Sunday, March 29, 2015

Cut Short

The Texas birding community seems to be holding its breath waiting for the big push of migrants to start. Nothing rare reported around the state this week and while reports from the coast were slim I decided to hit the coast and do my usual Upper Texas Coast thing.

I started out at Cedar Hill Park in Chambers County. This not heavily birded park is usually good to me. Since it would be new year bird I was hoping for a Prothonotary warbler.  As soon as I get out of the car I hear a Northen Parula singing up a storm on territory. At least four Red-bellied Woodpeckers are also calling around me.

I quickly located a three note call,  "Rheet Rheet Rheet" That sounded completely unfamiliar to me. It was loud and close and I was quickly able to locate it. I was surprised that it was a Tufted Titmouse! This was clearly a territorial declaring call and nothing like the classic "Peter Peter Peter" call. A while back I got a small inexpensive microphone for just such an occasion for my iPhone, a Shenggu SG-108. It's not a fancy microphone but it adds a bit of reach to an iPhone's recording capability. I dug it out of my pack and was able to get decent recording. Later checking the archive site Xeno-Canto.org I did found a recording from Wisconsin that sounded similar.  Check out the recording of this bird:


While checking the lake shore for the Prothonotary Warbler I came there for I did hear the "chek chek" call of a bird I hadn't expected to get this late, Winter Wren for Year Bird 312. I also heard and saw another Tufted Titmouse doing the weird "Rheet Rheet Rheet" call.

No luck on the Prothonotary so I decided to continue my search. for migrants and headed for Anahuac NWR. As soon as I got the cart started I had a low tire pressure warning. Dang it, 10 day old brand new tires too! I assumed at that point that it might have been a mounting problem and I found a gas station with the rarest thing in Texas - Free Air! Aired up I continued on my way.

Right outside of Anhuac NWR I has my first of season Scissor-tailed Flycatcher fly across the road for Year Bird 313. Almost immediately a pair of Upland Sandpipers followed for Year Bird 314.

My plan was to see what I could dig out Anahuac NWR, then head for High Island and at least get my season patch. I birded about 2 hours there and when I got back in the car, oh no! the tire pressure warning was on again. This time I looked and sure enough, I found a big nail in the tire.

I figured I better play it safe and limped back home and right to the tire place to get it repaired. My day ended up getting cut short by a couple of hours, but there is next week always!

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