Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Cutting Class

John Arvin's prediction for a good grounding on the coast was just too tempting. I left work about an hour early and headed home, changed, and grabbed my gear. I was on site at Quintana Neotropical Bird Sanctuary (QNBS) by 5 pm. That gave me about 2 hours of light.

One of many Scarlet Tanagers at
Quintana Neotropical Bird Sanctuary
Almost right away I could see there were a lot of birds here, mostly Gray Catbirds, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, and tanagers, mostly Scarlet Tanagers. I made the loop through the sanctuary chatting up everyone gauging what birds where here. I found a few warblers like a showy American Redstart, or as I like to call them, the Halloween Warbler. I found a few Eastern Wood-Pewees and Swainson's Thrushes were abundant.

My intelligence gathering revealed there was a Magnolia Warbler around and I started the search for it. I made a couple of loops and found a Chestnut-sided Warbler. Lots of Warbling Vireos too.

Magnolia Warbler, Year Bird 385
I was chatting with a fellow birder there and a yellow and gray warbler popped out of the salt cedars. Target acquired! Magnolia Warbler was Year Bird 385.  I felt better about making the quick trip too.

I had now seen all of the birds reported there so I decided to head over to the Quintana Xerscape Park a few blocks away and see of anything was happening there. When I was there Sunday it was a soggy mess so I put on my rubber boots so I could cover all of the park. One group of salt cedars was packed in with dozens of Dickcissels and I could see more coming in to join them. All seemed to be calling "dick-cis-sel" over and over. All of a sudden they all got quit. I looked up and a Peregrine Falcon cruised overhead. After the falcon was out of sight they started one by one to call again. In my head I heard the conversation amoung them. "Did you see that!" "Wow that was close!"

A Red-eyed Vireo wouldn't give me a good look at first. I tried very hard but could not make it into a Black-whiskered Vireo.

By now I only had about 30 minutes before I had to head home. I head back over to QNBS to see if anything new had dropped in. I made the loop a few more times and found only a Blue-winged Warbler as a new bird for the day. The Chestnut-sided and a couple of American Redstarts showed off at the drip, really too close to photograph.

Coming up this week is the Texas Ornithological Society's (TOS) meeting in Winnie, Texas. I'll be "Crowd Sourcing" my search for something new. There are several expected birds I need, Bobolink, Canada Warbler, and Marbled Godwit are at the top of my list. If you're going to the TOS meeting I'll see you there.

American Redstart or the "Halloween Warbler"

Swainson's Thrush

Gray Catbird

Red-eyed Vireo




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