Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Gray Flycatcher at South Padre Island, 10/23/18

After a cool drippy day with a north wind yesterday, I decided to head out to South Padre Island and see if the good warblers reported lately were still around.  Weather was better but it was still gray with a stiff north wind.  As I pulled up to the Sheepshead lot I had to be careful not to run over a couple of Black-throated Green Warblers and a Magnolia Warbler.  I knew it was going to be a good day.  A couple of other birders I know were present and we were having a great time chasing warblers around.  American Restarts were all over.  I failed to get a good shot of the Bay-breasted and Palm Warblers.  Dang!

Then I wandered over to the corner on Laguna to check out the mesquites and there was this little gray Empidonax flycatcher.  It was really gray.  And had a relatively long skinny bill with a yellow lower mandible with a black tip.  And it wagged its tail downwards instead of a quick upwards flick like most empids.  Holy smokes!  Gray Flycatcher!  Best I can tell it's the first ever record of this western species for Cameron County and only the second for the Valley.  One wintered at Bentsen back in 2011.  This was my 403rd species for Cameron County.

Now back to the pretty birds.  I finally got another Bay-breasted Warbler at the Convention Center.  It has been a really good fall for this species.

And got the Palm Warbler at Sheepshead.

Chestnut-sided Warbler is usually hard to find in fall.  Several have been reported lately.

It was so dark I opened my ISO up to 1600 and the shots weren't that bad.  Here's an Ovenbird.

Probably saw 20+ Magnolia Warblers today.

And just as many American Redstarts.

We usually have a few Black-throated Green Warblers spend the winter.

Plenty of Black-and-white Warblers around.

Vireos included White-eyed, Warbling, Yellow-throated and several Philadelphias.

Fall Scarlet Tanagers are always a treat.

My first Hermit Thrush of the fall.

And there were two Wood Thrushes.

This White-crowned Sparrow at Sheepshead was a surprise.

I wanted a Black-billed Cuckoo but had to settle for a couple of Yellow-billeds.

Yesterday I saw my first Yellow-bellied Sapsucker of the fall in our yard.  Saw another today.

Heck of a day!  I'm ready for bed.

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