Texas: Fall 2018

1 August – 30 November

Eric Carpenter |
[email protected]

Eric Carpenter (Central Texas),

Bert Frenz (Central Oaks & Prairies),

Anthony Hewetson (Northwest Texas – Panhandle and South Plains),

Jim Paton (JiP) (Trans-Pecos),

Ross Rasmussen (North Central Texas)

Willie Sekula (South Texas),

Ron Weeks (RWe) (Upper Texas Coast),

David Wolf (DWo) (East Texas Pineywoods)

Recommended citation:

Carpenter, E., et al. 2020. Fall 2018: Texas. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-8YS> North American Birds.

Contributors

T. Jay Adams (TJA), Rodney Allen (RAl), Trevis Allen (TrA), Ty Allen (TyA), John Allendorf (JAl), Dean Anderson, John Anderson (JAn), Susan Andres (SAn), Connie Andrus (CAn), Marlin Andrus, Steve Arena (SAr), Erik Atwell, Ruben Ayala (RAy), Colby Ayers (CAy), Bob Baez (BBa), Carol Bailey, R.J. Baltierra (RJB), Ron Baltzeger (RBa), Gail Barnes (GBa), Kate Baumbach (KBa), Bill Beaty (BiB), Grant Beauprez (GrB), Michael Behrens (MBe), Gary Benderim (GBe), John Berner (JBe), Brian Berry, Brandon Best (BrB), John Biddick (JBi), Stephanie Bilodeau (SBi), Gene Blacklock (GBl), Jeff Boatright (JeB), Jason Bonilla (JaB), Justin Bosler (JuB), Robert Boyd (RBo), Allen Boynton, Jim Brady (JiB), Michael Braun (MBr), Lamont Brown (LBr), Kelly Bryan (KBr), Marissa Buchow (MBu), Tamie Bulow, Yvonne Burch-Hartley (YBH), Simon Burton (SBu), Geoff Butcher (GBu), Larry Butler (LBu), Winston Caillouet, Bryan Calk, Mike Cameron, Kris Cannon (KrC), Michelle Cano (MCa), Skip Cantrell (SCa), Katherine Cavazos (KaC), Juan Chavez (JuC), Jack Childs (JaC), Lorna Clevenger, Joe Cochran (JoC), Sheridan Coffey (SCo), Don Coleman (DoC), Fred Collins, Jim Collins (JCl), Patrick Conway, Greg Cook, Dennis Cooke (DeC), Mel Cooksey (MCo), Michael B. Cooper (MBC), Jim Crites (JiC), Melissa Crookshank (MCr), Cinda Crosley, Joshua Crumpton (JCu), D.D. Currie (DDC), Seth Cutright (SCu), Thomas Dagonet (ThD), Neva Damron, Tripp Davenport (TrD), Ian Davies, Sandy Dillard, Ted Drozdowski (TDr), Gil Eckrich, John Faber (JFa), Debbie Feagin, Christian Fernandez, Jackie Ferrell (JFe), Shawneen Finnegan (SFi), Joe Fischer (JFi), Kevin Floyd, Susan Foster (SFo), Tony Frank, Brush Freeman (BrF), Bob Friedrichs (BoF), Raul Garza (RGa), Richard Gibbons (RGi), Elliott Ginger, Nick Glover, Steve Glover, Javi Gonzalez (JGo), Caleb Gordon, Bernd Gravenstein, David Grise, John Groves (JGr), Mary Gustafson, Martin Hagne (MHa), John Hale (JHl), Matthew C. Hale (MCH), Greg Hall (GHa), Jeff Hall, Andrew Hamlett (AHa), David Hanson, Reid Hardin (ReH), Jennifer Harrell (JeH), Daniel Harvey (DHa), Dave Harvey (DHr), Drew Harvey (DrH), Nancy Haubert, John Haynes (JoH), Howard Haysom (HHa), Meredith Heather (MHe), Sheila Hebert (ShH), Rick Heil, Eric Heisey (EHe), Garrett Hellman (GHe), Jim Hengeveld (JHe), Susan Hengeveld (SuH), Richard Hermosill (RHe), Glen Herzog (GlH), Randy Hesford (RaH), Anthony Hewetson (AHe), Kelly Himmel, Janet Hix (JHi), Petra Hockey, Joan Holt (JHo), Daniel Horton (DHo), Ed Huestis (EHu), Jason Huestis (JaH), Lisa Hughes, Mark Hughes (MHu), Jason Hunt (JHu), Huck Hutchens (HHu), Dave Irons, Pat Isaacson, Jeffrey Jackson, Farokh Jamalyaria, Michael James, Erik Johnson, Thomas Johnson, Dan Jones, Peter Keyel (PKe), Simon Kiacz, Richard Kinney (RKi), John Kiseda, Phillip Kite (PKi), Ad Konings, Rich Kostecke (RKo), Alex Lamoreaux, Gustino Lanese, Dominic LeCroissette (DLe), James Leatherwood (JLe), Crystal Ledezma, Duke Leibler (DuL), Don Lima (DLi), Virginia Lindgren, Brad Lirette (BLi), Dell Little (DeL), Mark Lockwood, Scotty Lofland, Jason Loghry (JLo)

Contributors (cont.)

Bill Lupardus (BLu), Karen Mansfield, Alberto Manterola (AMa), John Mariani (JoM), Michael Marsden (MiM), Chris Marshall, Jean Martin (JeM), Mark Mayer (MMa), Steve Mayes (SMa), Michael McCloy (MMC), Dan McCrady (DMc), Wendy McCrady, Mark McDermott (MMc), Steven McDonald (SMc), Todd McGrath (TMc), Liam McGuire, Jon McIntyre (JMc), Bonnie McKinney, Michael McMann, Alison McManus (AMc), M.K. McManus-Muldrow (MKMM), Paul Micallef, Jennifer Miller (JMi), Tyler Miloy (TMi), Jorge Montejo, John Moorhouse (JMo), Arman Moreno (AMo), Tom Morris (TMo), Russell Moses, Derek Muschalek (DMu), Gretchen Nareff (GNa), Bruce Neville, Glen Novinger (GNo), Vincent O’Brien, Andrew Orgill, Brent Ortego, Dora Ortego, Sue Orwig, Tira Overstreet, Greg Page, Greg Palko (GPa), Jim Paton, Dina Perry, Barrett Pierce, Randy Pinkston (RPi), Matt Poole, Rusty Pritchard, Janet Rathjen (JaR), Jim Ray (JiR), Judy Reeves (JRe), Martin Reid (MaR), Michael Retter (MiR), Lora Reynolds (LRe), Albert Ribes, Louise Ridlon (LRi), Cecilia Riley (CRi), Steve Riley, Justin Roach (JRo), Don Roberson, Peggy Rudman, Chris Runk, Chip Ruthven (CRu), Bill Sain (BiS), Madaleine Sandefur (MSa), Boyd Sanders (BoS), Ben Sandifer, Ben Sandstrom (BSa), Laura Sare (LSa), David Sarkozi (DSa), Ted Schaefer, Mark Scheuerman (MSc), Christine Schroeder (CSc), Jamie Schubert (JSc), Willie Sekula, Cliff Shackelford (CSh), Ryan Shaw (RyS), Scott Shaw (SSh), Rebecca Sher (ReS), Brad Shine (BSh), Jim Sinclair, Jim Sipiora (JSi), Letha Slagle (LSl), John Smelser (JSm), Doug Smith (DSm), Howard Smith (HSm), Kenneth Smith, Sue Smith (SSm), Christine Snitkin (CSn), Brent Spink (BSp), John Sproul (JSp), Shirley Stafford (ShS), Anna Stalcup, Denise Stephens (DSt), Steve Stevens (StS), Harlan Stewart (HSt), Mike Stewart (MSt), Yvette Stewart, Ruben Stoll (RSt), Victor Stoll, Byron Stone (BSt), Michelle Summers (MSu), Bill Supulski (BSu), Romey Swanson (RSw), William Tarbox, Usha Tatini, Robert Truss, Connie Unsicker, Tom Unsicker, Gustavo Valero, Raymond VanBuskirk, Angelina Vasquez, Tim Vasquez, Christian Walker (ChW), Daniel Walker (DWa), Evan Ward (EWa), Craig Watson (CWa), Jeremy Webster (JWe), Nic Webster, Ron Weeks, Casey Weissburg, Carol Wells (CWe), Ed Wetzel (EWe), Greg Whitaker, Todd White, John Whittle (JWh), David Wolf (DWo), Michael Womer, Adam Wood, Bill Wright, Barry Zimmer.

Abbreviations

L.R.G.V. (Lower Rio Grande Valley); U.T.C. (Upper Texas Coast).

Waterfowl

Notable was a count of 35 Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks at Dimmitt City Park, Castro 9 Nov (GrB), indicative of the continued expansion of this species to the north. A dozen Fulvous Whistling-Ducks at Braunig Lake, Bexar 8 Nov (ph. CSc) was a good inland count. A group of about twenty Greater White-fronted Geese seen flying low over fields near Dell City, Hudspeth 24 Nov (SCo, MaR, WS) was an excellent total for the western Trans-Pecos. A Tundra Swan near Post, Garza 16 Nov (JuB) was a nice find. A much smaller all black Muscovy Duck thought to be a truly wild bird was near Progresso Lakes, Hidalgo 18 Nov (ph. DJ). A count of 8 Cinnamon Teal at Cattail Marsh in Beaumont, Jefferson 12–18 Nov was an exceptional total for the U.T.C. (ph. HSt). A Mexican Duck was at the O’Donnell Playa, Lynn 9 Sep (JuB) and another was at the Oppliger Cattle Pond, Parmer 26 Oct (GrB). A male Mottled Duck was at Candleridge Park, Fort Worth, Tarrant 22 Oct–Nov 3 Nov (MiR, MCH, JAl, ph.). A female Greater Scaup photographed at the Cross Creek Wetlands, Fort Bend 19 Oct was a new fall early date for the U.T.C. (ph. RW, JaB).

It was a banner season for migrating Surf Scoters through the interior of the state. Notable sightings included 2 at Mitchell Lake, Bexar 20-21 Oct (ph., m.ob.), one at Southside Water Treatment Plant, Dallas 30 Oct – 4 Nov (CR, MJ, m.ob.), one at Lake Benbrook, Tarrant 7 Nov (JAl), another at Greenville City Lakes, Hunt, 10-20 Nov (GC, RKi, ph.), one on Canyon Lake, Comal 14-22 Nov (ph. SSh, m.ob.), one at Village Creek Drying Beds, Tarrant, 17–26 Nov (JAl, m.ob., ph.), one on Lady Bird Lake, Austin, Travis 24 Nov – 1 Dec (ph. JAn, m.ob.), and another at Fort Hancock Reservoir, Hudspeth 25 Nov (SCo, ph. MaR, WS). A female type White-winged Scoter photographed in the reflection pool at the San Jacinto Monument, Harris 21 Nov was notable (ph. BW). A lone male Black Scoter was picked out of a large raft of scaup at Aransas N.W.R., Aransas 22 Nov (PH) while further upcoast another male was seen at the Matagorda Bay Nature Park & Jetty, Matagorda 24 Nov (ph. JBe). A count of 33 Black Scoters at the Galveston Seawall, Galveston 16 Nov was a high count (BLi). This was the first of several high counts from along the entire coast that surprisingly included many adult (male) birds. A female/immature Long-tailed Duck was early near the Port Aransas Jetty, Nueces 5 Nov (AL, CW), while another along the coast was at Aransas N.W.R., Aransas 22 Nov (PH). Another Long-tailed Duck lingered at Mitchell Lake, Bexar 24 Nov+ (ph. RAy, m.ob.) while 2 Long-tailed Ducks were in Hudspeth 25 Nov – one at Fort Hancock Reservoir (SCo, ph. MaR, WS) and another at a flooded area along the Rio Grande below Fort Quitman (SCo, ph. MaR, WS). Casual east of normal range was a Common Merganser at Greenville Lakes, Hunt 20-26 Nov (RKi, PI, RBa, ph.).

Grebes Through Swifts

An out-of-range Least Grebe wandered to the Fort Stockton Wastewater Treatment Ponds, Pecos 12-26 Aug (ph. JuB, m.ob.) and to Rio Grande Village, Big Bend N.P., Brewster 3 Nov (ph. ML); a first record for Grimes, up to 2 were at Carlos Lake 19 Aug-8 Sep (†TMi, m.ob.). The easternmost Clark’s Grebe was one on Lake J.B. Thomas, Scurry 4 Nov (GC, SG). A certain highlight of the season was a cooperative White-crowned Pigeon at the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center, Cameron 2-14 Oct (MM, ph., m.ob.), providing just the third state record. The Max A. Mandel Golf Course in Webb seems to be the place for birders to see Red-billed Pigeon with a count of 22 birds 14 Nov (EHu) being the most impressive. A Common Ground Dove at San Bernard N.W.R., Brazoria 9 Aug (CWa) may well have summered as this species has been heard singing there in past years. A singing White-tipped Dove heard independently by two different observers at San Bernard N.W.R., Brazoria 10 Aug and later (audio JFi) became the first documented record for the U.T.C. (EJ, CF). Two were heard at the same location on 12 Aug leading one to wonder if the species may have bred there this past summer (TMo, JBe, MHa, HSm), one was still singing there 27 Oct (MHa, DSt, CL).

Lingering Yellow-billed Cuckoos were at Lafitte’s Cove, Galveston 18 & 24 Nov (RAl, TrA, JFi) and at Port Aransas Wetland Park, Nueces 23 Nov (JHo, CRi, MBe, NH). A Black-billed Cuckoo 10 miles southeast of Gillett, DeWitt 12 Sep (DMu) was a tough fall migrant away from the coast; one studied well at Magic Ridge, Calhoun 15 Nov was incredibly late (PH, BrF). A Lesser Nighthawk reported from Rosehill Cemetery in Corpus Christi, Nueces 16 Nov (MCo) was a late migrant. Out of place and a little late was a Common Poorwill roosting at a shopping center just southeast of Cedar Park, Williamson 2 Nov (ph. AMo). Three Chuck-will’s-widow flushed at night from the roadside at San Bernard N.W.R., Brazoria 27 Nov were late (DMc, WM). Single Eastern Whip-poor-wills were heard by field biologists familiar with this species and Chuck-will’s-widow, near Huntington, Angelina 5 Sep (fide CSh) and near Alazan Bayou W.M.A., Nacogdoches 6 Oct (fide CSh). Though presumably regular, fall migrants are rarely detected inland in the Pineywoods. An Eastern Whip-poor-will found on South Padre Island, Cameron 18 Nov (ph. JGo) was late. Very rare to casual in El Paso, a well-described Chimney Swift at Rio Bosque Wetlands Park 13 Nov (JSp) was also notably late. On the U.T.C., a late Chimney Swift was in Beaumont, Jefferson 2 Nov (ShH).

Hummingbirds Through Cranes

An immature male Ruby-throated Hummingbird visited an El Paso, El Paso yard 23 Oct (ph. BZ). Fall records have increased markedly in recent falls in El Paso. It is unclear if this represents a change in migration patterns or just increased observer scrutiny, particularly of late Archilochus. An interesting Black-chinned X Anna’s Hummingbird allowed some close study in far northwest Austin, Travis 25 Aug – 8 Sep (ph. AMo). A female Costa’s Hummingbird was in El Paso, El Paso 10 Aug (ph. BZ) while a male lingered in Alpine, Brewster 23-30 Aug (ph. LSl, m.ob.). Totally unexpected was a second north-central Texas and first county records of Costa’s Hummingbird, an adult male, at a residential feeder in Rains 9 Nov (PI, ph.).

In Nueces single Calliope Hummingbirds were well documented with a sub-adult male at Hazel Bazemore County Park 3-6 Sep (ph. AO) and a female at Packery Channel 4 Sep (ph. DHo). Lone Broad-tailed Hummingbird were good finds near the northeast side of Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, Bell 5-9 Aug (ph. GE), at Reimer’s Ranch Park, Travis 14 Sep (ph. JJ), and one just south of Belton Lake, Bell 27 Nov+ (ph. HSt); in south Texas, a female was near Mission, Hidalgo 11 & 17 Nov (ph. LC). A male Broad-billed Hummingbird was a popular attraction at Davis Mountains S.P., Jeff Davis 29 Jul – 17 Sep (ph. GBe, m.ob.); a female was present close to the McDonald Observatory, Jeff Davis 24 Aug (ph. LSl). A female White-eared Hummingbird banded west of Fort Davis, Jeff Davis 28 Aug (ph. KBr) remained until 8 Sep (m.ob.) and was the only one reported this season. Establishing a first record for north-central Texas was a Buff-bellied Hummingbird that wandered hundreds of miles north of normal range to a residence in Fort Worth, Tarrant 3 Nov (MiR, MCH, GC, ph.).

Purple Gallinules continued at Carlos Lake to at least 23 Sep (TMi). Recently fledged chicks were noted 19 Aug (TMi), a first breeding event for Grimes. The highest count was 4 adults and one with 4 chicks on 8 Sep (BSt). Briefly seen at a close range in wetland habitat was a well-described Black Rail along Davis Rd, Seagoville, Kaufman 4 Oct (JHu). A count 25 Sandhill Cranes near Texarkana, Bowie 6 Nov (RBo) was a very large flock for this far east; this species is a rare and irregular migrant in the Pineywoods. Whooping Cranes sightings in north-central Texas included 7 flying over Lake Benbrook, Tarrant 2 Nov (JAl, ph.) and 8 in flight from Hatcher Road, Joshua, Johnson 5 Nov (TyA, ph.). A flock of 7 Whooping Cranes first heard and then seen flying over Mottled Duck Marsh at Brazoria N.W.R., Brazoria 10 Nov were a high count for the U.T.C. (JMo).

Shorebirds

Fall records of American Golden-Plover are sparse in the Central Brazos Valley, so sightings this season at Lake Somerville, Washington 19 Aug (ph. RKo) and in Brazos 9 Sep (SD) and 12 Nov (†MMC) are noteworthy. Rare-for-fall were a single American Golden-Plover reported from South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center, Cameron 1 Sep (MSa), 2 on a sod farm in Matagorda 16 Oct (ph. BoF, KS) and another bird seen at a different Matagorda location 23 Oct (BoF). Five Semipalmated Plovers below Fort Quitman, Hudspeth 14 Oct (JP) made for a good local tally and were also getting late. Piping Plovers again had a good showing in north-central Texas with up to 3 at Lake Lewisville Park, Denton 9-10 Aug (KaC, ph.) and singles at Lake Benbrook, Tarrant 9 Aug (JAl, ph.), and Hagerman N.W.R., Grayson 26 Sep – 9 Oct (ND, JaC, ph.). Up to 2 Snowy Plovers were at Windy Point on Lake Travis, Travis 9-21 Sep (ph. DA, m.ob.), while one at Nolan Falls S.P., Hill 17 Aug (BrB, ph.) was a county first. Only the third record for Washington and the first photo-documented are 6 Snowy Plovers 8-9 Sep (ph. BSt) at Overlook Park, Lake Somerville.

An Upland Sandpiper seen and heard at close range near Sealy, Austin 15 Nov was very late for the species (SR). A flock of 14 Whimbrel at Brazoria N.W.R., Brazoria 7 Oct was a large number for fall (MHa). A lone Hudsonian Godwit photographed at a Matagorda sod farm 16 Oct (ph. BoF) provided for a rare fall occurrence in the state. A first county record for Lee, a Marbled Godwit was photographed at Lake Somerville S.P.-Nails Creek, 3 Sep (ph. RKo). A first fall Red Knot in Lubbock, Lubbock 9-13 Sep (JMi, AHe, m.ob., ph.) was an outstanding find as a migrant for anywhere in Texas, especially in the fall. A count of 19 Stilt Sandpipers below Fort Quitman, Hudspeth 14 Oct (JP) were a good total for the date. Twelve Buff-breasted Sandpipers at Lake Somerville is a first record for Lee 4 Aug-3 Sep (ph. RKo); one along Bieri Road in Matagorda 31 Oct (BoF) was running late to get to its typical South American wintering grounds.

An amazing count of 481 Western Sandpipers was tallied at Lake Somerville S.P.-Nails Creek, Lee 3 Sep (†RKo), and becomes the highest count ever for the 24-county central Oaks & Prairies region. Owing to severe drought, water levels were exceptionally low, providing a half-dozen distinct mudflat expanses. An American Woodcock was spotted feeding in a wet area under some bushes at the Valley Land Fund Lot on South Padre Island, Cameron 26 Nov (ph. LH, MHu). Late migrating Solitary Sandpipers 29 Nov were found both at Lake Travis, Travis (CSn) and Buescher S.P., Bastrop (ph. SMc). A seventh record for Lee was a Willet at Lake Somerville S.P.-Nails Creek 26 Aug (SCo); 4 were there 3 Sep (RKo) and one was there 8 Sep (BG). Easterly Red-necked Phalaropes included 2 in a flooded field at the Blue Sky Sod Farm on Wolf Springs Road, Dallas 23 Sep (EWe, MJ, GC, ph.), one at the Lawson Road Sod Farm, Kaufman 29 Sep (GC, m.ob. ph.) and another at Hornsby Bend, Travis 18-20 Oct (ph. JuB, m.ob.). Five Red-necked Phalaropes found at La Sal del Rey N.W.R., Hidalgo 8 Nov (DJ) were eclipsed by eight birds on 16 Nov (HHu).

Jaegers Through Terns

A Parasitic Jaeger was seen in Cameron waters on the South Padre Island pelagic trip 22 Sep (m.ob.). A Long-tailed Jaeger provided for some excitement for pelagic birders in offshore Kenedy waters on 31 Aug (ph., m.ob.). An adult Sabine’s Gull was seen intermittently at Imperial Reservoir, Pecos 9 Aug – 8 Sep (ph. JuB), while other singles were at Smith Point, Chambers 21 Sep (DSa), and at Lake Lewisville, Denton, 22 Sep (RHe). Two immature Bonaparte’s Gulls at Sea Rim S.P., Jefferson 21-27 Oct were early (ph. ShH). An immature Laughing Gull was at Imperial Reservoir, Pecos 9 Aug – 8 Sep (ph. JuB) while 250 on Lake Livingston, San Jacinto 6 August (MBr) were a very high count for this inland lake. A count of 826 Franklin’s Gulls from the Texas City Dike, Galveston 31 Oct was a nice fall total for U.T.C. (ph. DeC).

A second cycle Western Gull found at the Port Aransas Jetty 25 Oct (ph. AO) provided an exciting new Nueces and Coastal Bend record. It was seen flying over the north jetty 26 & 27 Oct which made for a new Aransas record. A California Gull at Balmorhea Lake, Reeves 27 Oct (ph. ML), another at Fort Hancock Reservoir, Hudspeth 11 Nov (JP) and 6 at the Dell City sewage ponds, Hudspeth 24 Nov (SCo, ph. MaR, WS) was a notable regional total. An Iceland (Thayer’s) Gull was a nice find on Lake Nasworthy, Tom Green (ph. RaH, ph. TV), as was one at White Rock Lake Spillway, 20 Nov (CR, ph.). A Lesser Black-backed Gull seen near Hemphill, Sabine 14 Nov (TDr, GC) was only the second Pineywoods record away from Lake Livingston; farther north, an adult was at various Lubbock parks, Lubbock 15-18 Nov (JuB, PKe, PKi, m.ob., ph.).

A Brown Noddy was well documented on the Port Aransas pelagic trip in Kenedy waters 31 Aug (ph. m.ob.). The Port Aransas pelagic trip 31 Aug encountered two different large groups of Sooty Terns in Kenedy waters which totaled at least 64 birds (MG et al.). A Bridled Tern was seen on the Port Aransas pelagic trip 31 Aug in Nueces (ph. AO, JMc) waters along with another bird in Kenedy (ph. m.ob.). A Least Tern 11 Aug (ph. †JHl, †MMc) at Millican Reserve is the sixth record for Brazos; also unusual was one at Maxey Park, Lubbock 4 Aug (AHe). Two Black Terns at Brazoria N.W.R., Brazoria 11-12 Nov were late (GBu, ph. EG). Always a nice fall migrant inland, there were almost a dozen Common Terns this season highlighted by one at Balmorhea Lake, Reeves 23 Aug (WS), up to 2 at Lake Lewisville Park, Denton 12 Sep-15 Oct (KaC, DHr, ph.), at least 4 at Lake Ray Hubbard, Dallas/Rockwall 23 Sep (GC) and one at Leroy Elmore Park, Lubbock 13-17 Sep (JMi, AHe, m.ob., ph.). Two Royal Terns on Lake Trinity near Sebastopol, Trinity 6 October (BN, LSa) were a very rare inland sighting that was not storm related; likewise, for 2 others at Washington-on-the-Brazos S.H.S., Washington 16 Sep (†SBu, BN, LSa).

Loons Through Pelicans

A very early Common Loon was seen from Lake Corpus Christi S.P., San Patricio 19 Sep (GBl). As many as 6 Band-rumped Storm-Petrels were tallied on the 31 Aug Port Aransas pelagic trip in Kenedy waters (m.ob.). A total of 22 Cory’s Shearwaters was made on the 31 Aug Port Aransas pelagic trip with at least two birds in Nueces waters and the rest in Kenedy waters (m.ob.). The majority were identified as ‘Scopoli’s’ with a few birds having characteristics of C.d. diomedia. A single Cory’s Shearwater was seen on the South Padre Island pelagic trip in Cameron waters 22 Sep (m.ob.). Twenty Audubon’s Shearwaters were seen the 31 Aug Port Aransas pelagic trip in Kenedy waters (ph. m.ob.). Wood Storks lingered late into the period with the latest being singles at Brazos Bend S.P., Fort Bend 24 Nov (ph. KBa) and Willow Waterhole in Houston, Harris 24-25 Nov (ph. MMa, TS); a nice record for the Edwards Plateau was one in Fredricksburg, Gillespie 1 Nov (ph. GlH). A lingering Magnificent Frigatebird was seen at Port Aransas Jetty, Nueces 23 Nov (DSa).

A very confiding Masked Booby was present most of Oct & Nov (ph., m.ob.) on South Padre Island, Cameron on Pier 19 or the jetty, usually begging for fish from fishermen. An immature Masked Booby on East Beach in Galveston 21 Nov (RSw, ph. GHa) was rather late. In the Pineywoods, a Brown Booby was off Pointblank on Lake Livingston, San Jacinto 6 Aug (MBr), likely the same bird reported on the lower part of the lake in July. Brown Booby continues to be observed with increasing frequency in the Coastal Bend (fide MCo) with a minimum of seven birds seen this fall. The most notable being an inland bird seen at Lake Corpus Christi, Jim Wells 10 Oct (ph. JeM, CC). Single birds were seen on pelagic trips 31 Aug in Nueces and Kenedy waters (m.ob.) and 22 Sep in Cameron waters (m.ob.). On the U.T.C., 4 Brown Boobies were at the historic Baytown Nature Center location, Harris 9 Sep (ph. AW, ph. JaR, ph. JFa). An impressive 9 boobies were there on 16 Sep, the last day they were reported there (ph. GP). Another was seen flying over the West Sam Houston Tollway, Harris 29 Sep (RGi). The species was also present at Pleasure Island, Jefferson 11-25 Nov (ph. SMa, et al.) with a peak of 7 on 14 Nov (JoH). One was also seen along the ship channel in Galveston 21 Nov (ph. DeC, JaR). A sick Northern Gannet was picked up on a Mustang Island, Nueces beach 14 Sep and taken to a stranded bird rehabilitation facility where it died two days later (fide AO). An odd time of year for this sulid to be in Texas since winter is more in line with its typical occurrence in the state. A Brown Pelican wandered to Mitchell Lake, Bexar 24 Aug – 4 Sep (TJA, ph. m.ob.); one at Millers Creek Reservoir, Baylor, 18 Aug (SL) was a county first.

Bitterns Through Spoonbills

An American Bittern at Anahuac N.W.R., Chambers 23 Aug was early – or potentially a local breeder (TMc). Providing a first record for Bell, an injured Least Bittern was found in Belton 27 Sep and brought to a local rehabber who was able to nurse it back to health (ph. fide RPi). Post-breeding wandering Tricolored Herons made a nice westward push this fall with the westernmost being in Lamesa, Dawson 6-7 Aug (TJ) and in Midland, Midland 18-22 Aug (ph. GPa, m.ob.). They also made it to the Trans-Pecos with 2 at Imperial Reservoir, Pecos 9-11 Aug (JuB) and another at Keystone Heritage Park 21 Sep (KF). As many as 13 Tricolored Herons were counted leaving a long-legged wader roost at the Attoyac Bayou on upper Lake Rayburn, San Augustine 1-22 Sep (DWo et al.), a high count for any one inland site in the Pineywoods. Reddish Egrets made a strong showing along the eastern edge of the Edwards Plateau and central Oaks and Prairies with close to a dozen birds at various locations; the highlight was 3 individuals at Mitchell Lake, Bexar 22-29 Aug (ph. DP, m.ob.). Three different Reddish Egrets were present at Imperial Reservoir, Pecos at various times 2 Aug – 5 Oct (BiS, ph. JuB) while northward, one was at Lake Benbrook, Tarrant, 10-21 August (DDC, DeL, m.ob.) and another wandered to County Line Lake, Archer / Wilbarger 2 Sep (SL).

Quite rare in the Trans-Pecos and exceptionally so in Big Bend country, a White Ibis spent much of the season along the Rio Grande south of La Linda, Brewster 31 Aug – 17 Oct (ph. BM). A new high count for Lee is 108 White-faced Ibis at Lake Somerville S.P., Newman Bottom 3 Sep (RKo). Rarely reported in Limestone, up to 41 White-faced Ibis were at Fort Parker S.P. 16 Sep-5 Oct (SG, †CC). It was a big fall for wandering Roseate Spoonbills throughout the Pineywoods and they were reported in at least 10 counties through the period. The last was a very late bird at Alazan Bayou W.M.A., Nacogdoches 18 Nov (DWo). The northernmost were 6-10 at Summer Hill Lake, Bowie 14-22 Oct (m.ob.). Good records for Lake Somerville are up to 68 Roseate Spoonbills 13 Jul-5 Oct (RKo, m.ob.) at Nails Creek, Lee. A Roseate Spoonbill north and west to O.C. Fisher Lake, Tom Green 15 Aug (ph. JuB) was a real outlier.

Vultures Through Hawks

A Turkey Vulture near Dell City 4 Nov (ph. JP) was late for Hudspeth and, once again, small numbers stayed into winter at Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, El Paso (m.ob.). White-tailed Kites were in evidence at Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, El Paso (m.ob., JSp) through much of the period with as many as 6 during September and the last reported 21 Nov (JSp). Single White-tailed Kites were found in the Sam Houston N.F., Walker, 1 Aug (TW) and near Douglass, Nacogdoches 21 Sep (CWe); this species is a rare and irregular wanderer within the Pineywoods. Of note were single Hook-billed Kites seen upriver in Starr at Santa Margarita Bluffs 10 Nov (RV et al.), Falcon S.P. 10 Nov (JM) and Salineno 16 Nov (JBi). Up to 3 Swallow-tailed Kites, the first for north-central Texas in two years, were found soaring over woods along Blindsey Road, east of Malloy Bridge Road Dallas 26 Aug – 9 Sep (EWe, m.ob. ph.). A Swallow-tailed Kite strayed a bit to Uvalde’s Cook Slough, Uvalde 7 Aug (ph. TrD).

A Golden Eagle was a casual unexpected find near Quanah, Hardeman 17 Nov (SL). Golden Eagle is rare in South Texas so an immature bird documented from Hazel Bazemore County Park, Nueces 30 Oct (ph. RJB, JCu, CW) was noteworthy as well as an adult reported from Lake Corpus Christi S.P., San Patricio 21 Oct (GBl). On the U.T.C., the only Golden Eagles were singles seen from the Smith Point Hawk Watch, Chambers (DH) and ne. of Monaville, Waller (FC) both on 10 Nov. Four Bald Eagles in Fayette 10 Nov (WT) is a high count for Lake Fayette; one at Santa Ana N.W.R., Hidalgo 7 Nov was noteworthy (ID et al.). An impressive tally of 4,443 migrating Mississippi Kites was made 9 Sep at Hazel Bazemore County Park, Nueces (DHo, RJB). The Harris’s Hawk tally at the Smith Point Hawk Watch, Chambers totaled 7 birds from 21 Aug to 15 Nov (BBa), but interestingly the only other report was of one seen at San Bernard N.W.R., Brazoria 25 Nov (ph. TO, ph. DLe).

A White-tailed Hawk that made it as far north as just 5 miles east of Bartlett, Bell 28 Oct (ph. NW) was presumably the same one that spent the rest of the period around Granger Lake, Williamson (m.ob.). Reports of White-tailed Hawk extending into the Central Prairie have increased this season. Only the second record for Milam, a White-tailed Hawk was described south of Rogers 10 Nov (†JH). A sixth record (the first was in 1937) for Brazos is a first-year White-tailed Hawk at turf farms on Sims Cutoff 29 Sep (ph. †JHl, MMc). Another was at the Horizon Turf Farms 1 Sep (ph. BB), a seventh record for Burleson. Yet another was in farmlands near Calvert 22 Aug (AMa), a seventh record for Robertson. An immature Red-shouldered Hawk in the Chisos Basin, Brewster 6 Nov (ph. GHe) was perhaps the first in Big Bend National Park in several years. An adult Swainson’s Hawk photographed along Mason Creek, Harris 27 Nov was late (ph. MW). A Zone-tailed Hawk in El Paso, El Paso 29 Aug (JP) was only about the tenth county record. Usually reported annually in Bastrop, though an exciting sighting nonetheless, an adult Zone-tailed Hawk was seen 24 Nov (ph. †ReH) at Bastrop S.P. and the same or another was 5 miles away the next day (†BG) at Colorado River Refuge. A Ferruginous Hawk first noticed in the winter of 2010-11 and returning each subsequent winter, was seen 18 Nov+ (ph. †MaR, SCo) at Sayersville Road, Bastrop.

Owls Through Parrots

Quite unusual and hardly ever detected as a migrant, a Flammulated Owl was brought into the South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center from Plainview, Hale 9 Oct (GBa); one that roosted in a Houston, Harris yard 29 Oct (ph. SO, et al.) was just the fourth record for The U.T.C. In the Coastal Bend, of note for the barrier islands were single Burrowing Owls at Port Aransas Nature Preserve, Nueces 29-30 Nov (LRe et al.) and at Matagorda Island S.P., Calhoun 12 Nov (DWa). A Barred Owl north of Canyon, Randall 6 Oct (JiR) was well to the west of expected range. Two Long-eared Owls were at Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, El Paso 9 and 10 Nov (JSp). Elsewhere, a road-killed bird was picked up near Lake Brady, McCulloch 5 Nov (ph. MBu), another struck a window but recovered and flew off at a residence in Irving, Dallas 11 Nov (JeH, MC, ph.), and one was at Village Creek Drying Beds, Tarrant, 16-17 Nov (CAy, m.ob., ph.).

Fort Bend’s second Ringed Kingfisher was a one-day wonder at the Sienna Planation subdivision 2 Sep (RGi, JBe, ph. MSc, ph. RW). Out of range was a Red-headed Woodpecker at Middle Concho Park/River, Tom Green 28 Oct (ph. RaH). An early Yellow-bellied Sapsucker appeared in Tyler S.P., Smith 18 Sep (BoS).

The only Lewis’s Woodpecker in the state this season was one in the northwest part of the Davis Mountains, Jeff Davis 5 Oct (Mark Lockwood). Providing only the second documented record for north-central Texas was a Red-naped Sapsucker at a small unnamed park near the Hubbard Creek Reservoir dam, Stephens 14 Oct (MSu, GC, SG). A Crested Caracara was out of range at Matador W.M.A., Cottle 1 Oct (MP, CRu, ph.). A Prairie Falcon was early along F.M. 2846, Holiday, Archer 8 Sep (SL). Uncommon in Bastrop, a Prairie Falcon was described 23 Nov (ph. †MSt, YS) at Sayersville Road; another unsuccessfully attacking a Snow Goose 20 miles north of Ganado, Jackson 29 Nov (JWe). A count of 16 Monk Parakeets made along Joe Fulton Corridor, Nueces 15 Oct provided for a new location in Corpus Christi and is indicative of the growth and expansion after 30 years of establishment (MCo).

Flycatchers

A Great Crested Flycatcher was west to El Paso, El Paso 17 Sep (ph. JGr) where casual; another westward stray was at Lake Rita Blanca, Hartley 8 Oct (BSa). Even with their ever-increasing range, a Great Kiskadee in Midland, Midland 20 Aug (ShS, CB) was still surprising. A one-day wonder but certainly one of the highlights in Texas this season was the state’s seventh Piratic Flycatcher at South Llano River S.P., Kimble 22 Sep (ph. BLu).

The Tropical Kingbirds found at Ascarate Park in July for a first El Paso record (JK) were much in evidence in August with at least two staying through at least 17 Sep (m.ob.). As many as ten or more birds were present and it appears at least two pairs successfully bred. Hudspeth got its first records when lone birds were found at two sites near Dell City 2 Sep (ph. JP) with one relocated 16 Sep (ph. JP). Far-ranging vocalizing Couch’s Kingbirds were in Big Spring, Howard 21-22 Aug (ph. JeB) and Big Lake, Reagan 27 Aug – 9 Sep (DSa, GC, SG). A Couch’s Kingbird briefly returned for the third consecutive year to Nora Haney Park, McKinney, Collin 6 Nov (MKMM, ph.); one at Lake Lewisville Park, Denton and refound later at Steward Creek Park, Denton 12-30+ Nov (WC, KaC, ph., m.ob.) providing a first for the county. Hundreds of miles east of normal range was a first north-central Texas record of Cassin’s Kingbird at Lake Lewisville Park, Denton 20 Oct (KaC, ph. m.ob.). Single Western Kingbirds, rare in the Pineywoods, were near Texarkana, Bowie 26-29 Aug (JRe), in Athens, Henderson 27 Aug (EWa), near Palestine, Anderson 29 Aug (EWa), and at Caddo Mounds S.H.S., Cherokee 28 Oct (AB). Lone Eastern Kingbirds were west to below Fort Quitman, Hudspeth 9 Sep (JP) and at Ascarate Park, El Paso 18 Sep (ph. AK).

Hinting at more to come in the winter season, a Fork-tailed Flycatcher was near Rio Hondo, Cameron 19-24 Oct (ph. JuB et al.) while another along Beard Road 17-18 Nov (ph. RW, et al.) was a first for Fort Bend. Probably due to an abundance of food, Eastern Wood-Pewees lingered into late November at several South Texas locations; at Aransas N.W.R., Aransas single birds seen 29 Nov and 6 Dec set record late dates (PH). On the U.T.C., the latest one for the season was one at San Bernard N.W.R., Brazoria 20-23 Nov (ph. WM, MHe, et al.). A Yellow-bellied Flycatcher seen at Oso Bay Wetlands Preserve, Nueces 16 Nov was extraordinarily late (MCo). A late Acadian Flycatcher was at Sabine Woods, Jefferson 21 Oct (SMa, JoH). A Gray Flycatcher discovered at the Valley Land Fund Lot on South Padre Island, Cameron 23 Oct (ph. DJ) was an excellent find for the barrier island. A Black Phoebe took up residence at Hamilton Pool in far west Travis 14 Nov+ (ph. JJ, m.ob.). A Say’s Phoebe at Sea Rim S.P., Jefferson 11 Oct (ph. CM) and another near Texarkana, Bowie 26 Oct (ph. BSp) were casual migrants this far east.

Vireos Through Ravens

The only Bell’s Vireos on the U.T.C. were at Cullinan Park in Sugar Land, Fort Bend 8 Sep (TF) and at Anahuac N.W.R., Chambers 17 Nov (TMc). Rare but regular in El Paso, lone Hutton’s Vireos were in El Paso 13 Nov (BZ) and 20 Nov+ (ph. JP). A Yellow-throated Vireo was late at Tyler S.P., Smith 26 Oct (BoS); another at Lafitte’s Cove, Galveston 20 Nov was exceptionally so (JFe).

A Cassin’s Vireo visited Port Aransas, Nueces 27 Oct (ph. AMo). A Plumbeous Vireo was a surprising find at Fort Clark Springs, Kinney 10 Oct (ph. BC). A Plumbeous Vireo was observed 25 Oct at Rosehill Cemetery in Corpus Christi, Nueces (WS), where there are several previous records of this species; another bird was present at Roselawn Cemetery in McAllen, Hidalgo 7 Nov+ (RW et al.). Late Philadelphia Vireos included single birds at Frontera Audubon, Hidalgo 13 Nov (HHu, DLi), Rosehill Cemetery in Corpus Christi, Nueces 16 Nov (MCo) and Salineno, Starr 17 Nov (JHe, SuH). A Warbling Vireo made a late appearance at Estero Llano Grande S.P., Hidalgo 10 Nov (MiR et al.). Three Red-eyed Vireos present at Valley Land Fund Lots on South Padre Island, Cameron 11 Nov (m.ob.) and a single bird seen at Rosehill Cemetery in Corpus Christi, Nueces 12 Nov (ph. WS) were quite late. Quite unexpected in the Trans-Pecos or anywhere in Texas away from far south Texas, a Yellow-green Vireo was one of the highlights of the season at The Post park south of Marathon, Brewster 4-9 Sep (ph. TJA, DA).

A count of 125 Fish Crows in Cleveland, Liberty 14 Oct is further indication of the species’ slow but steady movement westward (PM). Totally unexpected was a Chihuahuan Raven photographed on North Padre Island, Kleberg 25 Oct (ph. GNa). Common Raven had been considered hypothetical in the Central Brazos Valley owing to an undocumented report in 1961. Now, a well described Common Raven was reported 10 Aug (†RM) in College Station, Brazos well east of its normal range, 58 miles southeast of the previously documented record in Marlin, Falls, and 58 miles east of documented records east of Granger Lake, Williamson, and 71 miles east of Bastrop records near Utley.

Swallows Through Thrushes

Accidental in north-central Texas was a well-described, and later photographed, Violet-green Swallow at Southside Water Treatment Plant, Dallas 3 Sep (ChW, MJ) and 25 Sep (CR, ph.); the only previous regional record was one at Lake Benbrook, Tarrant 3 Oct 2003 (MaR). Red-breasted Nuthatches staged a major “invasion” into the Pineywoods and by early November they were present throughout the region. The first reports were singles in Tyler S.P., Smith 25 Sep (BoS); Nacogdoches, Nacogdoches 12 Oct (CSh); and Center, Shelby 14 Oct (JSm). The strong influx was represented by 60 reports in the central Oaks & Prairies region, beginning with 29 Sep (RKo) at Lake Somerville S.P., Newman Bottom, Lee. The irruption reached South Texas as well, included two birds at Aransas N.W.R., Aransas 25 & 27 Oct (DMu), single birds on South Padre Island, Cameron at Valley Land Fund Lots 25 Oct (TB et al.) & 10-14 Nov (m.ob.), Isla Blanca Park 11 Nov (VL, AMc) and across the bay a lone bird was seen in Port Isabel 10 Nov (JCl). Further inland in Hidalgo a Red-breasted Nuthatch was reported from Estero Llano Grande S.P. 11 Nov (StS). By contrast, the only report of Red-breasted Nuthatch for El Paso was a male in El Paso 17 Nov (ph. JP), a stark difference to the many present in fall 2017.

Rare in recent years in deep South Texas, a Brown Creeper that visited the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center/Convention Center, Cameron 10-11 Nov (m.ob.) and another was at Estero Llano Grande S.P., Hidalgo 24 Nov (TU, CU, PC). Rare in El Paso, a Brown Creeper was in El Paso 21 Nov+ (ph. JP). A Cactus Wren at Yellowhouse Canyon, Lubbock 21 Aug (JLe) and another at the Purina Mountain Bike Trail, Lubbock 16 Sep (DrH) were noteworthy.

A Veery at Corpus Christi’s Blucher Park, Nueces 21 Oct (SCo, MaR) was noteworthy since this species is rarely detected in the Coastal Bend in fall (fide MCo). Other single birds were present on South Padre Island’s Valley Land Fund Lots, Cameron 14 Sep (JGo) & 22 Sep (JuB, CW); one at Sabine Woods, Jefferson 13-14 Sep represented one of few recent fall records for the U.T.C. (JoH, et al.). A Gray-cheeked Thrush at Buffalo Lake N.W.R., Randall 7 Oct (BP) was a nice fall find for the Panhandle while one at South Padre Island, Cameron 12 Nov (ph. GL) was on the late side. A Swainson’s Thrush was in El Paso, El Paso, 24 Sep – 3 Oct (ph. JP) where rare. A Wood Thrush was unexpected at Buffalo Lake N.W.R., Randall 7 Oct (BP). A Clay-colored Thrush was reported from the Santa Gertrudis Division of the King Ranch, Kleberg 29 Oct (JS). A Varied Thrush that paid a visit to the National Butterfly Center, Hidalgo 6-8 Nov (m.ob.) was just the fourth for the L.R.G.V. and the first there since 1997.

Thrashers Through Blackbirds

Sage Thrashers did not seem to wander that much this fall though there were a few outliers including one along F.M. 392 near Butler Road, Hardeman 27 Oct (SL), one at Honey Creek S.N.A., Comal 24 Nov (ph. DP) and another from the Southmost area of Brownsville, Cameron 24 Nov (RSt, VS). A Cedar Waxwing photographed at Smith Point, Chambers 15 Sep was the third earliest fall arrival for the U.T.C. (ph. RH, SAr). Two Evening Grosbeaks hung around Frijole Ranch, Guadalupe Mountains N.P., Culberson 28 Oct – 2 Nov (ph. DoC, DR) but were not part of any sort of irruption as they were the only ones reported in the state.

Purple Finches invaded the Pineywoods late in the season, the precursors to a major winter flight. The first were one in Tyler S.P., Smith 9 Nov (BoS) and at least 2 at the Stephen F. Austin Experimental Forest, Nacogdoches 24 Nov (RT, DWo). A Cassin’s Finch in Midland, Midland 9-11 Nov (ph. YBH) and another along the Canyon Lakes, Lubbock 3-28 Nov (DrH, PKi) were hints of the small irruption to come in the winter. Lesser Goldfinches rarely reach east to Bastrop in fall so 4 reports 1 Sep-23 Nov (DF, †KM, AS, †LRi) are noteworthy. An incredible 9 Lawrence’s Goldfinches at Frijole Ranch, Guadalupe Mountains N.P., Culberson 4 Oct (ph. DHa) were perhaps part of a small irruption of this species to the west of Texas; alas, these were the only ones reported in Texas during the season, the first in the state in over 10 years.

A Dark-eyed Junco that visited Quinta Mazatlan in McAllen, Hidalgo 17-24 Nov (m.ob.) made for a rare local record. Quite unseasonal was a lone White-crowned Sparrow just north of Kress, Swisher 4 Aug (CAn, MA, ph.). LeConte’s Sparrow has become a scare fall/winter visitor to the Coastal Bend so of note were single birds reported from the Port Aransas Jetty, 30 Oct (DHo) & Charlie’s Pasture 24 Nov (VO, SAn), Nueces and Sunset Lake, San Patricio 29 Nov (SCa). A Green-tailed Towhee was unexpected east of normal range at Post Oak Preserve, Seagoville, Dallas 10 Nov (BS et al.). A Spotted Towhee at Buffalo Bayou Park in Houston, Harris 11 Nov (CG) was rare for the U.T.C. With only scattered records across northwest Texas, one Eastern Towhee north of Kress, Swisher 15 Oct (CAn, MA), and 2 at Palo Duro Canyon S.P., Randall 7-27 Nov (DSm, SSm, BP, JiB, JoC) were noteworthy.

Only the second record for Falls, a single female Yellow-headed Blackbird was among 1200-1500 Great-tailed Grackles near Rosebud 11 Oct (†LBr). Rare in fall in the central Oaks & Prairies and only the second record ever for Lee, a Bobolink was at Lake Somerville S.P.-Nails Creek 19 Aug (†RKo). An immature Audubon’s Oriole seen at Hazel Bazemore Hawkwatch 4-5 Sep (ph. RJB, CW) provided for a noteworthy Nueces record. A male Scott’s Oriole was back for its third winter in an El Paso, El Paso yard 18 Nov+ (ph. BZ). A Bronzed Cowbird was a bit late north of Crosbyton, Crosby 25 Oct (KH). A Rusty Blackbird near Buffalo 20 Nov (†JRo) is the first fall record and the third overall record for Leon; 2 at San Bernard N.W.R., Brazoria 19-26 Nov were unusual for the immediate coast (WM).

Warblers

A very late Worm-eating Warbler was reported from The Willows on Mustang Island, Nueces 30 Oct (DHo). Rarely detected during fall in north-central Texas was a Golden-winged Warbler in McKinney, Collin on 12 Sep (MKMM, ph.). A Golden-winged Warbler lingered a long time at Frontera Audubon, Hidalgo 2 Oct – 9 Nov (m.ob.) while one at Sabine Woods, Jefferson 12 Nov was the latest ever for the U.T.C. (SMa, JoH). Rare in Lee and the first photo-documented record was a Prothonotary Warbler at Lake Somerville S.P.-Nails Creek 24 Nov (ph. RKo, ph. BrB). A Swainson’s Warbler seen at Lafitte’s Cove, Galveston 2 Oct was on the late side for this rarely detected fall migrant (KrC). Late migrants for northwest Texas, were single Nashville Warblers at Clapp Park, Lubbock 6 Nov (JiC) and in a Lubbock yard, Lubbock 24 Nov (LM). Rarely detected as a fall migrant in much of the state, a Virginia’s Warbler was also early at Lake Rita Blanca, Hartley 27 Aug (ph. EHe).

The only MacGillivray’s Warbler reported in South Texas this fall was a bird seen at the Valley Land Fund Lots on South Padre Island, Cameron 17 Sep (BiB). A Kentucky Warbler, not regularly detected in fall in north-central Texas, was at Lake Tawakoni S.P., Hunt 2 Aug (RKi). A male Hooded Warbler was out of place in Del Rio, Val Verde 18 Sep (RP et al.). A female or immature male Hooded Warbler at Quintana Neotropical Bird Sanctuary, Brazoria that lingered until 25 Nov was late (MHa, DLe, et al.). Cape May Warblers are very rare in Texas, so noteworthy was an adult male at Sabine Woods, Jefferson 11 Sep (ph. RH, SAr, JoH), 2 females there 16-21 Oct (ph. MBC, JWh, ShH, JoH, et al.), and a female at Lafitte’s Cove, Galveston 14 Nov (DuL). The only Cerulean Warbler reported from the Coastal Bend was a well-described male at Rose Hill Cemetery in Corpus Christi, Nueces 6 Oct (RJB); in Hidalgo, single males were reported from Estero Llano Grande S.P. 18 Sep (ph. JuC) and Weslaco 2 Oct (ph. BSu).

A Northern Parula at Buffalo Lake N.W.R., Randall 7 Oct (BP) was a nice find; another was a late migrant through Brazos 25 Oct (†SK) at Texas A & M University campus. A Tropical Parula visited Rose Hill Cemetery in Corpus Christi, Nueces 19-25 Oct (MCo et al.). An amazing for fall 50 Magnolia Warblers were tallied at Blucher Park in Corpus Christi, Nueces 21 Oct (SCo, MaR). Several Magnolia Warblers were reported from late November in Aransas, Nueces and Calhoun locations with the latest being seen at Magic Ridge, Calhoun 26 Nov (BO) and South Padre Birding and Nature Center, Cameron 30 Nov (JGo). On the U.T.C., the latest ones were at Lafitte’s Cove in Galveston, Galveston 22 Nov (RyS) and in Friendswood, Galveston 27 Nov (DSa).

Always a rare find during fall in north-central Texas was a Bay-breasted Warbler at Pecan Valley Park, Tarrant 11 Sep (JAl); another at Buffalo Lake N.W.R., Randall 28 Oct (DSm, SSm, ph.) was perhaps more unusual for the Panhandle. In South Texas, Bay-breasted Warbler is a difficult to find and usually undetected species in fall, however, the continuous rainy storm systems along the coast resulted in an exceptional grounding of the species. As many as three birds were found at most of the local Nueces migrant traps with a date range of 19 Oct until 18 Nov (m.ob.). Four were found at Ingleside’s Live Oak Park, San Patricio on 25 Oct (WS) while 3 were found at Aransas N.W.R., Aransas 25 Oct (DMu) and 3 again at the same location 27 Oct (SFo, JLo). On South Padre Island, Cameron up to five birds were reported from the Convention Center 11 Nov (SK, SBi, ID et al.). Single late birds were seen in Corpus Christi, Nueces on 18 Nov at Blucher Park and Rosehill Cemetery (ph. ThD, WS). On the U.T.C., late birds were at Lafitte’s Cove in Galveston, Galveston 17 Nov (JSc), and Armand Bayou, Harris 17-18 Nov (ph. AHa, ph. BB, FJ).

A Blackburnian Warbler strayed west to Frijole Ranch, Guadalupe Mountains N.P., Culberson 5 Oct (WS). Single Blackburnian Warblers seen at Max A. Mandel Golf Course, Webb 14 Nov (JaH, EHu), Rosehill Cemetery in Corpus Christi, Nueces 18 Nov (ph. WS, MCo) and Hugh Ramsey Park in Harlingen, Cameron 20 Nov (LBu) were on the late side. Late Chestnut-sided Warblers were at San Bernard N.W.R., Brazoria 15 Nov (ph. WM) and Quintana Neotropical Bird Sanctuary, Brazoria 16 Nov (MCr). The only Blackpoll Warbler present this fall in South Texas was a lone bird at Blucher Park in Corpus Christi, Nueces 21 Oct (SCo, MaR, WS); 2 at Moody Gardens in Galveston, Galveston 22 Nov were a new record late for the U.T.C. (ph. GW).

Not terribly regular anywhere away from the coast in fall, single male Black-throated Blue Warblers were on the Bamberger Ranch, 10 miles southwest of Johnson City, Blanco 28 Sep (GNo), at Martin Dies S.P., Jasper 18 Oct (JWe), and in in El Paso, El Paso 21-24 Nov (ph. JP). A male and female Black-throated Blue Warblers were at the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center/Convention Center, Cameron 22-24 Sep (ph. MCa, m.ob.); a different male and female were also at the same location 15-24 Oct (ph. PR, MiM, m.ob.). Notable were 3 Palm Warblers near Sour Lake, Hardin 17 Nov (TDr, GC) with one still in the area 21 Nov (JoM). Above normal for north-central Texas were five reports of single Palm Warblers: Cedar Hill S.P., Dallas 17 Oct (JSi), Hall office park in Frisco, Denton 18 Oct (JHu), White Rock Lake Fish Hatchery, Dallas, 18-20 Oct (CR, m.ob., ph.), Crooked Creek, County Road 3105, Van Zandt 22 Oct (RKi), and Lake Lewisville Park, Denton 25 Oct (KaC, ph.). A Palm Warbler found on the Texas A & M University campus, College Station 13-19 Oct (†MMC, †EA) is noteworthy as it is a once-in-a-decade occurrence in Brazos, while another at Lubbock Lake Landmark, Lubbock 25 Sep (JiC, BSh, ph.) was also unexpected.

West of expected range was a Yellow-throated Warbler at 2-998 Old Flatwood Road, Paradise, Wise 11 Sep (ChW, ph.). A Prairie Warbler at Lake Tawakoni S.P., Hunt 2 Aug was a casual unexpected find (RKi). Single Prairie Warblers were in Aransas 10 Sep (BO, DO), Packery Channel, Nueces 12 Sep (ph. MCo) and Port Aransas, Nueces 23 Oct (JHo). Rare but regular for the Panhandle, one Black-throated Gray Warbler was at Thompson Grove, Dallam 21 Sep (ChW) while a surprising 3 were at Buffalo Lake N.W.R., Randall 7 Oct (BP). On the U.T.C., a male found at George Ranch Historical Park 21 Nov was a first for Fort Bend (RW, ph. MSc, ph. JBe, RyS, ph. AR), while others were at Sabine Woods, Jefferson 5 Oct (JoH), and Little John, Harris 26 Oct (ph. HHa). A Black-throated Gray Warbler also dropped in on Blucher Park in Corpus Christi, Nueces 27 Oct (TF).

A Townsend’s Warbler was quite east at Colorado Bend S.P., San Saba 3 Sep (NG) and at Sabine Woods, Jefferson 6 Sep (JoH); one in a Lubbock yard, Lubbock 18 Nov (LM) and another in El Paso, El Paso 21 Nov (ph. JP) were about one month past expected fall migration dates. The only Townsend’s Warbler seen in South Texas this fall were a young male at Roselawn Cemetery in McAllen, Hidalgo 5 Nov (SFi, DI) and a young female at Santa Ana N.W.R., Hidalgo 14 Nov (ph. UT, AL, RGa). A Hermit Warbler at Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, El Paso 12 Aug (JSp) was an excellent find as a lowland migrant. A Golden-crowned Warbler found 26 Sep at Frontera Audubon, Hidalgo (AV) gave hope to birders that it would be a good fall/winter for Mexican vagrants; it continued to be seen through the end of the season (m.ob.). A late Canada Warbler was spotted on South Padre Island, Cameron 11 Nov (ph. GV).

Tanagers Through Buntings

Single late Scarlet Tanagers were at Moody Gardens in Galveston, Galveston 12 Nov (ph. GW) and at the Valley Land Fund Lots on South Padre Island, Cameron 18 Nov (DG). Northern Cardinal is rare to casual anywhere in El Paso away from Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, so a male in west El Paso 12 Aug (JP) was notable. Late Rose-breasted Grosbeaks were at Pecan Valley Park, Lake Benbrook, Tarrant 14 Oct (JAl, EWe, ph.) and at the Colleyville Nature Center, Tarrant 4 Nov (JHi, ph.). An immature Black-headed Grosbeak was seen at Rosehill Cemetery, Nueces 25 Oct (WS); another was at Frontera Audubon, Hidalgo 25 Oct (MG). A well-described Blue Grosbeak reported from Goose Island S.P., Aransas 25 Nov was late (SCu, ReS). A female Lazuli Bunting was found at Blucher Park, Corpus Christi, Nueces 21 Oct (SCo, MaR). A late inland Indigo Bunting was near Sour Lake, Hardin 21 Nov (JoM).

Report processed by Byron Swift, 10 Oct 2020

Photos–Texas: Fall 2018
Hover or click on each image to read the caption.