TEXAS April 2012 Part 1

A few weeks in south Texas in April were just what Kathi and and I needed to knock off the winter doldrums. We spent our time roughly in thirds - in Hill country, in the lower valley, and near Corpus on the coast. I try to avoid High Island which to me is the most over-rated migrant trap in North America.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - Mustang Island

To me, the SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER is the perfect icon for an April visit to south Texas. Its showy, spectacular and amazingly... they are EVERYWHERE you look. In a single day its not unusual to see hundreds of them strung out along the roadsides. This year was no different as we had superb close views of dozens of scissor-tails.

Whooping Crane adult and year old immature

One of the birds Kathi really wanted to see was Whooping Crane, so we took the morning boat trip out of Rockport with captain Tommy Moore. We were not disappointed. These trips are good value. He offers a first class trip and we had superb views of whoopers. This adult and year old were only a few hundred feet away. We had a great long study of these birds as they fed close by. During the three hour trip we tallied 19 whoopers. When I returned just a week later most of these birds had moved north but we still found about five remaining.

Black-capped Vireo - Hill country
One of my goals for this trip was to get decent photos of both Black-capped Vireo and Golden-cheeked Warbler. The vireo is easy to hear but often tough to see well. It never seems to stop moving! This time we found a male that was singing steadily very close to the road about 60 miles north of Concan. I tried to predict where it might pop out of a small bush and focused on the branch. Within seconds the vireo appeared right on cue on the branch and I fired off three shots. One of them (above) turned out quite well. Sometimes its better to be lucky than to be good!

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