Migration in Texas (04/17 – 04/21/2008) – A trip report

This Yellow-crowned Night-heron was right out in the open at Tyrell Park in Beaumont.

One of the highlights of the trip was a singing Bachman’s Sparrow near Boykin Springs.

From 4/18-4/21 with Jenny Thompson, Mike Fleming and Stefan


SO – Smith Oaks (High Island)
BF – Bolivar Flats
BS – Boy Scout Woods (High Island)
SW – Sabine Woods (Sabine Pass)
AN – Anahuac NWR
GS – Gore Store Rd (Big Thicket)
BO – Boykin Springs (Angelina NF)
AT – Attwater Prairie Chicken NWR
BB – Brazos Bend SP

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (near Sabine Pass, 108 loop – Pt Bolivar [including a leucistic bird], BB)
Fulvous Whistling-Duck (AN)
Mottled Duck (AN)
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Ruddy Duck
Northern Bobwhite (AT)
Common Loon (2 at 108 Loop, Pt. Bolivar)
Pied-billed Grebe
Brown Pelican
Double-creasted Cormorant
Neotropic Cormorant (along 87 near Sabine Pass, SO)
American Bittern
Least Bittern (AN)
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Cattle Egret
Reddish Egret (BF)
Green Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
White Ibis
White-faced Ibis
Roseate Spoonbill
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Northern Harrier
White-tailed Kite
Red-tailed Hawk
Swainson’s Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk (near GS)
White-tailed Hawk (AT)
Crested Caracara (AT)
American Kestrel
Yellow Rail (6 at AN)
Black Rail (1 at AN)
King Rail (AN)
Clapper Rail (AN)
Virginia Rail (AN)
Sora (AN)
Purple Gallinule (AN)
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Black-bellied Plover
American Golden-Plover (AN)
Wilson’s Plover (BF)
Snowy Plover (BF)
Semipalmated Plover (BF)
Piping Plover (BF)
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Upland Sandpiper (Beckendorff Rd near AT)
Hudsonian Godwit (AN)
Marbled Godwit
Ruddy Turnstone
Least Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Stilt Sandpiper (AN)
Buff-breasted Sandpiper (AN)
Short-billed Dowitcher (BF)
Wilson’s Phalarope (AN)
Red-necked Phalarope (4 at BF)
Laughing Gull
Herring Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Caspian Tern
Royal Tern
Sandwich Tern
Common Tern
Forster’s Tern
Least Tern
Rock Dove
Eurasian Collared-Dove
White-winged Dove
Mourning Dove
Inca Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo (SO)
Common Nighthawk (SO)
Chuck-will’s-widow (SW)
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-headed Woodpecker (GS)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (SO)
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Red-cockaded Woodpecker (BO)
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Acadian Flycatcher (SO, SW)
Traill’s Flycatcher (SW)
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
Loggerhead Shrike
White-eyed Vireo
Yellow-throated Vireo (The Willows at SW)
Blue-headed Vireo (BS)
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Purple Martin
Horned Lark
Tree Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Barn Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
Carolina Wren
Sedge Wren (AN, Beckendorff Rd near AT)
Marsh Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird (near GS, BB)
Veery (SW)
Swainson’s Thrush
Wood Thrush (SW)
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
pipit sp (likely Sprague’s at AT)
Blue-winged Warbler (a few at SW)
Golden-winged Warbler (2-3 at SW, 1 at SO)
Tennessee Warbler (many at SW, a few at SO)
Northern Parula (SO, SW; singing at BB and GS)
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler (1 at SW)
Magnolia Warbler (1 at SW)
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler (1 at SO, 1 at SW)
Pine Warbler (GS, BO)
Yellow-throated Warbler (1 at SO)
Blackpoll Warbler
Cerulean Warbler (1 male at SW, 1 male at SO)
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Prothonotary Warbler (1 at SW)
Worm-eating Warbler (2 at SW)
Ovenbird (2 at SW)
Northern Waterthrush
Swainson’s Warbler (GS: 1 singing along at 1.9mi, 1 at SW)
Kentucky Warbler (2-3 at BS)
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler (SW, SO, singing at GS)
Yellow-breasted Chat (2 at SW)
Summer Tanager
Scarlet Tanager
Bachman’s Sparrow (2-3 at BO)
Chipping Sparrow (1 at BB)
Savannah Sparrow
Seaside Sparrow (AN)
Lincoln’s Sparrow (Beckendorff Rd near AT)
Swamp Sparrow (AN – 2 at the Willows)
White-throated Sparrow (SW)
White-crowned Sparrow (Beckendorff Rd near AT)
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Painted Bunting (SO)
Blue Grosbeak
Dickcissel (1 at parking lot in Walmart in Woodville, many singing at AT)
Bobolink (2 near Willows at SW)
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark (AN)
Western Meadowlark (AT)
Common Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle
Great-tailed Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
House Sparrow

No vagrants
Misses: Fish Crow, Palm Warbler, Mississippi Kite, Pileated Woodpecker, nailing down the ID on the pipit
Bonus birds: Yellow and Black Rail, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Hudsonian Godwit
Total: 184 (and I’m not kiddin’ ya)
– Running into Sam Woods at BS and Leo at SW
– A mini-fallout in the afternoon of 04/18 at Willow Pond/Sabine Woods (with 100s of Tennessee Warblers it seemed)
– A perched-up Dickcissel in the Walmart parking lot in Woodville. And no one bothered us while we were stopped in the main access road to look at it – a miracle
– Can you say Cerulean? 3+ Golden-winged Warblers!
– 6 Yellow and 1 Black Rail at Anahuac. Finding American Goldens with a couple of Buffies mixed in at a previously unknown location at AN. And 5 Huds!
– We had to work for the Upland Sandpipers at Beckendorff Rd
– Ground birds! 2 Ovenbirds and 2-3 Kentucky Warblers
– Re-finding the singing Swainson’s Warbler along Gore Store Rd at our secret location. Excellent looks!!!
– Scissor-tailed Flycatchers!!!
– Walking the Pipit Trail at Attwater hoping for a Spraque’s to flush. One bird did and flushed across the fence. We did not chase it down. 3 White-tailed Hawks were the highlight there
– Hearing Bachman’s Sparrow while getting out of the car. Unexpectedly, our first seen birds at this spot were Red-cockaded Woodpeckers

Other notes:
– Low numbers of Blackburnians, Chestnut-sideds, Ovenbirds. Only one cuckoo!
– Tanagers and Orioles were abundant
– Conditions for rail walk were optimal and there were no bugs. Black rails were found right by the fence in the less prickly spartina. Yellows were in the thicker, more prickly variety.
– There now is a $10 parking fee if you want to drive the beach at BF.







Nelson-ish Gull at Fernhill Wetlands (04/05/08)

This HUGE bird was roosting with a few other immature gulls in the parking lot. The first task would be to guess the bird’s age. There seem to be some gray patches showing through on the mantle, which would be the only indicator that this could be a 2nd cycle bird. Everything else points to a 1st cyle bird. 

The nicely bicolored bill points to Glaucous (and away from Glaucous x Glaucous-winged) and the primaries are relatively dark grayish, yet maybe not brown enough for Herring. Please feel free to comment!