Saturday, April 18, 2009

Warblers and Vireos

What a day! I waited for the rain to stop this morning and started birding the neighborhood at around 9:00. Nearly 5 hours later I stumbled home with 60 species of bird on my notepad, including 5 vireos and 7 warblers. This was the first day I finally saw some of the exciting spring migrants that birders from all over the country travel to the Texas coast to see this time of year.

Walking down Stillforest I ran into several groups of birds, mostly Orange-crowned Warblers, Nashville Warblers, and Ruby-crowned Kinglets. I found 3 Blue-headed Vireos and 1 Summer Tanager as well. Also a few groups of small birds with buzzy flight calls which I assume were Indigo Buntings flew over me. (By the way, even though I have been birding in this neighborhood since 2006, someone who lives at the end of Tottenham Court, a cul-de-sac off Stillforest, still thinks I am up to no good. If you know him, please point him to my blog. Maybe it will convince him that I am not spying on people!)

When I got onto Lake Creek Trail I went into the woods because I heard a family group of Carolina Chickadees. I got this picture of one of the adults.

The woods there were loaded with birds, most of them finding and eating caterpillars off the leaves and bark of the trees. I saw a Warbling Vireo and a Yellow-throated Vireo as well as more Orange-crowned Warblers and Nashville Warblers. And I got this picture of a White-eyed Vireo.

I was most excited to find a single Blue-winged Warbler nearby, a bring yellow and blue warbler that I have only seen twice before in the neighborhood, both times very briefly. It stayed in the low dense brush and I could not get a very good picture of it, but here's the best I ended up with.

I also found a single Yellow-breasted Chat in these woods, the largest bird in the warbler family. On my way home I walked down Sherbourne, fast becoming a new favorite street of mine for birding. I ran into another family group of Carolina Chickadees and this time I found a Red-eyed Vireo with them. And further down the street I found another mixed species foraging flock that had a Black-and-white Warbler and a male Black-throated Green Warbler. I got this picture of the Black-throated Green.

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