Monday, August 24, 2015

Striking Out

I had some time Sunday afternoon and checking Birdseye I saw two target species I needed had been reported at Sabine Woods in Jefferson County. I finished up some chores around the house and headed out getting to Sabine Woods at about 3:30 pm.

The woods were deserted. No people at all, no flies, and no mosquitoes! It was just me, the rabbits and the armadillos. The armadillos seemed to be everywhere, rooting around in the leaf litter like some miniature dinosaurs and for the most part ignored me.

Olive-sided Flycatcher
Sabine Woods
Almost right away I found an Olive-sided Flycatcher. Rounding the first corner of the trail I found four Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. I had many Gnatcatchers this day. A larger bird in the in the flock caught my eye, a female American Redstart, my best "eBird" bird of the day.

At the drip I saw a streak of yellow that turned out to be a brilliant Yellow Warbler. A larger bird moved through the willows, a Yellow-billed Cuckoo.

All day long Great-tailed Grackles moved like black clad ninjas through the trees stalking the plague of cicadas, I would see a black flash like a swift moving shadow dart forward. A cicada would scream but it would be cut short. I don't think I heard a peep from any grackle all day.

My most hoped for target was an Eastern Whip-poor-will that was found the day before. I checked all the pines trees in the area where it was report with no luck. In fact the whole day I would continually scan every horizontal branch for whips with no success.

Unidentified Empidonax Flycatcher
I worked all of the woods. It proved to be a flycatcher day. Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, and several empidonax flycatchers. One was surely a Yellow-bellied. One was likely a "Traill's Flycatcher, but would not call to reveal its true identity. Another defied my attempts to identify it even though it posed for photos.

I circled the woods most thoroughly hoping for my other target, Canada Warbler. Flycatchers and gnatcatchers but no more warblers.

I managed 2.7 miles of walking in the woods, but none of my targets. This was basically my first total strike out where I didn't get anything I was chasing! It had to happen sooner or later.

Next Week, my second Texas Pelagic Trip of the year!


  1. I'm sure you know, the larger the list the more likely you will strike out. The ones that are left are either nemesis or very hard to find. My wraparound North American big year ends a week from tomorrow and I have done nothing but strike out the past few trips. Good Luck.

  2. Canada's been reported down here; maybe you'll catch it before or after your pelagic!