secured before our attention was diverted from the reeds and mud flats to
a flicker perched atop a Live Oak. With the dark bark providing a perfect
background, it was no problem to identify it as a Red-shafted Flicker (Rare
Winter Resident). As we approached, it flew across an open field toward
the monument, the bright red of its wing linings gleaming In the early
morning sun. A pond further down the road provided a Pied-billed Grebe,
Little Blue Heron, and a Forester's Tern, while Peggy Lake supported
several large rafts of White Pelicans. The woods here were very nonproductive so all agreed to proceed to Miller Road. Female Indigo Buntings
were numerous and in a patch of woods near Alexander Island a Cooper's
Hawk was found flying low over the trees. An Eastern Kingbird was also
spotted in the vicinity,
Baytown Tunnel was the next stop but the water was rather high and
most of the birds had left for parts unknown. Nevertheless, Laughing Gulls
crowded a portion of the narrow beaeh and Ruddy Turnstones and a Ringed
Plover played near a large log. Seissor-tail Flycatchers often gather here
to migrate and there were five or six individuals proudly representing
their species for the last time before returning south.
Hundreds of Black Skimmers lined the north side of Hog Island but the
fishermen had frightened most of the other birds. Steve introduced us to a
marsh in Baytown which has often proved itself a magnet for rare birds. We
found no rare birds this time but a Least Bittern and Anhinga were noted,
the Anhinga performing with all Its known skill.
From Baytown we made a hurried dash to Seabrook and Kemah, only to
find that the wind had Increased and was hindering observation considerably.
All was quiet at the familiar spots until we reached the "jungle" at Kemah.
Here a bright patch of yellow darted across the trail and was quickly
Identified as a beautiful male Pileolated Warbler. This was the beginning
of a small wave of migrants which included a Magnolia Warbler, an Ovenbird,
three Parula Warblers, a Blaek-&-white Warbler, a Black-throated Green, and
We later realized that while these speoies were being observed, the
wind was blowing very little. This set up a small replica of the spring
migration waves along the coast. The wind had forced the migrants Into
the bushes and here they had remained still- and silent, except where the
woods were thick enough to afford protection for easy movement.
South of Kemah, four Snow Geese breasted the south wind and a Marsh
Hawk appeared In its usual place near Texas City. We changed our schedule
slightly at Galveston and instead of covering the west end of the island
first, we went to the jetties at the southeast corner. Our main purpose,
which was to find the Cabot's Tern, was fulfilled as no less than 61
individuals of that speoies flocked, along the flats east of the jeTHTies.
There were Herring, Laughing, and Ring-billed Gulls with them as well as a
few Royal Terns.
After a long and careful study of the terns we made our way to Duck
Lake where seven species were added: Canvasback, Eared Grebe, Coots (2),
Mallards (2), Pintail, Ruddy Ducks (2), and several Shovelers. Here the
fifth Belted Kingfisher was also added to our list. While proceeding out
S Road, Steve spotted a Western Kingbird flying overhead and another perched
defiantly on a near-by fence.
Birding at Mulberry Grove has virtually come to a stand still since
all of the buildings are being removed as well as some of the trees. It
is possible that this, the best birding locality on Galveston Island, is a
thing of the past.
After our short visit to the grove and golf course we again headed west
on Stewart Road, intensely watching the bushes and fields for signs of life.
As the corner at 13 Mi. Road was reached Steve began yelling and motioning
toward the side of the road. There in a bush about twenty feet from the
pavement sat a GROOVE-BILLED AMI. Naturally the exltment of the first few
seconds left us not very ornithologlcaly minded, but after thi3 brief time
elapsed we parked the car and studied this accidental visitor from the tip
of its loosely attached tail to its parrot-like bill. Both its wings and
tall were ragged which indicated to us that it had probably made a rather
long and strenious flight. We also heard its tropical call accompanied by
a slight jerk of the tail.
After recording a female Blue Grosbeak which had appeared for a short
while on a barbed-wire fence, we started back along the beach. Six Knots
fed leisurely near the surf but that was the extent of the new species here.
About 5:00 p.m. our small party found itself at Kempner Park frantically trying to pick up a few more birds. A female Ruby-throat was all
that satisfied our need for new speeies so we headed for Houston.