Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Bulletin 170 - early migrants

With the arrival of April, spring migration here is officially underway. However, some early migrants come in March and us hard core birders seek them out.

The Myrtle Warblers are getting yellow crown spots, This was the first time I recall noticing these crown patches.

Myrtle Warbler
Speaking of crown patches, the Orange-crowned Warbler keeps his patch hidden and the only time I have seen it was when one was bathing. I have never seen it otherwise and most birders will tell you it is never seen. Well this bird broke the rule. He kept his orange crown visible as he came to the drip at LaFitte's Cove Galveston last Friday.

Orange-crowned Warbler
Even this Nashville Warbler got in the act and showed the red feathers in his crown patch.

Nashville Warbler
A male Northern Parula came to the drip and posed nicely for a photo.

Northern Parula
A surprise bird was this Audubon's Warbler is almost full breeding plumage. This is the western form of Yellow-rumped Warbler and differs from the Myrtle Warbler above by having the yellow throat.

Audubon's Warbler
A couple of early Black-throated Green Warblers were found as well.

Black-throated Green Warbler
I was very pleased to find one of my nemesis birds, the Yellow-throated Warbler. This is only the third time in my life to see this common bird.

Yellow-throated Warbler
The Black-and-white Warbler is a favorite of mine. They work the trunks and larger limbs of trees in a style like a nuthatch.

Black-and-white Warbler
The Louisiana Waterthrush is the earlier of the waterthrushes to arrive. It is IDed by the long eye stripe going down the back of the neck as well as pink legs and buffy flanks.

Louisiana Waterthrush
An unusual find was a Calliope Hummingbird at LaFitte's Cove the last few weeks. This bird at 3.25" in length is the smallest North American bird. This was a juvenile male. My first photo on March 23, shows a few red throat feathers on the right side.

Calliope Hummingbird - juvenile male
By the next week, he had sprouted almost a full throat of feathers.

Calliope Hummingbird - juvenile male
I am looking forward to many more migrants coming through over the next month. I hope everyone can get out to see some of these birds as they pass through.

Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2013 David McDonald

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