Monday, April 23, 2012

The fallout that didn't happen...

This past weekend was set up near perfect for fallout action at High Island, but someone forgot to tell the birds! The storms rolled through the area on Friday. Winds shifted, blowing out of the north and Holly and I were on the coast waiting... and waiting... and waiting. The fallout didn't happen... not Saturday or Sunday. Birders with much more experience that us were left scratching their heads. At the height of migration season, there were undoubtedly high expectations, but this weekend was one of those that hosted more birders than birds. The trip was not a total bust. We landed another 17 species for our flickr stream, including great looks at male Cerulean and Blackburnian Warblers.

Next up is probably one more trip to the UTC in early May, then we shift our focus to SE Arizona where we have an eight-day trip booked and ready.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A little travel update...

We are still squarely fixed on getting back down to High Island this weekend, especially after the excellent reports from down there this week. Hopefully we'll have similar luck Saturday and Sunday. We could actually end up back at High Island on 5-6 May, but that has yet to be determined. We had originally planned on heading to Magee Marsh for the Biggest Week in American Birding, but those plans fell through. 

One place we know we're going is Arizona. We have booked an eight-day tour of SE AZ highlighted by stops in Portal, Sierra Vista, Patagonia Lake SP and Madera Canyon. Big thanks to Steve Gross for his agenda advice. We're flying out of Houston the evening of 18 May and returning home on the 27th. If you are in SE Arizona and have any tips on 'can't miss' birding locations, be sure and let us know! We'd love to meet up with some locals and get the latest skinny on birds in the area.

Our schedule after that is still in flux, but we're eying a few future destinations. We'll be sure to let you know our whereabouts as we continue on our photo quest!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

An ill wind a-blowin'

Strong southerly winds. Not something the avid birder trying to get a peek at migrating birds from the vantage of High Island, Texas, wants to battle... but there we were this Saturday. Winds whipping 20-25 miles per hour out of the south were not uncommon. A lot of migrants likely used that strong tailwind to zip right past Boy Scout Woods. We did have a few drop in... Worm-eating Warbler, Blue-winged Warbler, Kentucky Warbler, etc... but overall the morning was very slow. 

We took the noon shorebird tour with greater hopes, but the wind and high tides may it tough on both man and beast. Again, we did manage a few new additions to the list... mostly terns and plovers. 

After a quick pit stop at the Smith Oaks rookery we returned to Boy Scout Woods, where stories of a busy afternoon the previous day had us hopeful. While the wind was still a factor, the action did pick up a bit in the PM hours with visits from a Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Painted Bunting and a few others. Overall we added 17 new birds to the flickr stream... a little disappointing, but not to shabby. We return to High Island for both days next weekend and are hoping the Mother Nature gives us break.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Concan-Junction Express...

I'll make this short. We landed 19 new species for the photostream on our little Easter trip to the Hill Country... that includes endangered specialties Golden-cheeked Warbler and Black-capped Vireo. We hooked up with Bob Rasa at Neal's Lodge who skillfully got us great looks at GCWA and the visiting Tropical Parula. We also scored a Hutton's Vireo, Black-throated Sparrow and Rufous-crowned Sparrow at Neal's. 

In Junction, Rhandy Helton directed us to the Lewis's Woodpecker near the rodeo grounds. There, we met up with Steve Gross, who we birded with the next morning. Rhandy also led us to a cooperative BCVI on Easter Pageant Hill.
We ended the weekend at Warbler Woods near San Antonio. We scored a Nashville Warbler and Blue-headed Vireo there. 
Much thanks to everyone that helped make the Hill Country trip a big success! Next up... High Island and the thick of spring migration!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Easter in the Hill Country

We're going to spend the extended Easter weekend with Kerrville, TX as home base in order to fan out and get a couple of central Texas specialities... specifically the Golden-cheeked Warbler and Black-capped Vireo. We plan on heading to Neal's Lodge on Friday morning to hitch up with Bob Rasa and his morning walk. Time permitting, we might look to close the day at Lost Maples State Natural Area. Also on the agenda for the weekend is the hour drive north-west to Junction to see if the Lewis's Woodpecker is still about. 
So far our Sunday is open, but if things keep turning up at Packery Channel near Corpus Christi, we may just make a bee-line for the coast early in the morning to pick up the Surfbird and any other migrants that might be passing through. Stay tuned...