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Golden Triangle Audubon Bird Alert Update -- April 19, 2010

An appreciable number of yesterday's birds were still in Sabine Woods this morning (April 19) and a few additional birds seem to have arrived overnight.  Twenty-three species of warbler were reliably recorded.  The second male Blackburnian of the season was the highlight for many, although seeing four male Ceruleans in one tree was something few had seen before.  Worm-eating and Kentucky Warblers were especially plentiful, and Tennessee Warbler numbers seemed to increase as the day wore on.  There were several Blackpolls, and one or two Yellow-throated Warblers around.  A nice Nashville Warbler, not at all common in the spring at Sabine Woods (probably because all populations of the species are apparently circum-Gulf migrants) was seen.  Yesterday's Louisiana Waterthrush was still around.  No fewer that three Swainson's Warblers were found, although all, as usual were very shy after being first seen.


Wood Thrushes were absolutely everywhere in the woods, and the number of Swainson's Thrushes seems to increase in the afternoon.  Gray-cheeked Thrush and Veery were also seen.


Vireo numbers were greatly reduced, and only about ten Red-eyed Vireos remained.  A few Cuckoos arrived, including one Black-billed. Orchard and Baltimore Orioles were seen in modest numbers for this date in April.  Two Great Crested Flycatchers were there as well as one Eastern Wood-Pewee, but the number of flycatchers has been very low so far this spring.


As indicated, today's flight seemed light and seemed to arrive during the afternoon, without the influx of any large numbers except of Swainson's Thrushes and Tennessee Warblers.


The weather pattern over the Gulf has changed markedly from last week.  There is only a slight pressure gradient, and the surface winds are basically light and variable over essentially the entire Gulf.  At 3,000 ft, the winds are more consistently westerly but still very light.  There does not seem to be anything that will hinder birds from onward migration tonight, nor anything that will dissuade birds from leaving the Yucatan, Belize or wherever in that region tonight to undertake a trans-Gulf migration.  Birds have seemingly crossed the Gulf on most of the last few nights, so it would not be expected that there was a large build up in migrants at he jumping off points.  This suggests that birds migrating across the Gulf directly in a single flight tonight and arriving tomorrow will be average in number.  The winds at the coast midday tomorrow may still have a northerly component that might casue some to drop in at the coast rather than overfly to points inland.


John A. Whittle


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