Monday, April 18, 2011

Back to High Island

When we got back to Boy Scout Woods, we found that migrants had indeed arrived en masse and there seemed to be birds everywhere. Since the benches at the drip were even more crowded with birders than before, we spent the next two hours walking the paths, stopping whenever we saw bird activity.

Indigo Buntings were abundant, with some males in full indigo plumage and others still showing mottling on their breasts.


Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Summer Tanagers and Scarlet Tanagers added touches of red to the scene.
 Scarlet Tanager
So, too, did Painted Buntings, although they tended to stay in the shade, which hid their other colors.

Baltimore and Orchard Orioles added yellow or orange, depending on whether the birds were female or male.
 Orchard Oriole
Less colorful but no less plentiful or active were Blue-headed and Red-eyed Vireos and Eastern Kingbirds.

Red-eyed Vireo
Eastern Kingbird


But, of course, the main reason people go to High Island is to see warblers.

Our first warbler sighting of the afternoon came when we bumped into Nick and Scott (our shorebird guides), who pointed out a Swainson's Warbler.

We then spent a lot of time watching several Blackburnian Warblers, to my mind the most beautiful of all warblers - and it seems always one of the most difficult to photograph!

After straining our necks to watch the Blackburnians and a couple of Black-and-whites, we were relieved to run into a group of Black-throated Green Warblers that stayed mainly at eye-level.

It's easy to see how the Black-throated Green Warbler gets its name.

On to Galveston

By 4:30 we were both feeling birded out and so we decided to head to our motel on Galveston. We stopped along the way at the Barn Owl box on Retillon Road but didn't manage to see the owl. At the Bolivar ferry landing we also struck out when we looked for the Long-tailed Duck (formerly Oldsquaw) that has been hanging out there. So we had to make do at the landing and on the ferry ride with the usual Laughing Gulls and Double-crested Cormorants.


So, it had been an excellent birding day and we still had Saturday morning at Lafitte's Cove to look forward to before we would have to head home.


Dave said...

Great post Jeff.

The images in the first half of the post reminded me of the recent trip to Malaysia when I spent alot of the time staring high up into the canopy looking at the under bellies of birds and thinking how long before I get severe neck ache.... I see some of the Warblers were far more considerate and look to be at eye

Jeff said...

"Warbler neck" is a condition that a lot of people suffer from in our area in the spring, Dave!