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Golden Triangle Audubon Bird Alert -- March 28, 2010

Golden Triangle Audubon Bird Alert --  March 28, 2010


After a seemingly very early push of neotropical migrants in the middle of March, especially the weekend of March 20-21, there were few migrant in Sabine Woods this weekend. Those who hoped for an influx of migrants pausing at the coast in the face of the northwest winds behind Saturday night's cold front were disappointed, although birds may not have arrived until after dark. There were a few migrants around this weekend, including two or three of each of Louisiana Waterthrushes, Northern Parula, Black-and-white Warbler and Hooded Warbler. After a good showing earlier in the month, the flow of Prothonotary Warblers has seemingly all but ceased for now. A ffew White-eyed Vireos were seen.  A very tired looking Ash-throated Flycatcher was in Sabine Woods in the late afternoon on Saturday.


We received a report from Stephen Williams of a possible Ruff on Aggie Drive in west Jefferson County on Saturday. On Sunday, searchers located large numbers of Upland Sandpipers and American Golden Plovers, but did not refind the bird. In the search process, we found larger numbers of Upland Sandpipers and American Golden Plovers than we ever remember seeing in this area. There were at least 125 Uplands in various locations and 500 American Golden Plovers. Most shorebird species migrate in a pattern of long stages (up to 1,000 miles) followed by several days of rest and feeding, unlike most passerine migrants which, over land, progress 50 to 100 miles each day (in the absence of "unflyable" weather). We think it unlikely these birds, most of which we believe have arrived in the past day or so, will leave tonight (Sunday) especially with the strong northwest wind. There are many places in west Jefferson County with the favored habitat of these "grasspipers" and often they will be far away from roads. We found concentrations of these species in the following places: 

On the western end of Brooks Road just beyond Boyt Road

On the turf farm on South Pine Island Road near Walden Road.

At the southeast corner of the intersection of (Old) SourLake Road and Aggie Drive

On Grayburg Road just north of the bridge over a canal.

On the east side of Highway 326 north from Highway 90 for about a mile.

Somewhat unusually, all these locations are north of Highway 90, and we did not find any in the usual locations on South China Road and vicinity. We did not find any concentrations of "waders", although there was a Baird's Sandpiper on Highway 326.


There are a few Scissor-tailed Flycatchers passing through, and one or two Eastern Kingbirds.  Several Swainson's Hawks were seen both Saturday and Sunday in west Jefferson County.  We get the impression that Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Harrier, American Kestrel, Eastern Phoebe and even Savannah Sparrow numbers in west Jefferson County have thinned out quite markedly and quite early.  Barn Swallows are now here in numbers, and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are passing through.  A few Chimney Swifts are around, and one Common Nighthawk has been seen over Hamshire.


Thanks for reports from Stephen Williams, Terry Ferguson, Kathi and Richard Orgeron, Christine Sliva, Rebecca and John Phelps, Gerald Duhon, John Haynes and Steve Mayes.


John A. Whittle


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