Red-tailed Hawks are notoriously variable. For a Red-tailed
to have such a heavy belly band, it would have to be an
immature. Yet this bird showed no traces of white on the
head or wings (at rest) as do most immature Red-tailed
Hawks, and the throat itself was solidly dark. We base our
conclusion of "probable" Rough-legged Hawk on a combination
of all characteristics observed. This bird was observed on
a day when hawk migration was active.
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - Derek Muschalek October 26, 1991
Two Empidonax with mostly yellowish underparts including
throats. Bold yellow eye rings and olive upperparts.
Observed feeding high up in canopy. No vocalizations heard.
Identification as Yellow-bellied based on yellowish throats
Couch's/Tropical Kingbird - Gail Diane Luckner October 15,
1991. A large Tyrannus flycatcher was sighted at 9:30 AM
perched on the top line of a barbed wire fence enclosing
pasture land at Smith Point, Chambers county. The bird was
observed for about five minutes at a distance of
approximately 75 feet with 10X42 binoculars and TSN-2 scope
at 30X wide angle in excellent light. In flight the bird
was observed for about 20 seconds at a distance of
approximately 15 feet. The bird was in the company of three
When viewed from the side, the bird had a squarish,
medium-gray head and somewhat flat forehead, with a
prominent dark gray ear patch; white throat with deep yellow
breast, belly, and undertail coverts. Breast was very
lightly washed with olive. Dark olive back; unmarked dark
gray wings and tail, both faintly tinged with brown. In
flight, the tail was clearly but shallowly notched with no
white present. Large thick black bill, slightly shorter
than length of head; legs and feet black. The bird did not
Hooded Uarbler - Derek Muschalek October 26, 1991
These males had an extensive black hood and yellow face and
underparts with olive back. Loud calls heard repeatedly.
Seen at Smith Oaks, Johnson's grove and Singing Sands Rd. on
Bronzed Cowbird - P.D. Hulce October 30, 1991
One female with flock of Common Grackles and Starlings.
Slimmer than grackles. Uniform blue-black plumage with red
eye and slight ruff on the hind neck. Seen as close as 30
feet with 10X40 binoculars. Ho records the last three weeks
REPORT FROM AUGUST CH
Hudsonian Godwit - Bob Behrstock August 31, 1991. On August
31, an adult Hudsonian Godwit well into winter (basic)
plumage was located by Ted Eubanks. The bird was in a large
shallow pool in the oilfields just NW of High Island. It
was observed at the same time by Bob Behrstock, Gretchen
Mueller and Virginia Davidson, all of whom have some to
extensive experience with the species. In the same pool
were a number of other shorebird species including Stilt and
Baird's Sandpipers, Wilson's Phalarope and both Black and
Gull-billed Terns. The general impression was of a tall
gray shorebird with a bicolored upcurved bill. As the bird
foraged, the striking black and white tail pattern could be
observed. Although its bill was curved enough to eliminate
the possibility of Black-tailed Godwit, we flushed the bird
to observe its underwing pattern. Behrstock obtained one
slide as the bird flushed. The slide demonstrates the
strongly contrasting underwing pattern with blackish
coverts, upcurved bill-pinkish at its base and the general
absence of orange tones. Later the bird was relocated east
of Highway 124 and Eubanks obtained slides of th¥"bTrd."
Aging was based on the color of the back and wing
Overall shape, bill size, yellow breast and absence
of white in the tail rules out Western Kingbird. Overall
shape, bill size and yellow breast rules out Cassin's
Kingbird. The general coloration and notched tail rule out
the Myiarchus flycatchers. Although reference books show
Tropical Kingbird with a longer, thinner bill than observed
on the bird in question, this mark can be variable and
difficult to judge in the field. Since the bird did not
vocalize, must call it Couch's/Tropical Kingbird.
Bewick's Wren (Eastern form) - Bob Behrstock October 16, 18,
1991. On October 16, 1991, Gretchen Mueller observed a
Bewick's Wren in her yard on Vivian St. in Bellaire. The
observation was between 2 and 3 PM. On October 18, the bird
was observed in late afternoon by Mueller and Bob Behrstock.
On both occasions, it was observed from the ground to about
4 feet above ground foraging in Carina lilies and other
ornamentals, as well as inside and on top of brush pile.
The bird was always located by its rapid nervous foraging
and the eyecatching activity of its long expressive tail.
The bird exhibited a long, very pale but not quite white
eyestripe. Below it was pale gray with no trace of cinnamon
tones. The crown, back, wings and tail were chestnut brown
lecking bright hues. The long tail was barred with black
above. The underside of the tail was largely black, each
graduated feather was tipped with white. The pattern was
like that of a cuckoo or a trogon. The bill appeared dark
and slender.. Because there are few records of the species
"around town," pains were taken to identify it within the
context of similar species. Both observers are familiar
with the species.
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