Golden Triangle Audubon Bird Alert -- April 16, 2011
Sabine Woods was good throughout the day, with at least 23 species of warbler reported by reliable observers. Highlights included two, probably three, Swainson's Warblers, including one that cooperated in the western extremity of the Sanctuary for well over an hour, a female Cerulean in the entrance oaks late in the day, multiple Blackburnians, multiple Canadas, and a Prairie Warbler or two. Blue Grosbeaks were prominent in the afternoon, and there were many Warbling Vireos.
There was not a high influx of birds in the late afternoon. At 9:00 pm Saturday evening, the surface winds along the Upper Texas Coast were not strong – almost calm at SE Texas Regional Airport -- and it would not appear that they would dissuade birds already present from continuing their northward migration tonight. The surface and 3000 ft winds over the central Gulf had and still have a significant northerly component, so there does remain a possibility that birds that left the Yucatan, Belize or thereabouts on Friday evening had still not reached the coast by nightfall Saturday. Given the apparent arrival of some birds of known trans-Gulf species, especially Blue Grosbeaks, as early as 4 p.m., this does not seem very likely. However, if it is the case, there could be trans-Gulf migrants in the Woods in the morning; otherwise, there may be very few trans-Gulf migrants present. There may well be circum-Gulf migrants, however. Indigo and Painted Buntings would be among the most likely such migrants in Mid April.
The winds on the Yucatan (Merida) were 15 kt out of the north Saturday at 9 p.m., and this will probably dissuade migrants from leaving on a Gulf crossing this evening, which would suggest very few trans-Gulf arrivals Sunday afternoon. Forecast winds at the surface and 3000 ft over the Gulf indicate a significant northerly component in mid-Gulf until late afternoon Sunday, making it likely that any that do attempt the crossing would arrive very late on Sunday.
Please be aware that these analyses/predictions may not have high accuracy!!
John A. Whittle