Saturday, March 14, 2009

Northbound Songbirds

This morning I slept in to nurse a mild cough I picked up last week. But this afternoon I couldn't resist getting out to bird the neighborhood for a couple hours. I walked about a mile and a half on the streets around my house and was excited to see the first major movement of north-bound migrating songbirds I have seen in the area. I ran into 5 large mixed-species foraging flocks while I was out. The first was the largest, and included 3 species I had not seen yet this year in the neighborhood: Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Nashville Warbler, and Black-and-white Warbler. But mostly these flocks were full of 3 common winter resident species that are now preparing to head north. While I was out I estimated that I saw 21 Orange-crowned Warblers, 30 Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and 32 Yellow-rumped Warblers. I managed to get these 2 pictures of a Yellow-rumped Warbler and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

Near Chester Forest and Stillforest, I saw a Red-shouldered Hawk on the nest I observed last year. I assume it was incubating eggs, although it's a little bit early.


Sally Breed said...

That's great!!! I'll have to look for the Black & White Warbler. But I have been seeing the Blue-gray Bnatcatcher in 2 areas over there. 1st a male in Feb. off the trail near the baseball park at the end of Meadowheath. There is a circle of huge rocks just off the cement trail. The 2nd a female, the early part of last week near the parking lot near Effingham.

Mikael Behrens said...

Yes, it's been fun lately. I even saw a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher at work by the 360 bridge today. In my experience these little birds can be very plentiful during migration. That's interesting that you saw one in February. A few winter in the Austin area but I think I've only seen one in the neighborhood during the winter once.

On Sunday I found 2 White-eyed Vireos on Lake Creek Trail, another north-bound migrant.

Sally Breed said...

Sorry, my bad, you were right. After rechecking my notes it was a Blue-head Vireo I saw, not in Feb, but on 1-22-09. So "noooooo" Blue-gray Gnatcatcher in Feb, just the one I saw that you had already seen this month. Shows me I can't rely on my memory over a month (boo, hiss).