Sunday, May 27, 2012

Texas 2012!

I’ve just returned from another great birding stint down in the big state of Texas. This year, friend and Avocet Tours-owner Chris Charlesworth—happened to be headed south around the same time so we decided to fly to Houston a day early and get out birding together. So on April 11th, we left our hotel in Houston around 3am and didn’t return until the morning of the next day. We recorded 170 species in that whirl-wind day and it was nice to get my eyes and ears re-adjusted to the birds of Texas! Probably the big highlight for me that day was catching a peak at my first red-morph Eastern Screech-Owl [On left].

Fast forward to the evening of April 13th, and the participants of my tour were arriving and rearing to go! There were seven people this year in addition to myself, and it would prove to be a great group which made the trip that much more enjoyable. Although we didn’t go birding away from the hotel, which was right by the airport, there were still a few nice birds that the newcomers were able to add to their lifelists. These included the omnipresent GREAT-TAILED GRACKLES, a pair of SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHERS, a cooperative LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE, and fly-over appearances from GREAT, SNOWY, and CATTLE EGRETS, as well as LITTLE BLUE and TRICOLOURED HERONS, and a few ROSEATTE SPOONBILLS.
One of the ubiquitous yet glorious Great-tailed Grackle outside the hotel
Day 1 (April 14th)—Today was the first full day of Avocet Tours’ “Texas in Spring: Upper Coast & Edwards Plateau” Tour 2012 edition. After breakfast, we arrived at our first stop around 8am—Jesse Jones County Park. This lovely park, only a 10 minute drive from the airport, provides a good cross-section of East Texas forest birds, and we were not disappointed. Within minutes of leaving the parking lot we were treated to great views of ACADIAN FLYCATCHER, YELLOW-THROATED VIREO, CAROLINA CHICKADEE, TUFTED TITMOUSE, and several NORTHERN CARDINALS. This later species is always one of the most abundant species each day on the trip but it never fails to impress us westerners!
Another early highlight was spotted a pair of YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS nest-building high up in a pine. Further up the trail I could hear the songs of more treats such as RED-EYED VIREO, SUMMER TANAGER, and NORTHERN PARULA, and soon we were able to get great views of these species, especially the male parula, who was foraging low in a Bald Cypress swamp. We inadvertently flushed a group of WOOD DUCKS, then we had looks at our first RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER of the trip. The star of the show was yet to come however, when a male PROTHONOTARY WARBLER popped out low in the trees to serenade us with his distinctive trilling voice. At one point, he even landed on the boardwalk beside us! After three visits to Texas, I have found this species to be quite charismatic and confiding both in migration and on the breeding grounds. And what’s not to like in terms of looks?!

Up in the canopy we heard several PINE WARBLERS, and at least one YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER but unfortunately neither came out into view. We were however lucky enough to spot a foraging BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER “nuthatching” around on a mossy oak bough. We finished off Jesse Jones with nice looks at our first BLUE JAYS of the trip, along with brief but satisfactory looks at a pair of GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHERS.

Next it was onto another “Jones”—this time W.G. Jones State Forest, where we hoped to catch up with the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker among other “Piney Woods” specialties. Our effort would unfortunately be greatly hampered by some strong southerly winds. This made forest birding difficult across the board, especially if you are trying to listen for bark-flecking! Although we ended up missing the target woodpecker, we did manage a few good birds including fantastic views of BROWN-HEADED NUTHATCH, PINE WARBLER, EASTERN BLUEBIRD, and RED-HEADED WOODPECKER. 
*Note: The hunt for the Red-cockaded was not over, as I knew a few spots we could check toward the end of the tour (more on that later).

After grabbing lunch nearby, I elected to take a more scenic route (as opposed to the Interstate) as we plied our way westward. This paid off when we encountered a small migrating group of MISSISSIPPI KITES (at least 9 of them), along with a lone RED-SHOULDERED HAWK. Our elation was quickly dampened however by a wild-eyed woman who came racing out of her house yelling, “this is private property, get the hell off!” Even though we were simply pulled off the highway, next to her gate, we didn’t want to push the envelope in this part of the world! Ironically, during this whole episode, her husband (who traditionally should be the paranoid loud-mouth with a shotgun), ignored the whole situation, choosing to sip a beer while driving around the yard in his ride-mower.

About a half-hour later we reached the Attwater Prairie Chicken Reserve. Although it’s near impossible to see a prairie-chicken without participating in a special tour to the lek, there is usually plenty to see around the reserve itself, as it’s one of the last pristine remnants of Texas prairie grassland. The wind continued to be strong here but we still managed to add a few good birds including CRESTED CARACARA, our only WHITE-TAILED HAWK of the trip, and a good mix of waterbirds that we found in a flooded area. This was a pleasant surprise since this area had been bone-dry last year. Some of the birds we encountered here: FULVOUS WHISTLING-DUCKS, MOTTLED DUCK, both WHITE and WHITE-FACED IBISES, a lone EARED GREBE (our only one for the trip), brief looks at a retreating LEAST BITTERN, and good numbers of shorebirds including BLACK-NECKED STILT, both yellowlegs species, and some LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS.

From here we steamed on westward, past San Antonio, and finally to our hotel in Hondo, TX. Our final birding highlight of the day came after a good Mexican meal, when we stopped at a grocery store for supplies. After returning to the parking-lot, someone asked me what the bird was that was calling from the lone tree in the parking lot. We walked over to it, and got good looks at a WESTERN KINGBIRD that was flycatching insects around a nearby street-light. A nice addition considering the location and time of night!
Day 2(April 15th)—Our first day in desert scrub and the Hill Country of the Edwards Plateau. Not surprisingly, there would be many new additions today! Things started off well when I spotted a lone HARRIS’S HAWK perched on the side of the road near Sabinal. These desert specialists can be tricky to find this far north and east and not surprisingly it was our only one of the trip. In the same area, we picked up a few new sparrows including OLIVE, LARK, VESPER, SAVANNAH, and great looks the usually secretive GRASSHOPPER SPARROW; in fact there were 3 singing at one spot! We also heard our first BLACK-CRESTED TITMOUSE of the tour along with a singing BEWICK’S WREN, and both GOLDEN-FRONTED and LADDER-BACKED WOODPECKERS.
Roadside male Yellow-headed Blackbird just south of Concan
We arrived at Neal’s Lodges around mid-morning. This would be our base of opperations for the next 2 nights but first, we headed north and east over to Lost Maples State Natural Area for a late morning hike. The beautiful park is situated in a small canyon and offers a great mix of birds from the scrubby junipers that cling to the dry ridge-tops, to the rich riparian zone that hugs Sabinal Creek. On the drive over, we didn’t see much other than a single singing HUTTON’S VIREO that offered up uncharacteristically clear views of this kinglet-esque vireo. Upon arriving at the park headquarters, a male INDIGO BUNTING hopped up into view, followed by our first ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER. The group also had close looks at another LADDER-BACKED WOODPECKER before we drove up to the trail-head. Along the walk we bumped into several other birding groups who all seemed to be enjoying the spring birding. Near the beginning of the trail, a singing HOODED WARBLER evaded most of our patient stares, but at least the Texas specialities—the GOLDEN-CHEEKED WARBLER and BLACK-CAPPED VIREO both provided for some brief but nice looks (especially the warbler!). We spent some time at a small lake near the top of the trail before turning around. Here we enjoyed point-blank views of a singing RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW, along with a noisy pair of SUMMER TANAGERS. Most of the group got fleeting glimpses of the vulture-like ZONE-TAILED HAWK that calls the park home, but unfortunately he/she never stuck around for long. 
Rufous-crowned Sparrow "showing well"
On the walk back down we ran into a small migrant flock of warblers that contained ORANGE-CROWNED, NASHVILLE, YELLOW, WILSON’S, YELLOW-RUMPED, and YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS (the latter garnering several “oos” and “ahhs”). Unfortunately we could not find any sign of the local Louisiana Waterthrush that is usually on territory in the area, however the feeders near where we parked the van were productive, netting us: CHIPPING, CLAY-COLOURED, and FIELD SPARROWS, along with a pair of WESTERN SCRUB-JAYS, and both BLACK-CHINNED and RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS. We also heard and had a few brief looks at our only BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER of the trip; a species that seems to be pushing its range gradually northward from the Rio Grande each year.

Oh and I almost forgot-- We also lucked into this well-concealed gem
Can you spot the screech-owl?
After lunch, we headed back to Neal’s Lodges in Concan, where we checked into our respective cabins and had a bit of a rest before meeting up for a casual stroll along the Frio River. The main target here was a previously-reported TROPICAL PARULA that had set-up territory near Neal’s in a tall stand of cypress. I wasn’t sure how much luck we would have in the 4pm afternoon doldrums so I was very pleased to hear its rising buzzy song immediately upon reaching the river. We all enjoyed eye-popping views of this beauty as he sang and foraged at eye-level for a few minutes before returning to the high canopy.
For the next few mornings I heard this bird singing practically non-stop so I would assume he hasn’t yet found a lady-parula!

We took an early supper at the dining hall this evening since we had to head over to the world-famous Frio Bat Cave to catch the dusk exodus! The cave is on private land, so we were led into the area by a local naturalist. As we approached the cave, it was not too surprising to see hundreds of CAVE SWALLOWS swirling around the entrance (“The day shift” as our guide called them). While the swallows nest near the entrance, the Mexican Free-tailed Bats (all 10-12 million of them) reside in the far end of the cave, several hundred meters and further down! As we and a few others waited for darkness to come, a pair of CANYON WRENS entertained us with boisterous song, in an apparent attempt to steal the spotlight. A single CACTUS WREN sang from the scrub down the hill from us but refuse to be seen in plain-sight.
The Cave
Then it happened…

First there was the faint scent of ammonia, then something else… guano perhaps? The suddenly, the air was flooded with the sound of thousands of wing-beats, as the bats poured out of the cave right over our heads. We all agreed that this was one of those experiences that everyone must have at some point. We watched with excitement as a pair of RED-TAILED HAWKS swooped in to snag bats on the wing, and continued to exchange looks of amazement as more and more bats poured out of the earth. Apparently this is the second-largest concentration of vertebrates in the entire world, the first one being a similar cave near San Antonio. Apparently this one colony can consume over 100 tons of moths and other insects each night!!! For the BBC fans out there, this is the same cave that Sir David Attenborough visited to film two episodes of “Life of Mammals.”

For a video I took of the spectacle, click HERE.

With our two-day trip list now standing around 100 species, this was a truly phenomenal way to end the day.

Day 3(April 16th)—We left Neal’s early this morning, and headed south to the city of Uvalde. The purpose for stopping here is to find Rio Grande specialists that have been pushing north into the mesquite woodlands in the area. Last year we recorded Great Kiskadee, Couch’s Kingbird, and Bronzed Cowbirds (among others), so we were hoping for some goodies. Unfortunately we missed all of those species mentioned, but good birds were still to be had. At our first stop, we tallied our first BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK of the trip then saw a pair with ducklings at the next stop. In the same area we spotted a LONG-BILLED THRASHER as it darted across the road, then when we got out, we realized it was sitting in a bush beside a CURVE-BILLED THRASHER! Not a bad combo and I believe this is the first time that Avocet Tours has recorded Curve-billed in Texas, away from the Rio Grande. We also got some good looks at a singing OLIVE SPARROW, a few more ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHERS, and our first BELL’S VIREO. At one point, when I walked back to get the van, I noticed a PYRRHULOXIA land on a telephone wire above the groups head. Not wanting to scare it a crept along the road in the van then called out as carefully as possible. Unfortunately only two people heard me and only managed fleeting looks as the bird dropped down from the wire into the brush, never to be seen again.

Bobwhite sneakin' away
From Uvalde, we drove west to Brackettville then turned north toward Kickapoo Caverns State Park. Along the drive, some nice birds were spotted including NORTHERN BOBWHITE and a WILD TURKEY. Not everyone saw the turkey at first so I turned around and stopped near the spot. Although we were not able to relocate the fowl, we picked up a few great birds nonetheless such as CASSIN’S SPARROW, HOODED ORIOLE, and my first LARK BUNTING for Texas (a presumed immature male that had not yet migrated north). We heard another CACTUS WREN here, and once again, we were not able to catch even a fleeting glimpse of this iconic desert bird.
We arrived at Kickapoo around noon, and shared a picnic site with a showy little VERMILLION FLYCATCHER, while good numbers of BELL’S VIREOS and YELLOW-BREASTED CHATS burbled in the bushes. Another male HOODED ORIOLE put on a good show, and we never got tired of kicking up LARK SPARROWS and INDIGO BUNTINGS from the grassy areas. It’s a fair drive from Neal’s to Kickapoo but it’s certainly worth it for the birds and quiet. This is my second time here and I still haven’t seen another birder! It also happens to be one of the best places in Texas to see BLACK-CAPPED VIREOS, along with good numbers of Bell’s, White-eyed, and the occasional Gray Vireo. We chased around 4 or 5 BLACK-CAPPED VIREOS and managed some brief looks at a few of them, along with awesome looks at a singing WHITE-EYED VIREO. Unforuntately there were no Painted Buntings around yet (too early?), but FIELD SPARROW numbers seemed higher than in past years. A single calling VERDIN frustratingly got away before any of us could get clear looks at it, but a male SCOTT’S ORIOLE whistling from atop a tall tree soon distracted us.
Vermillion Flycatcher (male) eyeing up the tour-van
We headed back toward Brackettville in the mid-afternoon, stopping along the way to try for a few more deserty species. Along the route, Jane McGhee (of Prince George) and I spotted a GREATER ROADRUNNER sunning itself on a fence-post as we blasted by at 70 miles/hour. Unfortunately however, it hopped down and out of sight as I backed up to try and get the others a look.

Once back at Neal’s, the group dispersed to spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing. During this time, Adrian Leather (of Quesnel), and Val George (of Victoria) had brief looks at 3 male PAINTED BUNTINGS coming to a local feeder, while down along the Frio River, Carolyn McGhee (also of Prince George) and Joyce & John Henderson (of Salmon Arm) were treated to a BLACK PHOEBE while taking a dip. As always, Neal’s provided us with a warm spring evening, filled with the coos of INCA, WHITE-WINGED, MOURNING, and EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVES, along with the whines of LESSER GOLDFINCHES, and the ever-present kettles of BLACK and TURKEY VULTURES overhead.

Frio River at Neal's Lodges
After dinner we took a walk over to a nearby birding area called “Pecan Grove.” Birding was fairly slow, but we had brief looks at our first BLUE GROSBEAK, and everyone enjoyed the peaceful aroma of the grove after another long day of driving and birding.

That evening I heard a CHUCK-WILL’S-WIDOW calling from somewhere down by the river. I was checking emails up by the office so I ran down to get closer and alert the others. Unfortunately, by the time I got back to the cabins the bird had moved up the river then stopped calling. At least Joyce and John were able to hear it before it moved on.

Day 4(April 17th)—Our last morning at Neal’s; Everyone met up at “The Cattleguard” feeding station/bird drip for some pre-breakfast birding. At the feeder we enjoyed close views of LESSER GOLDFINCH, HOUSE FINCH, and BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD, and more excitingly—2 gorgeous BLACK-THROATED SPARROWS! Adrian pointed out a CAROLINA CHICKADEE that was feeding young in a small cavity nearby, while another BELL’S VIREO came out into the open for a good look. We took a short stroll up the hill and were rewarded with another black-and-yellow male SCOTT’S ORIOLE, along with our only LINCOLN’S SPARROW, and CANYON TOWHEE of the trip (the latter species being more exciting than the sparrow for the British Columbians!). The towhee was particularly satisfying since it was a male that just sat out in the open singing. Another mischievous VERDIN darted past, giving several people a fleeting look at this “golden-chickadee” of the desert.
One of the thousands of Red Admiral butterflies that were gathering along the edges of the Frio River
Canyon Towhee singing at dawn
A better look at a male Scott's Oriole!
Morning view from Neal's Cafe
Yellow-breasted Chat
We enjoyed a hearty breakfast at the dining hall, then waved our goodbyes to the hordes of BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRDS that cloud the feeders outside the building, packed up our bags, and headed south across the Frio River for one last time. Before leaving the Concan area entirely, we stopped at the “Cabin 61” feeder. Other than a few OLIVE SPARROWS, there was next to nothing actually coming to the feeders, but we had great looks at a few YELLOW-BREASTED CHATS, while a BULLOCK’S ORIOLE chattered nearby, and a SPOTTED TOWHEE called from the bushes—yes they have them here!

From here, we continued south toward Sabinal, stopping briefly when we almost shmucked a pair of COMMON GROUND-DOVES (our only ones of the trip—and fully alive and well), then again at the Sabinal Feedlot, where we scoped through hundreds of BREWER’S BLACKBIRDS and BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS but could not locate any of the hoped-for Bronzed Cowbirds. We did however count 5 YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRDS, which is always a good bird for central and east Texas.

We made a stop near Hondo to give the desert species one last go, but only managed to turn up things we had already seen such as CASSIN’S SPARROW, ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER, and another devilishly evasive VERDIN.

We ate our lunch near Castroville, then proceeded east into San Antonio, where I drove to a site known for Monk Parakeets. Having never been here before, I didn’t know where to look for them. We scanned high and low finding only NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRDS, GREAT-TAILED GRACKLES, an INCA DOVE, and a RED-TAILED HAWK nesting on top of a high cell-tower. Just as we were about to leave however, we heard a grating, screeching sound, then we spotted them! Over in an electrical station were several balls of sticks jammed in between a series of steel beams. This is where they were nesting! We counted at least 8 MONK PARAKEETS, and watched as a pair exchanged sticks and nuzzled each other. Apparently this species nests communally in that one nest will have 4 or 5 entrances for different pairs. Always nice to add a parrot to the list!

From San Antonio, we drove straight past Houston to Winnie, where we would be spending the next 4 nights. Nice to get the long drives out of the way! Here we met up with Chris’s group who were staying entirely on the upper coast. We dined at the famous “Al-T’s” Cajun restaurant and went home tired and happy—excited for the big day that was to come.

Day 5(April 18)—Today was our first day on the Texas Upper Coast, where we hoped to pick up a bounty of trans-Gulf migrants as well as a good mix of seashore birds. As we drove south from Winnie to the fabled migrant-trap—High Island—we counted our first BOAT-TAILED GRACKLES of the year and had quick looks at a fly-by AMERICAN BITTERN.

When we arrived at Boy Scout Woods, the headquarters of High Island birding, it was immediately clear that the birds we “in.” Before leaving the parking-lot we had jaw-dropping looks at both SUMMER and SCARLET TANAGERS, as well as a small group of ORCHARD ORIOLES joined by a couple INDIGO BUNTINGS, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS, and our only BALTIMORE ORIOLE of the trip. A few members of the group saw a male PAINTED BUNTING, while several TENNESSEE WARBLERS were seen by all. As we walked around the oak grove at Boy Scout, the most conspicuous species was certainly GRAY CATBIRD, and this wouldn’t change over the next few days. It seemed that every bush at two or three mewing or scratching about. Warbler diversity was fairly low, but we were still pleased to pick up a few HOODED WARBLERS, 1 yellow PALM WARBLER, an AMERICAN REDSTART, and a PROTHONOTARY WARBLER. We also had good looks at our first WOOD THRUSHES.
Yellow-throated Vireo--yep I'd say so
We had heard that there were more warblers over at the nearby “Smith Oaks” sanctuary, so off we went for another short walk. Here we added BLACK-AND-WHITE, YELLOW, and BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER to the day list, along with our first COMMON YELLOWTHROATS of the trip. Even better was a single KENTUCKY WARBLER that only Adrian got onto, and a female CERULEAN WARBLER that thankfully showed quite well for the whole group. NORTHERN PARULAS and AMERICAN REDSTARTS were also tallied, and a few BROWN THRASHERS were nice to get looks at.

Satisfied with the morning’s haul, we headed out onto the Bolivar Peninsula in search of seashore and saltmarsh species. We stopped first at Rollover Pass, where we were instantly greeted by a large mixed flock of gulls, terns, and shorebirds. Careful work with the bins and scope sorted them out into species—CASPIAN, ROYAL, SANDWICH, FORSTER’S, COMMON, LEAST and BLACK TERNS; BLACK SKIMMERS, RING-BILLED, HERRING, and LAUGHING GULLS; BLACK-BELLIED, WILSON’S, and SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS; WILLETS, GREATER and LESSER YELLOWLEGS, MARBLED GODWITS, RUDDY TURNSTONES, SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS, DUNLIN, and both SEMIPALMATED and LEAST SANDPIPERS…. Phew! Oh, and did I mention the 5 or 6 species of heron, BROWN PELICANS, 40 AMERICAN AVOCETS, and large group of NEOTROPIC CORMORANTS?!

Wilson's Plover with crab

As I always say, “A bad day birding in Texas in April is a great day of birding.”
Clapper Rail strolling away

A little ways further along the peninsula we stopped in along a side-road that provided for close looks at several WHIMBREL, as well as more of both WILLETS and WILSON’S PLOVERS. The major highlight here was getting good looks at a CLAPPER RAIL as it swam along a ditch then walked away through the sedges. The great thing about Clappers is that they’re often too big to hide in the grass! We also managed some scope views of a couple lingering NELSON’S SPARROWS (always great to see!), and lucked into a small group of foraging STILT SANDPIPERS. A lone SEDGE WREN chattered about 10m off the road but never came into view.

Next we headed out onto the beach at the Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary. Here we found numerous SANDERLINGS, as well as a bunch of shorebirds we previously had at Rollover Pass. We added the declining PIPING PLOVER however, along with a few other new ones like RED-BREASTED MERGANSER, LESSER SCAUP, and HORNED LARK.

After lunch we returned to Boy Scout Woods where things seemed to have quieted down a fair bit. On our way there, I was very pleased to find a male BRONZED COWBIRD at a feeder at the local RV Park. This species is rare on the upper coast but has been showing up more frequently in recent years. After passing on the sighting to a few others, word spread quickly and it seems as if many people were able to relocate the bird over the next week.

Since there was little in the way of warbler action at Smith Oaks, we opted to walk over to the nearby heron “rookery” (as they call it). Here, hundreds of GREAT, SNOWY, and CATTLE EGRETS, join with TRICOLORED HERONS, ROSEATTE SPOONBILLS, and NEOTROPIC CORMORANTS, to form an impressive display of plumes and noise. They all nest on a series of islands in a small man-made lake which can be easily viewed by a series of platforms set up by the Houston Audubon Society. In addition to the nesting show, we also had obscured but satisfactory looks at our only PURPLE GALLINULE of the trip!
Great Egret showing off
Since it was getting late in the afternoon, we opted to head back to Winnie, stopping briefly at some flooded fields near Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge. Here we picked up a good number of BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS, along with at least 5 AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS.
We finished the day with an impressive 134 species!

Day 6(April 19th)—We awoke today to a sunny calm. Certainly pleasant weather for birding although not conducive for big warbler numbers (since they can continue north, well beyond the coast when flying conditions are ideal). Still, we had faith that today would be a good day. We were headed to Sabine Pass, right on the Louisiana Border, where Chris Charlesworth’s British tour group had had some good numbers of warblers the previous day, along with a few other treats.

We ended up taking a slightly longer route (via Beaumont, TX) but this paid off when several FISH CROWS fly past the vehicle as we crossed Taylor Bayou (a known hotspot for this species at the western end of its range). From there, we arrived at Sabine Woods around 830 AM. This sanctuary is owned by the Texas Ornithological Society, and is similar to High Island in that it is a nice stand of live oak, located near the coast, surrounded by saltmarsh and ranch-land—It is a magnet for trans-gulf migrants. Although the weather was sunny and calm, with light southerlies, there were still a fair amount of warblers lingering from the northerly front of a couple days ago. Soon after paying the entrance fee, we were looking at our first BLUE-WINGED WARBLER, followed closely by a male AMERICAN REDSTART, and a pair of BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLERS. As we meandered around the trails, it was clear that the most abundant warbler was TENNESSEE WARBLER, making for many comments like this, “Oh! Oh! Aw no, just another Tennessee.” Shame on us! YELLOW WARBLERS and NORTHERN PARULAS could be heard singing but avoided our bins, but luckily we were all able to get onto a sneaky OVENBIRD that crept quietly along the ground underneath a thick canopy of young oaks. Several PALM WARBLERS performed well, along with a single BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER, and a handful of WOOD THRUSHES.
Birding Sabine Woods
I was starting to wonder where all the people were. We had seen about 10 vehicles parked outside yet we had only run into one person after 30 minutes of birding! Then it became clear. Someone rain down the path toward us and asked (panting), “Do you know where the Black-whiskered Vireo is? My friend said he just saw it.” We shook our heads. I knew that one of these rare vireos from Florida and the Antilles had been spotted two days previous but I thought it was long gone. We heard more shouts, and jogged down the path to a clearing where everyone had gathered. Apparently we had missed it by 5 minutes! Dang… We spread out with the other birders, hoping to relocate it, but could see nothing but the similar-looking RED-EYED VIREO. Val also saw a WORM-EATING WARBLER, while the rest of the group managed to all see both WHITE-EYED and YELLOW-THROATED VIREOS. About ten minutes past, then someone informed us that the vireo was being seen again, this time in the centre of the sanctuary. We tracked down the shouts of joy and sounds of camera shutters and this time we were in luck—the bird was foraging at eye level only 10 meters away! At times it was well-hidden in the foliage, but then it would hop out into view, apparently uncaring of human attention. This was a lifer for everyone including me!

Black-whiskered Vireo!!!
Buoyed by are triumphant vireo addition, we piled back into the van and headed to the coastal saltmarshes of Texas Point. Along the pothole-ridden Pilot Station Road, we tallied a nice variety of wetland and seabirds like NEOTROPIC CORMORANT, BROWN PELICAN, GREAT and SNOWY EGRETS, TRICOLORED HERON, ROSEATTE SPOONBILL, SORA, and CLAPPER RAIL. WILLETS are common in this habitat, but we also had good looks at a few groups of WHIMBREL, as well as both SOLITARY and SPOTTED SANDPIPERS. Overhead, LAUGHING GULLS, LEAST, FORSTER’S, and ROYAL TERNS were present in good numbers anytime we looked up, while BOAT-TAILED GRACKLES squealed from nearby fence-posts. At least 5 SEASIDE SPARROWS came into view for us—lifer for most, although we didn’t find any Nelson’s Sparrows which typically winter here.
Part of the crew at Texas Point
In addition to the marsh and ocean birds, this road can also be productive for migratory passerines that sometimes concentrate in the row of tamarisks that line the road (since there is no other habitat for them). Based on the weather, I wasn’t expecting much, but it was actually quite productive. The star of the show was a YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO, who flushed a few times before we were all able to see it perched out in the open. This prize was joined by flocks of INDIGO BUNTINGS, ORCHARD ORIOLES, one SCARLET TANAGER, a male ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, and a single male BLUE GROSBEAK.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo hiding in the tamarisks
We retreated to the small down of Sabine Pass for lunch then headed out again, hoping for more warblers at Sabine Woods. We were not disappointed! Finally every member of the group was treated to great views of three of the more secretive warbler species: WORM-EATING, KENTUCKY, and HOODED. As we weaved our way around the trails, it almost seemed like there were more birds that in the morning. A male PROTHONOTARY WARBLER sang from a pond edge, while several VEERYS and a single SWAINSON’S THRUSH joined the cautious gatherings of WOOD THRUSHES. A very nice addition was a pair of LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSHES that someone tipped us off about in one of the far corners of the sanctuary. Nearby, a pair of YELLOW-BREASTED CHATS popped into view occasionally, and another pleasant surprise was a PRAIRIE WARBLER that I spotted foraging low beside a slough. Other warblers added to the day list here were BLACKBURNIAN (Always a crowd-pleaser!), CHESTNUT-SIDED, and BLACK-THROATED GREEN. While I heard the odd GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER sing, we were not able to get clear looks at any, however we did see a male BREWSTER’S WARBLER BACKCROSS (i.e. ¾ Golden-winged and ¼ Blue-winged). This was my first personal sighting of one of these neat-looking hybrids. This particular bird looked like a silvery-gray version of a Blue-winged Warbler but with a bright golden cap. We left Sabine Woods around 3pm, feeling quite good about ourselves!
Sneaky Prairie Warbler bouncing around on the other side of the slough
When we returned to the hotel in Winnie, we showered and took a bit of a break. I offered to take people out on an optional pre-supper birding excursion to High Island, and not surprisingly everyone showed up! We headed straight to the headquarters at Boy Scout Woods where a woman told us that a Yellow-green Vireo was being seen at Smith Oaks! Not only would this be a lifer for most, but who wouldn’t want to claim seeing both Black-whiskered AND Yellow-green in the same day!? So we all hopped in the van and sped over toward Smith Oaks, only to get behind this guy…

After following the seemingly oblivious brush-mover for about 5-10minutes, we finally made it to the S.O. parking area, and trotted over to the far side of the sanctuary to where the bird had supposedly been recently seen. Like our first experience with the Black-whisker however, there were several, “it was just on that branch about 10 minutes ago” comments. We searched high and low for the bird, along with about ten other diligent birders, but no one could turn it up again. But we were not completely shut out. We enjoyed close looks at another HOODED WARBLER, along with a BLACK-THROATED GREEN and BLUE-WINGED WARBLER. Jane spotted our only MAGNOLIA WARBLER of the trip, and a beauty he was. We also got brief looks at our first BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO of the trip, along with clearer views of a singing EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE and a YELLOW-THROATED VIREO.

On our way back to Winnie, we made one final stop near Anahuac, along the “Skillern Tract.” Having missed Black-crowned Night-Heron last year, I wanted to make sure we snagged it and I knew that this was a good place for them but only in evening. Sure enough, we counted over a dozen BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS. The other nice pick-up here was a very obliging KING RAIL that called incessantly as it walked along the edge of a roadside ditch. Thanks buddy! 123 species today.

Day 7(April 20th)—Our first birding area today was Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge. Much of the vegetation and dykes in this expansive wetland refuge were devastated by Hurricane Ike in September, 2008, but thanks to the efforts of refuge staff and volunteers, as well as the resilience of nature, the birds are returning in good numbers to the sedge-flats, cattails, ponds, and fields.

We stopped in first to the Skillern Tract (where we found the Black-crowned Night-Herons the evening previous). Finally we were all able to get views of several COMMON GALLINULES, one of which had some chicks. Several LEAST BITTERNS sang from the cattails and one popped up into view for a few seconds. There were good numbers of waterfowl and herons about, but I was pleasantly surprised when I flushed a BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO from a low shrub beside the slough next to our van!
Least Bittern
After a pit-stop at the main Anahuac headquarters, we embarked on a driving loop through the main unit of the refuge. The bounty of wetland birds continued with our first GULL-BILLED TERNS of the trip (a pair doing a courtship display), a good mix of ducks and herons, and several new shorebirds including 2 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS and a flock of 10 WILSON’S PHALAROPES. While other birds like this LEAST BITTERN put on a great show for the group, we were also pretty jazzed up by all the AMERICAN ALLIGATORS that sun-bathed beside the road. Some real doozies!

Glad he's on the other side
We stopped for lunch in High Island then proceeded out onto the Bolivar Peninsula, following up on a rumour of Dickcissels and Bobolinks in the area. It didn’t take long to find the DICKCISSELS. Soon after pulling onto “Tuna Drive,” we spotted two different flocks totally over 80 birds! If those smart, yellow and black-chested sparrows weren’t enough, we also managed to eventually pull out 2 male BOBOLINKS singing from the thick scrub along the road. At the end of the road, lone male BLACKPOLL and BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLERS worked the lone patch of trees, along with a watchful nesting pair of SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHERS. Then a group of DICKCISSELS landed a tree, joined by a mixed flock of INDIGO BUNTINGS and BLUE GROSBEAKS—colour overload! On the other side of the field we also picked out a single YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO along with a male SUMMER TANAGER and ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK. Pretty darn good for a dingy side road surrounded by salt-marsh!
We finished off the day behind a realty building near Chrystal Beach on the Bolivar Pen—here we found 7 UPLAND SANDPIPERS in their usual field. Yes—birds are everywhere on the Texas Coast!

Day 8(April 21st)—This morning the winds had changed. After yesterday’s calm southerlies, she was blowing a gale from the north—good news for us? Or were the winds too strong? Trans-Gulf migrants typically take off from the Yucatan coast at night, then drop into Texas in the afternoon. Larger songbirds like grosbeaks and orioles usually make it in around lunchtime while warblers usually don’t make it across until mid-afternoon. Northerly winds that hit them as they cross the Gulf can tire them out and push them down onto the coast, but the front reaches Mexico before the birds take off, then they won’t leave at all!
We thought it would be a good idea to head straight to High Island just in case there was some sort of a “fall-out.” Upon arriving, the steady procession of dejected faces leaving Boy Scout Woods seemed to indicate that the birds had not come. Since it was still early in the morning, I figured we might have a good chance to pick up a singing or calling Gray-cheeked Thrush, since they’re almost always around this patch of woods at this time of year, but can be impossible to find later in the day when they’re not calling. Sure enough, as we rounded the corner near “Prothonotary Pond,” I heard several burry notes and there on the ground about 10 feet from us was a GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH. Splendid.
Checkin' out a Gray-cheeked Thrush
Since it was otherwise pretty quiet in the woods, we opted to head out along the Bolivar Peninsula to try and clean up some of the waterbirds we were missing. The winds were strong, but there were still quite a lot of birds feeding out on the sandbars at Rollover Pass. Loads of terns and shorebirds all performed well—especially a large group of AMERICAN AVOCETS that demonstrated their unique swishing technique. We also tallied 4 REDDISH EGRETS—giving us the complete North American heron sweep!
Moulting Reddish Egret with swishing American Avocets
Next it was on to Bolivar Flats where we were once again unable to locate a Snowy Plover, but we did manage to find a good number of RED KNOTS as well as an impressive tally of the other cool plovers—38 WILSON’S and 25 PIPING! A single WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER allowed for a close approach in a small puddle on the beach, and the whole group got some nice looks at a few HORNED LARKS. Our only GREATER SCAUP of the trip was spotted sleeping on the beach, and Val pointed out a RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD that flew in off the Gulf!

Late last night, I saw a report online of a “possible Tropical Mockingbird” at Sabine Woods. I didn’t want to change our whole itinerary based on a single “possible” bird and I knew we would have at least one more chance to head over there if the bird was confirmed and sticking around. Well thanks to the power of cell-phone technology, we were told back at High Island (after lunch) that the bird was indeed showing well and had been allegedly confirmed to be a Tropical Mockingbird—the first record for the United States if accepted! With little doing around Boy Scout and Smith Oaks, it was time to load up and head back toward Louisiana!

Along the way a few more FISH CROWS made an appearance, again in the vicinity of Taylor Bayou. We made it to Sabine Woods by 2pm, and sure enough, 50+ vehicles were parked along the road. We entered the sanctuary to find that the bird had been seen recently but was currently MIA. With all those eyes, it didn’t take long before someone re-find it and soon we were all trying to pick out the fieldmarks that make the TROPICAL MOCKINGBIRD different from the common Northern Mocker. The black wings were obvious, both in flight and at rest, and a few times when the bird flew and then spread its tail-feathers to land, we could see the “tell-tail” pattern.
Poor photo of Tropical Mocker--showing the black wings
The Tropical Mockingbird is a common species in the Yucatan and further south into South America. It is generally non-migratory and this no doubt has contributed to its absence from the USA! This was the first time any of us had witnessed an “ABA First,” (Pending an official ruling) so there were smiles all around. Like High Island, warblering was slow around Sabine Woods but we did pick up a few goodies on our short walk such as a single ACADIAN FLYCATCHER and a female PAINTED BUNTING.

Tonight we spent the night in Lumberton where we dined at the “Catfish Cabin.” Good reviews all around. We went out owling after dinner around Village Creek State Park (our first taste of “The Big Thicket.” Unfortunately the best we could find in the bird department was a distant calling BARRED OWL and a night-singing NORTHERN CARDINAL. The stars were fantastic however, and the variety of crickets, frogs, and fire-flies made for an enjoyable evening.

This Swainson's Warbler being uncharacteristically obliging
Day 9(April 22nd)—Today was our last day, and it was also going to be one of our biggest and most diverse days in terms of habitats visited and birds seen.  Things started off well at the hotel, when 12 FISH CROWS flew over the parking-lot giving their distinctive “gug-uh” call—leaving a nearby roost perhaps? From Lumberton we drove north into the heart of the Big Thicket—a patchwork of protected riparian thickets, pine forest, and swamplands, that represent one of the rarest ecosystems in the United States. Our first stop was Martin Dies, Jr. State Park, where one of our main targets for the day was surprisingly easy to find. Usually hidden deep within a thicket or cypress swamp, this male SWAINSON’S WARBLER was perched out in the open singing away!
The dawn chorus of songbirds here was quite productive, with the chips, slurs, and whistles of many other Texas breeders like WHITE-EYED, YELLOW-THROATED, and RED-EYED VIREOS, CAROLINA CHICKADEE, TUFTED TITMOUSE, BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER, PROTHONOTARY, HOODED, PINE, and YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS, NORTHERN PARULA, and SUMMER TANAGERS, all chiming in. This park borders on a large reservoir of the Neches River. At the water’s edge, a BALD EAGLE flushed from a large cottonwood, then later on back at the parking lot we had good looks at both RED-BELLIED and RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS, but we could only hear the squeaky calls of a single BROWN-HEADED NUTHATCH.
The group welcoming the morning at Martin Dies, Jr. State Park
Next up was a place called Boykin Springs in Angelina National Forest. It’s a little bit out of the way if you’re staying on near the Upper Texas coast but in recent years it has become the most reliable site for Bachmann’s Sparrows in East Texas. It is also one of the last strong-holds of the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker, which we missed on Day 1! As we turned in off the highway, the rising song of a PRAIRIE WARBLER could be heard from the vehicle. I drove first to the woodpecker spot, where Chris Charlesworth and I had found them a week previous. Although the forest was fairly quiet for the most part, it didn’t take long to locate a pair of RED-COCKADED WOODPECKERS, who bickered away as they flecked bark of some trees about 40 meters from us. Off in the distance a couple BACHMANN’S SPARROWS sang, but I figured we’d have a better shot at another place deeper into the woods. The forest here is carefully managed for both of these declining species. The most obvious technique is the controlled burns that keep the understory open for the sparrows, and kill off the odd tree so that the woodpeckers can have a good supply of beetle larvae and nest-trees.

The endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker

Anyways, we headed over my usual sparrow spot, and right away we could hear another BACHMANN’S SPARROW singing. Problem was—it was about 100m off the road. We waited for a while but it seemed clear that this bird had no intention of moving closer so we trekked out through the shrubs (this just happened to be the one part of the woods with a healthy crop of poison ivy). We did our best to avoid the three-leaved plants and did our best to try and track down the sparrow. But after about 15 minutes of scanning, and the bird moving or shutting up… well we just couldn’t get on it, then he went totally silent. Given that we had a big day ahead of us, we decided to leave—unfortunately with a “heard only” marked beside the Bachmann’s.

But things picked up soon enough. After piling into the van, we headed south, back toward Winnie following a route I had never taken before. We were driving through an area of thick second-generation forest, so I was a bit surprised to see several raptors circling over the road ahead of us—vultures on some road kill? No they’re really white underneath… Swainson’s Hawk? No wait… SWALLOW-TAILED KIIIIIITTEESSS!!!!!!!!!!!! I pulled off to the side of the road immediately and all 8 of us piled out in time to watch 3 of these beauties—perhaps the World’s most elegant bird of prey—glide low over the road, not sure why. Then another raptor came into view—a BROAD-WINGED HAWK! A lifer for some and quite a relief, as this was our only one of the trip!
Do I really need a caption?
From there we continued south through the mixed woods and farm-land to Winnie, then onward to High Island, where not surprisingly, things were still fairly slow. We took one last walk around Smith Oaks, and were quite happy to get great looks at a male CERULEAN WARBLER as well as both BLACKPOLL and YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS.

Male Blackpoll Warbler
We waved goodbye to High Island and headed west on the Bolivar Peninsula. One last-ditch effort for the Snowy Plovers proved futile as there were a lot of people using the beach, so we continued to the tip of the peninsula and right onto the Galveston Ferry. This 15-minute free-ferry shuttles people and cars back and forth from the historic port of Galveston and the Bolivar Peninsula and is a great place to see gulls, terns, pelicans, and perhaps the odd jaeger or frigatebird. Unfortunately we did not add anything new on the ferry but it was a gorgeous way to spend part of our last full day in Texas. A gang of BOTTLENOSE DOLPHINS followed us across, and it was also neat to see a group of BLACK SKIMMERS laid out flat in their resting-posture (on a patch of sand).
A pleasant addition to the trip-list: Tropical Kingbirds

Once on the island, we headed straight for the causeway to Pelican Island where Texas A&M has a campus. Here it didn’t take long to find the previously-reported pair of TROPICAL KINGBIRDS—a nice add to our list as this species is quite rare in East Texas (but rapidly increasing in population in the Rio Grande).

Our final birding stop of the tour was Offatt’s Bayou, where a group of COMMON LOONS were known to be lingering about. Sure enough there were 10 of them floating out in the middle of the bay—my first for Texas, and somewhat of a humorous “last bird” of Texas 2012 for the British Columbian crew!
We returned to Houston for a late dinner and a final tally of the bird list—274! Quite an improvement on the 259 from last year (which was an all-time high for Avocet Tours on this route), so you could say we did quite well!

Wish you were on this tour and want to know when the next one is happening? Come with me to California/Arizona in Aug/Sep!!! Check HERE for details.

Here is the complete list (Highlights in CAPS):

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck

Fulvous Whistling-Duck

Wood Duck


American Wigeon

Mottled Duck

Blue-winged Teal

Northern Shoveler


Lesser Scaup

Red-breasted Merganser

Northern Bobwhite

Common Loon

Pied-billed Grebe


Neotropic Cormorant

Double-crested Cormorant

Brown Pelican

American Bittern

Least Bittern

Great Blue Heron

Great Egret

Snowy Egret

Little Blue Heron

Tricolored Heron

Reddish Egret

Cattle Egret

Green Heron

Black-crowned Night-Heron

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

White Ibis

White-faced Ibis

Roseate Spoonbill

Black Vulture

Turkey Vulture



White-tailed Kite

Mississippi Kite


Northern Harrier

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Cooper's Hawk


Red-shouldered Hawk

Broad-winged Hawk

Swainson's Hawk


Zone-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Crested Caracara

American Kestrel

Peregrine Falcon

Clapper Rail

King Rail


Purple Gallinule

Common Gallinule

American Coot

Black-bellied Plover

American Golden-Plover

Wilson's Plover

Semipalmated Plover

Piping Plover


American Oystercatcher

Black-necked Stilt

American Avocet

Spotted Sandpiper

Solitary Sandpiper

Greater Yellowlegs


Lesser Yellowlegs

Upland Sandpiper


Marbled Godwit

Ruddy Turnstone

Red Knot


Semipalmated Sandpiper

Least Sandpiper

White-rumped Sandpiper

Pectoral Sandpiper


Stilt Sandpiper

Buff-breasted Sandpiper

Short-billed Dowitcher

Long-billed Dowitcher

Wilson's Snipe

Wilson's Phalarope

Laughing Gull

Franklin's Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Herring Gull

Least Tern

Gull-billed Tern

Caspian Tern

Black Tern

Common Tern

Forster's Tern

Royal Tern

Sandwich Tern

Black Skimmer

Rock Pigeon

Eurasian Collared-Dove

White-winged Dove

Mourning Dove

Inca Dove

Common Ground-Dove

Monk Parakeet

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Black-billed Cuckoo

Greater Roadrunner

Eastern Screech-Owl

Barred Owl (Heard only)

Common Nighthawk

Chuck-will's-widow (Heard only)

Chimney Swift

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Belted Kingfisher

Red-headed Woodpecker

Golden-fronted Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

Red-cockaded Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

Eastern Wood-Pewee

Acadian Flycatcher

Alder/Willow Flycatcher

Black Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe

Vermilion Flycatcher

Ash-throated Flycatcher

Great Crested Flycatcher


Tropical Kingbird

Western Kingbird

Eastern Kingbird

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Loggerhead Shrike

White-eyed Vireo

Bell's Vireo

Black-capped Vireo

Yellow-throated Vireo

Warbling Vireo

Philadelphia Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo


Blue Jay

Western Scrub-Jay

American Crow

Fish Crow

Chihuahuan Raven

Common Raven

Horned Lark

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Purple Martin

Tree Swallow

Barn Swallow

Cliff Swallow

Cave Swallow

Carolina Chickadee

Tufted Titmouse

Black-crested Titmouse


Brown-headed Nuthatch

Cactus Wren

Canyon Wren

Carolina Wren

Bewick's Wren

House Wren

Sedge Wren

Marsh Wren

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Eastern Bluebird


Gray-cheeked Thrush

Swainson's Thrush
Wood Thrush

American Robin

Gray Catbird

Northern Mockingbird


Brown Thrasher

Long-billed Thrasher


European Starling

Cedar Waxwing


Worm-eating Warbler

Louisiana Waterthrush

Blue-winged Warbler

Golden-winged Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler

Swainson's Warbler

Tennessee Warbler

Orange-crowned Warbler

Nashville Warbler

Kentucky Warbler

Common Yellowthroat

Hooded Warbler

American Redstart

Cerulean Warbler

Northern Parula


Magnolia Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Blackpoll Warbler

Palm Warbler

Pine Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-throated Warbler

Prairie Warbler

Golden-cheeked Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Wilson's Warbler

Yellow-breasted Chat

Olive Sparrow

Spotted Towhee

Rufous-crowned Sparrow

Canyon Towhee

Cassin's Sparrow

Bachman's Sparrow (Heard only)

Chipping Sparrow

Clay-colored Sparrow

Field Sparrow

Vesper Sparrow

Lark Sparrow

Black-throated Sparrow


Savannah Sparrow

Grasshopper Sparrow

Nelson's Sparrow

Seaside Sparrow

Lincoln's Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

Summer Tanager

Scarlet Tanager

Northern Cardinal


Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Blue Grosbeak

Indigo Bunting

Painted Bunting



Red-winged Blackbird

Eastern Meadowlark

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Brewer's Blackbird

Common Grackle

Boat-tailed Grackle

Great-tailed Grackle


Brown-headed Cowbird

Orchard Oriole

Hooded Oriole

Bullock's Oriole

Baltimore Oriole

Scott's Oriole

House Finch

Lesser Goldfinch

House Sparrow

Additional species seen/heard by me either before, during, or after the tour:

Green-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, Surf Scoter, Anhinga, Long-billed Curlew, Western Sandpiper, Barn Owl, Northern Flicker, Blue-headed Vireo, Bank Swallow, Swamp Sparrow


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