This morning, I was able to visit Kleb Woods, near Tomball, for a couple of hours.
In the first 30 minutes, I saw and heard only a few common birds: Northern Cardinal, Carolina Chickadee, Carolina Wren, Blue Jay, American Crow, Mourning Dove and Northern Mockingbird. As I’ve mentioned before, this seems to be the pattern for me when I start birding early.
As usual, things changed at about 9:00 a.m., when I spotted a group of White-throated and Lincoln’s Sparrows foraging under some bushes. They were joined, but only for a moment, by a Brown Thrasher. Then came one of the highlights of the walk: A Gray Catbird appeared and posed for a moment on a branch, the red under his rump absolutely glowing in the sunlight.
A few yards further on, a Great Blue Heron took flight at my approach and a male Red-bellied Woodpecker vented his outrage from the top of a tree. A Green Heron was more diplomatic and simply hopped up from the edge of a wetland area to the safety of a branch in shadow.
Back in the parking lot, movement in the tree tops caught my attention. Several birds were darting among the branches. When I finally got a good view of one, it had such bold black and yellow markings around its neck and chest that I thought it was a spring warbler. In fact, I soon realized it was a Myrtle form Yellow-rumped Warbler, much more brightly colored than the Yellow-rumpeds that I’m used to seeing.
Not all the birds there were Yellow-rumpeds, though. I caught several glimpses of a Yellow Warbler and then the sight of the day: An Indigo Bunting with its intensely blue plumage.
My final sighting at Kleb was of a Chimney Swift streaking over the parking area.
On my way to work, I drove along Longenbaugh and was amazed to see a group of eight Red-shouldered Hawks circling and swooping at each other right over the road. Quite a sight – although I have no idea whether they were playing or flirting or arguing!
The Yellow Warbler, Indigo Bunting and Chimney Swift take my year total to 169 species.