall out of the nest. One of the more interesting things we saw was a turtle (I'm not sure what species) laying eggs on the levee at the rookery. On the way back, there was just enough light to see a Pileated Woodpecker fly across Hwy. 61 just south of Anahuac. In all, we counted 30 species at Boy Scout Woods, 40 species at Smith Oaks, 23 species on my property and 8 species driving to and from High Island.

This week and next week are the peak weeks for migration here. There are more species and higher numbers of each species, so this is a great time to get out and go birding! Wednesday looks especially promising with a cool front forecast to go offshore with rain accompanying it. Glad I'm off!

- Paul

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