Friday, October 2, 2009

Bulletin #91 – Fall Migration #2

David McDonald Photography
Friendswood Texas
October 2, 2009

Bulletin #91 – Fall Migration #2

Hello friends,

I have had the most disappointing fall migration with numerous visits to various birdy locations and nothing to see or photograph. Last Saturday, I spent 6 hours at various locations in west Houston and the Katy prairie and took not a single bird photograph.

Here are a few of the birds I did find over the past few weeks.

Here is a male Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula). The orange body with black head and wings makes this bird a rapid ID.

His cousin is this female Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius). She is yellow with gray wings and wing bars.

The Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerula) was the most common bird. I had several photos of them in the previous bulletin, but one of the characteristics to separate gnatcatchers in the field in the undertail coloration. This is the best photo I have obtained of this feature. He has white outer tail feathers with black interior feathers.

I saw this Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) on top of a tree. These birds are flycatchers. As I watched him, a dragonfly flew above him and landed on another bare twig within 3 feet of the bird. I thought this s little strange that the kingbird didn't take it for lunch.Here is a photo of the bird with the dragonfly over his head.

LaFitte's Cove nature preserve on Galveston Island produced a few good photos for me.

Here is a Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotita varia). These birds are usually numerous in the fall, but I saw only 2 this year.

Also, I refound the female Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris) in LaFitte's Cove. This is about 50 miles east of their normal range. I had first seen a female of this species here in late 2006. I had seen her annually until this year. I was afraid that she might have died or been displaced during hurricane Ike in Sept 2008. This was my first encounter with her in 2009, so it must be the same bird, as woodpeckers in general are non-migratory.

I am interested in all wildlife and will photograph other animals, insects etc if the opportunity presents itself.

I was at LaFitte's Cove at dawn one morning and found a pair of Coyotes (Canis latrans) in the marsh. This was my first encounter with coyotes since starting to do photography. One was actually lying on the ground. Here are a couple of photos.

At the end of August, there were swarms of small white butterflies in LaFitte's Cove. These are Great Southern Whites (Ascia monuste). The male in the first photo has black edges on the forewing. The female in the second has brownish wing edges. Notice however, the aqua tips on their antenna. This feature struck me instantly when I looked at them through the binos and is a field mark.

Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2009 David McDonald

To have these trip reports sent to your email, please email me at the above address and ask for subscribe.

1 comment:


I haven't noticed the usual variety of fall migrating birds this year either. It was a hot, and very dry summer, maybe that has something to do with it?

I am looking for a camera to take wildlife pictures with and I want something that will give me really good, crisp, close up pictures of plants and animals and have zoom capability. Any suggestions? I'm looking at the $1K - $2K range. Less if possible. Thanks!