16 April 2013

Fast Times at High Island

On Wednesday, March 27th, I practically ran to my car. The air was nice, the birds were singing, and most importantly, it was spring break. It was not long before I was alone with my music on the interstate west, headed for High Island. This legendary salt dome is the highest point on the gulf coast between Mexico and Florida, and is a refuge for trans-gulf migrants that fly in. I wrote the first part of this post having been there already for a week, and the last half from the comfort of the LSU Museum of Natural Sciences. The migrants, which were initially scarce, hit a high point in the first week of April before I had to return to my scholarly duties.

The first few days in April, we had some time off and ran down to Rockport. We were able to obtain distant views of Whooping Cranes in Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, and Port Aransas was hopping with warblers, with Black-throated Green, Blackburnian, and more.

Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens) in Port Aransas, Texas. 3 April 2013.

We also managed to hit up some local marshes, where ducks galore were foraging. Black Terns arced over the reeds, Reddish Egrets flew through, Soras bickered and even a Least Bitterns called a few times.

Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis), Port Aransas, Texas. 3 April 2013.

Upon returning to High Island, we were greeting by some incoming storm fronts. The woods were teeming and alive with birds coming in right off the gulf. We saw an amazingly vast number of warblers compared to the preceding days, with Kentucky's foraging almost at our feet, and even obtaining good looks at a Swainson's Warbler at the Hook Woods Sanctuary. Blackburnian Warbler, Hooded Warbler, and Prothonotary Warbler were all making themselves known, and we started getting some good "first of season" birds such as Swainson's Thrush, Wood Thrush, and, one of my favorites, Yellow-billed Cuckoo.

As the birds continued on and the woods thinned out, I had to pack my bags and return to LSU. Since then, I have been swamped, as is probably evidenced by my delay in finishing this post! I'm hoping to get out around campus more this week (I found a Wood Thrush today before class - a pleasant surprise) and will be sure to update then!

No comments:

Post a Comment