Sunday, April 18, 2010

Cold Wind and More Migrants

I spent about 4 hours birding the neighborhood this morning. Pretty early on, a cold north wind kicked up that made me wish I had worn more than a t-shirt. But finding 60 species of birds distracted me from being cold. As soon as I left the house I heard a House Wren and a Swainson's Thrush singing in my backyard. I saw several more Swainson's Thrushes this morning and these were the first I've seen this year. It's a bird that I only ever see in Texas during Spring and Fall migration. And I was very happy to hear this one and a few others singing. They have particularly pretty songs which have a strange fluting quality and combine 2 tones at once. I got this picture of one on Meadowheath.

There were lots of migrating hawks flying over our neighborhood today. I counted 47 Swainson's Hawks that I saw in 3 different kettles, with a few Broad-winged Hawks mixed in with them. These 2 species of hawks are 2 of the only ones that migrate in large flocks. Every spring down on the Texas coast some hawk watch sites see single flocks of Broad-winged Hawks that number in the thousands. Here's a photo I got of one of the kettles of Swainson's Hawks.

And here's a single Broad-winged Hawk that was flying low over Lake Creek Trail near the footbridge.

Another first for the year was a single female Summer Tanager that I found near the downstream edge of the Town and Country Playing Fields. I was standing by the creek and it flew across from the other side and briefly perched in a tree right next to me. I got this photo.


ConsciousGardener said...

Nice photo of the Tanager! I love the way she's cocking her head!

Mikael Behrens said...

Thanks! It didn't hang around very long and I only got 3 or 4 shots. I'm glad one was in focus!