Saturday, October 3, 2015

Positive Vibes

On Monday September 28, 2015 word came out that a Rufous-capped Warbler had been found at Lost Maples State Natural Area. Good news, bad news. Bad news, I couldn't chase it until Saturday. Good news is Rufous-capped Warblers usually stick around for a while.

Thursday I got a text message that a Sulfur-bellied Flycatcher had been found at Sabine Woods. Sulfur-bellied Flycatchers never seem to stick around for long. It took me a couple of hours to reach my boss and get permission to take off that afternoon. I managed to get there about 2:30 pm. Three hours of searching and I had to call this a swing and a miss, dipped on the flycatcher.

All week I got eBird alerts that the bird was still there. Each one made me feel a little relieved and a little anxious. I don't mind driving alone but company is nice too. I invited John Berner along and we made plans to leave early Saturday morning.

The Tribe Awaits the Arrival
I picked John up and we were outside the Grand Parkway of Houston headed west by 4:30 am. Catching up on birding stories and the drive went fast, we arrived at Lost Maples about 8:30 am. We checked in and got some directions to the site to confirm the information we got on line and headed to the site.

We got there and it really was just off the parking lot. As soon as we arrived we saw The Tribe spread out along the trail on vigil waiting. There are a lot of birders in Texas, but The Tribe that chases birds isn't that big. I knew 75% of those there. That's really one of the great parts of a chase like this; you get to see a lot of friends and catch up.

All of the reports this week seems to indicate the bird wasn't seen until about 9:30 am. I've seen a good number of Rufous-capped Warblers in the tropics. The do seem to like the sun. The canyon we were in you could see wouldn't get sun until at least 9:30.

9:30 came around the area the bird was being seen in got lively with the usual suspects. No warbler yet. More catching up with stories among The Tribe. At about 10:30 Dennis mentioned that he was thinking this bird was going to be a no show. I argued this bird had been seen every day since Sunday, there was no reason to think yesterday was the last day. Don't go messing things up with negative vibes Dennis.

Rufous-capped Warbler
Lost Maples State Natural Area
A couple of minutes later I heard a chip note. I told Dennis there was a bird right in front of us. We got on it and simultaneously both Dennis and I called out "Here it is!" Not 30 feet in front of us was the Rufous-capped Warbler as Year Bird 467. See Dennis, it just takes Positive Vibes (and the new lucky green shirt I got on my birthday on Tuesday!)

The whole Tribe got good looks at the bird. A gentleman and his daughter came up and got the impression that they has just missed it. No No! the Positive Vibes are still working, its right there a couple of feet up the trail!

John had a couple year birds he was after. He got the Clay-colored Sparrow at the feeders during the vigil. We spent some time watching the sky for Zone-tailed Hawk. After about 40 minutes we headed out towards home. We decided to head back to Houston via US90 and headed south reasoning that would give us the most time to look for Zone-tailed Hawk.

All the way vulture after vulture is checked. "Pin head", "red head", "no head" were our comments. Positive Vibe, keep working the Positive Vibes.

Right as we came into Sabinal another dark bird flew over the road. Wait, that bird is flapping, not soaring. It has a fully feathered head. It has a banded tail! It's a Zone-tailed Hawk! Positive Vibes, it just takes Positive Vibes!


  1. Love those positive vibes. : )

  2. nice post David--Keep on tickin'

  3. nice post David--Keep on tickin'

  4. So glad for you David....there was a Zone-tailed hawk in Cape May too