Golden Triangle Audubon Bird Alert -- April 3, 2010
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The front that was supposed to reach the coast during the night of Friday/Saturday (April 2/3) did not quite make it and the winds along the coast never shifted to the north. Nevertheless, there were some apparent neotropical migrant arrivals in Sabine Woods on Friday afternoon and evening, and birds seemingly arriving (and apparently often not staying) all day Saturday. There was never a large number of migrants viewable at any given time. The warbler list was not spectacular, with 13 species known to us to have been seen by reliable observers on Saturday.
Wintering warblers (Yellow-rumped, Orange-crowned, Common Yellowthroat) were present, although Common Yellowthroats are unusually sparse. The most numerous migrant warbler was Northern Parula, with many males singing in the tops of trees both days. There were several Hooded Warblers both days, including one female. Two Tennessee Warblers were present Friday and one was seen early on Saturday. Black-and-white Warblers were strangely absent on Friday, but several were seen Saturday. A Nashville Warbler passed through on Saturday morning. The only Prothonotary Warbler reported was a female seen briefly in the northwest pond that could not be relocated 30 minutes later. There were several Worm-eating Warblers on Saturday. A somewhat early Northern Waterthrush was seen well on Friday and on Saturday morning, while three or four Louisiana Waterthrushes apparently arrived during the day Saturday.
White-eyed Vireos were present, especially on Saturday. Two Red-eyed Vireos were seen Friday, and one was briefly heard on Saturday. One (or more) Yellow-throated Vireo was conspicuous on Saturday, and there was still a Blue-headed Vireo around.
There was a male Summer Tanager around both days (and a female on Saturday) , and one lucky observer reported a Scarlet Tanager on Saturday, but it could not be re-found. There were one or two Orchard Orioles earlier, but late on Saturday, a significant number, mostly males, but including a female and a fist year male, arrived. The numbers of Indigo Bunting increased as Saturday wore on, and by late in the day there was a good number present.
Other migrants seen included Great Crested Flycatchers on Saturday, an Eastern Wood-Pewee both days and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers both days. Eastern Kingbird arrived in numbers on Saturday afternoon. Green Herons were seen, especially on Saturday.
Winter residents still present included sparrows (White-throated, Lincoln's, White-crowned), an Eastern Towhee as well as Gray Catbirds.
Predicting migrant flows is difficult, but Friday and Saturday arrivals were possibly birds that had held up on the Yucatan because of quite strong north east winds earlier in the week. As of Saturday about 8 p.m., the wind in the Yucatan (at Merida) was again northeast at about 15 mph and it may be that very few migrants will commence a northbound trans-Gulf flight tonight (Saturday). There may be some birds in the woods tomorrow that have elected to spend another day feeding and resting before continuing, although conditions are favorable for those birds who want to press on further north tonight.
John A. Whittle