Thursday, May 01, 2014

So Where Are They?

So where are they? Our migrating songbirds, I mean. I was sure that I’d be posting lots of photos of beautiful warblers and other migrants today. After all, we have entered what is usually the best period for migrants at the college and, as promised by forecasters, we’ve been having northerly winds for several days. However, no migrants have turned up here recently - and it seems that not many have been turning up on the coast either. Looking at the weather down in Mexico, I think I see the problem: It has been rainy with northerly winds on the Yucatan peninsula and so conditions haven’t been favorable for birds to start their flight across the Gulf. Unfortunately, the situation doesn’t look likely to improve until early next week.

In the absence of migrants, I’ve been watching two species of birds that come to nest on the campus each spring: Western Kingbirds and Purple Martins.

I’m not sure how many Kingbirds have returned this year but it must be a lot because it seems I hear their twittering everywhere I go on campus. I haven’t seen any evidence of nest-building yet, though.

As usual, all of the gourds in our Purple Martin apartment complex are occupied by nesting birds. The perches at the top of the complex are often so crowded that it’s difficult for birds to find a perch when they return from flycatching.

As with many bird species, the male Martins are significantly more striking than their female counterparts.

BTW, since I assumed migration would be in full flow this week, I booked a day's vacation for tomorrow. My plan was that Dee and I would spend the day at High Island. However, given the recent lack of birds there, I think we may head to Galveston instead. There may not be any more birds there than at High Island but the island certainly has better food. 

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