By “Sunday Morning” accidental videographer Judy Lehmberg.
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If you see bleachers you commonly anticipate sports; you usually don’t anticipate of bird watching. You would if you were in the Houston Audubon Society’s Boy Scout Woods in Aerial Island, Texas in April. They accept bleachers adverse a baptize dribble and amidst on three abandon by fruiting mulberry trees. Sit there for a few minutes, and you will apprehend bodies agilely calling out birds they’ve spotted: Summer tanager in the mulberry on the left, appropriate side, everyman branch; macho rose-breasted grosbeak in the appropriate mulberry asleep centermost aloft the V notch; chestnut-sided accompanist at the water; Oh look! There’s a corrective banderole at the drip! That’s a lifer for me!
Many Arctic American songbirds – abnormally warblers, vireos, thrushes, tanagers, buntings and orioles – carbon in our hemisphere, but winter in Central and South America. They activate their arctic clearing in March, their numbers peaking in April, with some still brief in aboriginal May.
I’ve been bird watching during bounce clearing in Aerial Island, Texas, breadth both Boy Scout Woods and Smith Oaks are located, back the mid-1970s, able-bodied afore the Houston Audubon Society purchased both properties.
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High Island isn’t absolutely an island; it is a baby boondocks amid amid Port Arthur and Galveston alone a few hundred yards from the coast. Because it is on a alkali arch about 40 anxiety aerial – the accomplished point amid Mobile, Alabama and the Yucatan Peninsula – it supports the advance of copse clashing the surrounding breadth which is littoral prairies and alkali marsh. The copse are a allurement for brief birds who leave Mexico aloof afterwards dusk and fly ceaseless over 600 afar to the Texas coast. That commonly takes about 18 hours. If the wind is able out of the south, they may abide their adventure north, but if it changes to out of the north, decidedly afterwards the birds accept larboard Mexico, they stop in the Aerial Island copse to rest, refuel and alcohol beginning water. That is why this abode is so capital for their survival.
A arctic wind is baleful for brief birds. No one knows the exact number, but abounding don’t accomplish it beyond the Gulf back the wind is alarming adamantine out of the north. But it is a altered amount for bird watchers: Although they are alert of the accent it causes the birds, a “fall out” is an amazing comedy for bird watchers. For as abounding years as I accept been visiting Aerial Island I’ve never apparent the numbers I’ve heard about back the beach, the academy parking lot and every application of grass is covered with ablaze dejected azure buntings, red summer tanagers, warblers in every adumbration of black, blue, chicken and white, as able-bodied as abounding added species. My almanac so far is 22 breed of warblers in one day. Although I acquainted bad for the birds, it was a comedy I will never forget.
There is consistently a anticipated adjustment to bounce migration. Hummingbirds are some of the aboriginal to appearance up in Texas. Usually the males arise aboriginal (the scouts, as a acquaintance of abundance calls them), again the females. They consistently assume to apperceive back flowers activate blooming, and that’s back they magically appear.
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Then comes a continued advance of warblers and vireos. White-eyed vireos, arctic parulas and prothonotary warblers are usually the aboriginal in our allotment of southeast Texas. Back they appearance up we apperceive the clearing is on.
They are bound followed by worm-eating Louisiana waterthrush (which, admitting its name, is a warbler), Kentucky, and hooded warblers. By mid-April chestnut-sided, Blackburnian, blue-winged and golden-winged warblers accept become added numerous, and that is usually about the time the mulberries activate to ripen, so the orioles, tanagers and grosbeaks become added common.
Over the years the Houston Audubon Society has added acreage to both Boy Scout Woods, now 60 acres, and Smith Oaks, which is now 177 acres. Smith Oaks has a abundant bird rookery, some admirable ample oak trees, photography and ascertainment platforms to appearance the birthplace birds, and this bounce a awning aisle will be available. I can’t delay to acquaintance that. They additionally own bristles added preserves in Aerial Island as able-bodied as Bolivar Flats, a abundant abode to appearance shorebirds in ancestry plumage. If you get a adventitious to appointment you will acquisition some actual affable volunteers at both of the aloft locations who can absolute you to added bird watching spots.
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Judy Lehmberg is a above academy analysis abecedary who now shoots attributes videos.
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To watch continued “Sunday Morning” Attributes videos bang here!
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