Golden Triangle Audubon Bird Alert -- December 2, 2011
Most of the focus recently has been on sparrows and raptors. Waterfowl are present, but concentrated mostly in a few areas with water, most of them not readily accessible.
Sparrow variety along the immediate shoreline has been good. At least three Harris's Sparrows have been frequenting a non-public area of Sea Rim State Park since Nov 28. Call Terry Ferguson on 409-332-3608 to find out if access will be possible at the time you would like to look for them. Generally, fairly early morning or late afternoon seem best. Access, if available, does not require beach driving or lengthy walking. Other sparrows in good numbers in the Golden Triangle include Field and Vesper Sparrows. The Green-tailed Towhees at Sabine Woods have not been reported recently, although they are shy. (There are Green-tailed Towhees this year scattered along the coastal areas of east Texas and Louisiana.)
Good numbers of raptors are also present. Red-tailed Hawks are especially numerous along Highway 87 between Sabine Pass and McFaddin NWR, with 33 being count in that 12-mile stretch on one recent late afternoon. Bald Eagles are being seen in west Jefferson County (two adults and two immature birds) and at Anahuac NWR (seven birds). These eagles are usually found in association with duck and goose flocks. One accessible are that has been holding ducks in Jefferson County has been either side of Lawhon Road, just west of the community of New Bethel. Green-winged Teal and Northern Pintail have predominated, with lesser numbers of Northern Shoveler and Gadwall.
The geese and Sandhill Crane flocks in west Jefferson County have been rather nomadic, and may well be roosting outside the county, and flying in to feed some days. Most often when they are found – which does not happen on every trip in the area – they have been in the extreme western part of the county, west of FM1406/FM365.
A pair of Vermilion Flycatchers has been around the farmyard at the intersection of Willis Road and Old League Road, and the male at the Sabine Pass cemetery is back.
Wintering Hummingbirds are seemingly plentiful this year with Rufous, Black-chinned and Calliope all being seen. Call Jana Whittle 409-722-4193 if you want to try to see a Rufous.
John A. Whittle