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Golden Triangle Audubon Bird Alert Update -- April 12, 2010

There was a moderate number of migrants in Sabine Woods today.  The posted list showed good variety of species, but few were present in any numbers.  White-eyed Vireos, Summer Tanagers and Wood Thrushes were the most numerous.  There was good activity in the morning, and after a lull, more birds seemed to arrive around 3 p.m. 


So far this season, there have been relatively few Blue-winged and Black-throated Green Warblers, while Palm and Prairie Warblers, normally difficult to find in Spring as far east as Sabine Woods, have been present on many days.  Black-and-white Warblers have become scarce in recent days.  Orchard Orioles have been present some days but not the next, suggesting that the Sabine Woods breeding birds have not yet arrived.  Painted Buntings, have not been seen in any numbers yet.  Eastern Wood-Pewees and Great Crested Flycatchers have been in small numbers so far.


Predictions for the next few days are difficult because the influence of the disturbances that are forecast to move eastwards out of Brownsville is difficult to predict.  Apparently, today, there were high numbers of birds along the Lower and Central Texas Coasts, suggesting birds were choosing to go in westwards rather than continue to fly in rain.  But the rain may today not have been far enough east to influence any birds flying Yucatan to Sabine Pass or even the Bay of Campeche area to Sabine Pass.  Certainly, today in Sabine Woods suggested there were some arrivals, not atypical of a day with south winds at the coast.  A strong elongated area of high pressure is forecast to stretch from the Carolinas to northern or central Texas, steering and dividing the storm track to the north and to the south causing the overall wind flow over the Gulf to remain generally easterly.  Any birds that do divert to the west will presumably then take a more easterly path to their breeding ground, but it may be they will not hug the coast to regain their original track.  The predications for the weekend seem to be changing, and some models are calling for much higher chances of rain on the Upper coast Friday late into Saturday and perhaps Sunday.  But one other normally reliable model still has most of that rain passing well north of the coast.


John A. Whittle


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