Spring Migration in Texas. It simply doesn’t get any better than this. Waves of warblers, flycatchers, thrushes, vireos and others all flying north from the Yucatan Peninsula over the Gulf of Mexico anxious to reach the Texas coast. Dazzling colors excite the eyes. Scarlet Tanagers, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and Baltimore Orioles each compete with each other for most colorful bird, but best of all and most coveted are the wood warblers. The males in their finest breeding colors pressing north to return to the breeding grounds. And this coming week is the peak migration. With the right weather conditions, 30 species of warbler might be possible in a day. Thousands of tired birds all putting on a show for each other and the hundreds of birders that visit the Texas Coast. How fun is that? I’ll discuss various hotspots over the next week, but suffice it to say this is the equivalent for birders as the NCAA Men’s Basketball March Madness is to a sports nut.
So after one day at home and an enjoyable evening with Linda, I’m in an airplane en route to Houston-Hobby Airport where my son Scott will pick me up. We’ll have dinner with Bill, who right now hopefully is looking at a Red-cockaded Woodpecker at W H Jones State Forest and then Bill and I will head to Sabine Pass. Actually, tomorrow we’ll enter Sabine National Wildlife in Louisiana. Then it’s five more days of birding in east Texas before Bill leaves and I fly to San Antonio. From there I’ll visit the Hill Country for the Black-capped Vireo and Golden-cheeked Warbler. Next on the itinerary are the Davis Mountains where I’ll try for Montezuma’s Quail. Finally I’ll visit Big Bend NP for the 6 mile climb to the Colima Warbler’s habitat high in the Chisos Mountains. My goal is to reach 550 species, before the return flight to Denver on April 30, but more importantly there are 45 birds I really need to see. These include specialty birds in Big Bend and the Hill Country and eastern birds that I don’t want to be forced to chase later in May and June.