Texas: Spring 2018
1 March – 31 May
Carpenter, E., et al. 2020. Spring 2018: Texas. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-8Za> North American Birds.
Contributors (subregional editors in boldface)
Megan Ahlgren (MAh), Rodney Allen (RAl), John Allendorf, Connie Andrus, Marlin Andrus (MAn), Bettina Arrigoni (BeA), Bob Arrigoni (BoA), Mike Austin (MAu), Ruben Ayala (RAy), Helen Baines, Paul Baker, Andy Bankert, Eddie Bartley, Mark Bartosik (MBa), Judy Behrens (JBe), Mikael Behrens (MBe), Dan Belcher, David Bell (DBe), Chris Benesh (CBe), William Benton, Brandon Best, Gene Blacklock, Matt Boone (MBo), Justin Bosler (JBo), Donald Brightsmith (DoB), David Brotherton (DaB), Robb Brumfield, John Brush (JBr), Kelly Bryan, Tamie Bulow, Chet Burrier (CBu), Jimma Byrd (JBy), Winston Caillouet, Bryan Calk (BrC), Mike Cameron, Kris Cannon, Michelle Cano (MCa), Steven Cardiff (SCa), Blaine Carnes (BlC), Eric Carpenter (Eca) (Central Texas), Catherine Cavazos (CCa), Juan Chavez (JuC), Jack Chiles (JaC), Eric Clum (ECl), Sheridan Coffey (SCo), Matt Colbert (MCl), Fred Collins, Thomas Collins, Marianne Combs (MCo), Greg Cook, Mel Cooksey (MeC), Jim Crites (JiC), Christy Crowley (CCr), D.D. Currie (DDC), Laurie Dann (LDa), Tripp Davenport (TDa), Gary Davidson, Howard Davis, Matthew Daw, Vicki Dern, Sandy Dillard, Chris Distel (CDi), Donna Dittmann, Ken Dixon, Larenda Donovan (LDo), Ted Drozdowski (TDr), Bob Dunlap, Peter Dunn, Chris Dykstra (CDy), Gil Eckrich, Wyatt Egelhoff, Bill Eisele, Libby Even, Eric Faria, Jackie Farrell (JFa), Tim Fennell (TFe), Christian Fernandez, Dane Ferrell (DFe), Kenton Fewell (KFe), Drew Finn (DFi), Charles Dean Fisher (CDF), Karl Flocke (KaF), Kevin Floyd (KFl), Bert Foquet, Tony Frank (TFr), Jeff Freisleben (JFr), Bert Frenz (Central Oaks & Prairies), Anna Galvan (AnG), Alan Gann (AlG), David Gardner, Stephen Gast (SGa), Hank George, Jackie Girouard (JGi), Steve Glover (SGl), Brenda Gonzales, Javi Gonzalez (JGo), Russell Goodin, Caleb Gordon (CGo), Mike Gray, Cory Gregory (CGr), John Groves (JGr)
Georgette Gurnsey, Martin Hagne, John Hale, Tyler Hallman, Andrew Hamlett (AHa), Rodger Hammer (RHa), Lauren Harter (LHa), Ken Hartman, Dave Hawksworth, John Haynes (JHa), Sheila Hebert, Rhandy Helton (RhH), Richard Hermosillo (RHe), Ernesto Herrera, Randy Hesford (RaH), Anthony Hewetson (Ahe) (Northwest Texas – Panhandle and South Plains), Petra Hockey, Bob Honig (BoH), Joseph Hood (JHo), Bill Horn (BiH), Lee Hoy (LHo), Gary Hunter, Huck Hutchens, Kenneth Isaacson, Patricia Isaacson, Lew Johnson, Dan Jones, Christopher Jonker, Peter Keyel (PKe), Simon Kiacz, Florence King, Richard Kinney (RKi), John Kiseda, Ethan Kistler, Peter Koper (PKo), Rich Kostecke (RKo), Billi Krochuk, Tim Kurtz, Bruce LaBar (BLa), Alex Lamoreaux, Tom Langschied, Laurie Laskiwiski, Greg Lasley, Cin-Ty Lee (CTL), Judy Lehmberg (JuL), Jason Leifester (JaL), Ryan Lesniewicz, Cathy Liles, Dwayne Liteer (DwL), Dell Little (DeL), Keith Lockhart, Mark Lockwood, Scotty Lofland (ScL), Stephan Lorenz (StL), Barry Lyon (BLy), Liam MacGuire, Lisa Madry (LMa), Robbin Mallett, John Mariani (JMa), Amy Martin, Curtis McCamy (CuM), Michael McCloy (MiM), Mark McDermott (MaM), Steven McDonald, Kelly McDowell, Jon McIntyre (JMc), Brad McKinney (BMc), Linda McNulty (LMc), David Mehlman, Colette Micallef (CoM), Craig Miller (CrM), Jeff Miller (JeM), Joseph Mitchell (JoM), Marlee Morris, Tom Morris, Bruce Morrison (BMo), Maria Morrison (MMo), Gretchen Nareff, Bruce Neville, Ron Newhouse, Daniel Newman, Bret Newton (BNe), Kurt Nguyen, Bayard Nicklow (BNi), John O’Brien, Michael O’Brien (MO’), Carolyn Ohl, Kurt Ongman, Andrew Orgill, Sue Orwig, Michael Overway (MOv), Elaine Owens, Barbara Pankratz (BPa), Jacquelyn Pascucci (JaP), Jim Paton (JiP) (Trans-Pecos), Vernon Patterson, Tim Perkins, Barrett Pierce (BPi), Randy Pinkston, Charlie Plimpton (CPl), Carl Poldrack (CPo), Sumita Prasad, Will Puryear, Niler Pyeatt, Nina Rach, Stephan Ramirez (SRa), Ross Rasmussen (North Central Texas), Judy Reeves, Martin Reid (MRe), Bill Reiner, Mary Richards (MRi), Colton Robbins, Corey Roelke (CRo), Steven Romo (SRo), Chris Runk (CRu), Sheila Rygwelski (SRy), Madeleine Sandefur (MSa), Boyd Sanders (BSa), Laura Sare (LSa), David Sarkozi (DSa), Jeff Schaberg (JeS), Rick Schaefer, Rick Schaeffer (RSc), Bobby Schat (BSc), Mark Scheuerman (MSc), Jamie Schubert (JaS), David Scott (DSc), Willie Sekula (South Texas), Paul Sellin, Jane Sender (JSe), Kathy Seymour (KSe), Cliff Shackelford (CSh), Julie Shackelford (JSh), Dennis Shepler (DeS), Dan Sherick (DaS), Brad Shine (BSh), Letha Slagle (LSl), Cathy Sloop (CSl), Brian Small, John Smelser (JSm), Brooke Smith (BSm), Karen Smith (KSm), Christine Sparks (CSp), Richard Sparks (RiS), Eric Spink, John Sproul (JSp), Carrie Steingruber (CSt), Mark Steuer (MSt), Joel Such (JSu), Gautam Surya, Sarah Swallow, Romey Swanson (RoS), Breck Taylor (BTa), Kent Taylor (KTa), Greg Thielen, Kelsie Thielen (KTh), Will Thompson, Jane Tillman, Zachary Tonzetich, Tam Tran, Carl Trovall (CTr), Carol Trovall, Bill Tweit (BTw), Gustavo Valero, David Vander Pluym (DVP), John Vanderpoel, Darrell Vollert, Ellis Vonasek, Deb Wallace (DeW), Lee Wallace (LWa), Mary Anne Weber (MAW), Noreen Weeden, Ron Weeks (RWe) (Upper Texas Coast), Carol Wells, Ed Wetzel, Becky Whisenant (BeW), Bob White (BoW), Jonathan Wickham (JoW), Ben Wilson (BWi), Jennifer Wilson (JeW), Lucy Winter (LWi), David Wolf, Pat Wolfe, Tom Wolfe, Mac Womack, David Womer (DWo), Lynn Wright (LWr), Matthew York, Louise Zemaitis, Barry Zimmer.
L.R.G.V. (Lower Rio Grande Valley); U.T.C. (Upper Texas Coast).
A count of 13 Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks at Dimmitt City Park, Castro 24-25 Apr (BK, EK, ph.) were continuing signs of the expansion of this species to the northwest. Three Fulvous Whistling-Ducks near the Fort Bliss sewage ponds 5-8 May (ph., JGr, RHe, JK) were the first in El Paso since 2009 and one of very few county records. A lone Cackling Goose was at Balmorhea Lake and nearby Sandia Wetlands, Reeves 5-8 Mar (ph. BPa, PH), likely the same bird that was present in the area in late January. A Cinnamon Teal mixed in with Blue-winged Teals was found in a slough along Sparks Lane, Bowie 24 Mar (ph. ES), an area with very few such records, although, curiously, one was also found there in March of last year. Another was late 27 Apr (CGo, RB) near Devers, Liberty.
A male Eurasian Wigeon at Hebert Road on the Katy Prairie, Waller 5-11 Apr was the third ever for the U.T.C. (BoH, ph. MAh, ph. FC, m.ob.). The American Black Duck found during winter lingered at White Rock Lake, Dallas until 5 Mar (AnG, ph., m.ob.). Two Mottled Ducks were well north of expected haunts sw. of Temple, Bell 21 Apr (RP); one was at Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, Bell 20 May (CPl). Three Greater Scaup were described on the lake at Martin Dies S.P., Jasper 11 May (†JBo, TFr); a female along the Rio Grande near Del Rio, Val Verde 27 Apr (ph. BZ) was a good find, especially so late.
The 3 Surf Scoters and lone White-winged Scoter continued on Belton Lake, Bell until 9 Mar (m.ob.). The Long-tailed Duck se. of Thrall, Williamson continued until 10 Mar (m.ob.); one was detected on Canyon Lake, Comal 17 Mar (ph. BNi). A Hooded Merganser at McNary Reservoir, Hudspeth 26 Apr (DN) was late. Three Common Mergansers were near Lago Vista on Lake Travis, Travis 8 Mar (ph. LJ) while another was unusual at North Buffalo Creek Reservoir, Wichita, 11 Mar (ScL). Two Common Mergansers at McNary Reservoir, Hudspeth 26 Apr (DN) were late. A lone Red-breasted Mergansers seen on the Rio Grande River from the bluffs at Santa Margarita Ranch, Starr 7 Apr (LDa) was notable in south Texas for the non-coastal location.
Chachalacas through Cuckoos
A Plain Chachalaca 28 May at Lake Alice, Jim Wells represented a bird from a rarely-encountered remnant population that originated from a stocking by Texas Parks and Wildlife in the 1960s through the 1980s (TL). A single Least Grebe was present at B.J. Bishop Wetlands outside Presidio, Presidio 22 Apr – 8 May (KaF, ph. m.ob.). An unusual number of migrant Western Grebes, numbering from 1-4 daily, visited or lingered at Lake Benbrook, Tarrant 5-25 Mar (JA, m.ob., ph.). A late bird was at Lake Benbrook, Tarrant 9 Apr-7 May (EW, ph.). A Western Grebe photographed off of Bolivar Flats, Galveston 15 May was east of normal (ph. WB). Rarely reported in the north-central Texas was a Clark’s Grebe at Lake Benbrook, Tarrant 8-25 Mar (JA, m.ob., ph.).
A Red-billed Pigeon along the Pecos River n. of Langtry, Val Verde 21 Apr (BrC) was an outlier and perhaps the farthest northwest that one has been detected. Scarce to rare in the Pineywoods, a Common Ground Dove was recorded calling at F.M. 254 and County Road 107 on 19-22 Apr (audio, TFr) and again 27 Apr (TFr, DSa, MSc); this is likely only the second record for Jasper. White-tipped Doves are slowly edging northward with single birds heard at 3 locations northwest of Kyle, Hays 21 May (audio JT et al.) and another in w. Travis 15 May+ (ph., audio BR) being a first for the county. In the continuing saga of White-winged Doves colonizing the Pineywoods, the first few showed up in Lufkin, Angelina 21 Mar (GH) after an absence since last August. One in Shelby 21 Apr (JSm) may be a first county record and another in Sabinetown, Sabine 20 May (DaB) was the first report this far east. In addition, one was in south Nacogdoches, Nacogdoches 9 May (DW) and another in north Nacogdoches 15 May (RS, CDF).
A Groove-billed Ani in northwest Crockett 21 May (audio JBo) was well out of range. An encore to last spring’s 3 Pineywoods reports of scarce migrant Black-billed Cuckoos, this season produced 2 more reports, one in Lufkin, Angelina 11 May (GH) and another in Nacogdoches, Nacogdoches 14 May (CDF). A Black-billed Cuckoo seen at Salineno, Starr 6 May (JGo, JBr, EH, JuC) was noteworthy for the western L.R.G.V.
Nightjars through Hummingbirds
A Lesser Nighthawk reported at Demi-John, Brazoria 28 May was late for a species not known to breed that far east (MH). A bit early was a Common Poorwill near Post, Garza 15 Mar (AHe). Two Eastern Whip-poor-wills heard vocalizing and observed sallying for insects in a Corpus Christi, Nueces yard 6 Mar (KTa) were quite early.
Late in the day on 26 May, as he was sitting outside in his west El Paso, El Paso yard, Groves was stunned to see a Black Swift foraging low with Lesser Nighthawks. Quickly fetching his camera from inside, he was able to secure a series of photos showing all relevant field marks. This would be an excellent date for a migrant, as Colorado birds do not appear on breeding grounds until early June. Though there are previous sight records and the species almost certainly passes through Texas airspace annually, this became the first documented/accepted record for the state. A very early Chimney Swift was distinctively chattering over John Crompton Park, College Station, Brazos 5 Mar (KN), providing the earliest record for the Central Brazos Valley.
A Mexican Violetear was present in Kerrville, Kerr 17-22 May (CDi, PS). An adult male Costa’s Hummingbird was on the U.T. El Paso campus, El Paso 14 Mar (KFl, ph.). The Rufous Hummingbird present in Nacogdoches since 31 Oct was last seen 1 Apr (CSh, JSh). An adult male Allen’s Hummingbird visited a Cameron yard 3 Apr (ph. MCa). A Broad-tailed Hummingbird lingered to 21 Mar at Llano Grande S.P., Hidalgo (HH).
A male Broad-billed Hummingbird dropped by an El Paso, El Paso yard 17 Mar (JK). In the Davis Mountains, Jeff Davis, a male was at Davis Mountains S.P. 21-30 Apr (ph. BMo), it or another was a couple miles west-northwest of there 8 May (ph. MG), while a female lingered farther west of that bird 5-19 May (ph. KB et al.). A male Violet-crowned Hummingbird that appeared at a suburban yard in Corpus Christi, Nueces 21 Apr and lingered through 11 May represented a first county record (LE, DFe); another one was nicely described at Big Bend’s Daniel’s Ranch, Brewster 10 May (BTa). A Buff-bellied Hummingbird 27 Apr (†HB) in College Station is reported biannually in Brazos on average; another near Simonton, Fort Bend 6 May was late but not unprecedented (TP).
Gallinules through Shorebirds
Wandering Purple Gallinules included one in n. Austin, Travis 8-19 May (SS, m.ob.), at Mineola Nature Preserve, Wood 8 May (VP), and another at Lake Waco Wetlands, McLennan 17 May (EV). First discovered 7 May (CL, EO) at Carlos Lake is a good find for Grimes; up to 4 Purple Gallinules were seen there through the end of the season. A calling Black Rail at Tule Lake, Corpus Christi, Nueces 27 Mar was at a location with previous history for this species (GB, m.ob.). Rare in East Texas Pineywoods, a flock of 50 Sandhill Cranes flew over County Road 491 near Dayton, Liberty 3 Mar (CoM); late was one near Tahoka, Lynn 1 May (AB, MD).
An early arrival, a single Black-necked Stilt was at Pitts Road Pond, Brazos 22 Mar (†JH). An impressive 850 Black-bellied Plovers were tallied near on South Bay near Boca Chica in Cameron 26 Apr (MRe, SCo). Unusually high concentrations of American Golden-Plovers were present at farmlands and turf farms near Allen Farm, Brazos, starting with 156 on 21 Mar (BE) and 200 on 22 Mar (DSc). At another location across the county, at Sims Lane Road, an incredible 1750 were counted 31 Mar (SK). An estimated 500 American Golden-Plovers downed by a cold front at Blue Sky Sod Farm along Wolf Springs Road, Dallas, 22 Apr (RR) was an unusually high count for north-central Texas. One American Golden-Plover near Wilson, Lynn 31 May (JBo) was quite late. A Piping Plover at Hagerman N.W.R., Grayson 30 Mar (CrM) was record early for north-central Texas. Another was found at Lake Lewisville Park/Westlake Park, Denton 13-15 Apr (CCa, WC, ph.); this species is a rare regular migrant through the region.
A breeding plumaged Northern Jacana present at the Corpus Christi Botanical Gardens 14-18 Apr provided for a first Nueces record (ph. EB, NW, m.ob.). Unexpected in March in the Central Prairie, a single Long-billed Curlew was at Sims Cutoff Lane, Brazos 2 Mar (ph. RN) and 28 Mar (ph. JH). A remarkable total of 1191 Long-billed Curlews in one huge airborne flock were carefully counted from photos near Dell City, Hudspeth 14 Mar (JiP). A stunning 218 Hudsonian Godwits at Hagerman N.W.R., Grayson 18 Apr (JaC) set a new recent high count record for north-central Texas. Elsewhere, 3 at Southeast Park, Randall 22 Apr (SRo, ph.) were unusual for the Panhandle while one at Sandia Wetlands, Reeves 26 May (ph. GL) was one of few records ever for the Trans-Pecos. Usually a tough spring migrant in central Texas, quite surprising was an astonishing 19 Marbled Godwits that briefly stopped at Hornsby Bend, Travis 7 Apr (ph. MCl, DWo).
The Purple Sandpiper found near Point Comfort, Calhoun in Feb continued to at least 2 May when it was seen in alternate plumage (AL). A White-rumped Sandpiper at Hagerman N.W.R., Grayson 9 Apr (JaC, ph.) tied the earliest north-central Texas spring arrival date. A very rare spring migrant in East Texas and a probable first record for Jasper, a Buff-breasted Sandpiper was at the intersection of F.M. 254 and County Road 107 on 19 Apr (ph. TFr). Up to 5 Pectoral Sandpipers were early migrants at Lake Somerville, appearing both on the Burleson and Washington sides, 10 Mar (JBo). An impressive 450+ Pectoral Sandpipers were at Sims Lane Cutoff, Brazos 31 Mar (SK). With no prior March records in the Central Brazos Valley, a Semipalmated Sandpiper at Sims Lane Cutoff, Brazos 28 Mar (ph. †JH) was newsworthy.
An American Woodcock reported from Jones Lake, Aransas N.W.R., Aransas 21 Apr (DN) was very late since this bird is an infrequent winterer to South Texas and usually departs by early March. A late Wilson’s Snipe was photographed along Boothline Road, Fort Bend 19 May (ph. JeS). Quite early was a Wilson Phalarope near Panhandle, Carson 25 Mar (DG). Two Red-necked Phalaropes at B.J. Bishop Wetlands, Presidio 3-7 May (m.ob.) were a highlight of the T.O.S. convention.
Jaegers through Terns
A Parasitic Jaeger was along the beach on the Bolivar Peninsula, Galveston 23 Apr (LMc, MO’, LZ). Two immature Bonaparte’s Gulls seen on Boeye Reservoir, Hidalgo 17 Mar (ph. CDy, MOv) were noteworthy for the Deep South Texas inland location. A rare find was a Little Gull at Lake Lewisville, Denton 6 Mar (WC, RHa), an unexpected county first. The wintering Little Gull at Lake Arlington, Tarrant lingered until 11 Mar (GC, ECl, ph. m.ob.). Inland Laughing Gulls included 9 at Overlook Park, Lake Somerville, Washington 10 Mar (JBo), one that flew to the Burleson side at Welch Park, and another one at Country Club Lake, Bryan, Brazos 1 May (ph. JH). An out of place Laughing Gull stuck around Balmorhea Lake, Reeves 27 Apr – 25 May (ph. CBe, CGr, m.ob.).
A California Gull was at Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, El Paso 31 Mar (RaH, ph.). At least one first cycle Iceland Gull was seen in the Bolivar Flats/Texas City Dike/Galveston area, Galveston 2 Dec-27 Apr (ph. MBa, MD, AB, et al.). A first cycle Glaucous Gull was first reported 4 Nov in Galveston, Galveston (ph. JaS); one to 2 birds were reported from the Galveston/Texas City Dike/Bolivar/Rollover Pass area of Galveston until 15 May (m.ob.). One to 2 first cycle Glaucous Gulls were also seen in the Quintana/Surfside area, Brazoria area 18 Dec-31 Mar (ph. MBo, et al.). The second cycle Great Black-backed Gull found in the greater Galveston area, Galveston during the fall period was seen until 14 Apr (m.ob.); a first-cycle bird also made the rounds in coastal Galveston 4-26 Apr (ph. KC, ph. GC).
In Aransas, the now nearly famous Rockport Sooty Tern returned for a brief visit 26-30 Mar. It was reported again 25-31 May and into June. Four birds were found in a rookery at The Nature Conservancy’s Shamrock Island Preserve in Corpus Christi Bay, Nueces, another historical breeding location (RKo). Two more birds were seen on nests in the Laguna Madre near Padre Island N.S., Kleberg 23 May (GN) while a lone bird was seen 29 May in southern Corpus Christi Bay from Mustang Island (GN). Two Caspian Terns were at Marion Ferry, Lake Sam Rayburn, Angelina 16 May (DW). Without explanation due to a storm or other cause, a Royal Tern well inland at Lake Six, Lubbock 23 Apr (BSh, ph.) was an unexpected first for the region.
Loons through Pelicans
A Red-throated Loon at Lake Waxahatchie, Ellis 2-14 Mar (TDr, ph. m.ob.) was a county first. A Pacific Loon was an unexpected find on Lake Texoma at Eisenhower S.P., Grayson, 22 Mar (MC, ph.); late was one in alternate plumage at Sea Isle, Galveston 21-22 May (ph. MCo). There are few spring records of Common Loon in the Central Brazos Valley, so one 4 May (ph. JH, m.ob.) at Lake Bryan, Brazos is noteworthy both for its rarity as well as its late date. A Band-rumped Storm-Petrel found stranded on the beach at Port Aransas, Nueces 13 May was rescued and transported to the Amos Rehabilitation Keep, where it later died. The carcass was sent to the Biodiversity Research and Teaching Collection at Texas A & M, College Station (AO).
Wood Storks were evident in small numbers on the U.T.C. through the spring season with sightings of 2 at Addicks Reservoir, Harris 17 Mar (SGa), one at Houston, Harris 1 Apr (KH), one on the Katy Prairie, Waller 11 Apr (NR), 14 at Clear Creek Village, Galveston 23 Apr (ph. JFa), 7 at Houston, Harris 12 May (KH), and one at Armand Bayou, Harris 12 May (AHa) preceding the more typical late May sightings. A subadult Masked Booby was on the early side from Padre Island N.S., Kleberg 16 Apr (PB). Continuing the Brown Booby invasion, 2 adults stayed the spring at Calaveras Lake, Bexar 11 May+ (ph. CF, ZT, m.ob.). A subadult Brown Booby was seen from a boat in Aransas Bay, Aransas 20 Mar (ph. PD, BWi). Another bird was seen in Corpus Christi Bay, Nueces, from Mustang Island 3 May (RKo, DM). Brown Boobies continue to become more regular on the U.T.C. with this spring’s sightings including singles from the Galveston Ship Channel, Galveston 5 Mar (MAu), the Texas City Dike, Galveston 11 Mar (TDa), Rollover Pass, Galveston 13 Mar (DeS), the San Jacinto Battleground, Harris 17 Mar (EF), and 5 from the Texas City Dike, Galveston 13 Apr (ph. DVP, ph. LHa, BTw, BLa, LWi).
Single Brown Pelicans were nice inland finds at Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, Bell 10 Apr (ph. GE) and at Lake Pflugerville, Travis 6-8 May (ph. CTr, CT, m.ob.).
Herons Thru Vultures
At least 2 and perhaps as many as 5 American Bitterns were seen/heard regularly at Lake Waco Wetlands, McLennan 3 Apr – 6 May (MY et al.). With only one prior record for Jasper, an American Bittern at Martin Dies S.P. 11 May (†JO, TFr) was a surprise. At least one Least Bittern was at the Lake Waco Wetlands, McLennan 29 Apr – 1 May (GC, BlC, SGl) while another was at Lake Six, Lubbock 24 Apr-13 May (JBo, BSc, AHe, GT, KTh). Good records for the Edwards Plateau in spring were single Tricolored Herons at Junction Wastewater Treatment Ponds, Kimble 29 Apr (ph. WE) and at Heart of the Hills Fisheries, Kerr 4-8 May (ph. PS, TC). Very rare in spring in Nacogdoches, a Tricolored Heron was at Alazan Bayou W.M.A. 11 Apr (DW).
An adult Yellow-crowned Night-Heron was west to El Paso, El Paso 27 May (JGr), near where the species was suspected of nesting in 2017. More unusual was another adult near Dell City, Hudspeth 19 May (ph., JiP). One Glossy Ibis was at Tahoka Lake Pasture, Lynn 28 Apr (JBo); a first record for Brazos and for the Central Brazos Valley, another was at Country Club Lake, Bryan 1 May (ph. †JH, †MaM, †LSa, †KN, ph. BF). An out-of-season Roseate Spoonbill was flying over the old bridge at Trinity river wetlands, Trinity 30 May (BoW). A count of 32 Roseate Spoonbills made at the Calliham Unit of Choke Canyon S.P., McMullen 16 Mar (CBu) was impressive for the date considering that these kinds of numbers do not usually occur until summer. Two Black Vultures were below Fort Quitman, Hudspeth 27 May (ph., DH). Though more regular since 2012, Black Vulture is still rare in Hudspeth and at its western extreme in the state.
Osprey through Hawks
An Osprey was incubating on a nest at 6-Mile Creek, Toledo Bend, Sabine 2 May (CSh). A White-tailed Kite hunting over a field in the Kenney area 8 Mar (†DV) is a good find for northern Austin. Another was flying at F.M. 159, Allen Farm, Brazos 24 Mar (BiH). One to 2 White-tailed Kites were sporadically at Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, El Paso late Mar+ (JSp) where the species is regular and has nested before. No nesting activity was detected but they were suspected of nesting in nearby Mexico. A Swallow-tailed Kite in Corpus Christi, Nueces 24 May (CJ) was headscratcher since it was either exceptionally late for spring or early for heading to its wintering grounds. Two Northern Harriers near Dell City, Hudspeth 19 May (JiP) were getting late and in an area where nesting is suspected.
A rare local breeder in the Pineywoods, a Sharp-shinned Hawk was carrying food at the Davy Crockett N.F., Houston 15 May (RSc). In Nacogdoches, Nacogdoches a Cooper’s Hawk was building a nest 5 Mar and 2 juveniles about to fledge were in the nest 10 Jun (DW). In Brenham, Washington a Cooper’s Hawk was flying around a neighborhood, issuing a courtship call several times throughout 6 Mar (DV). While Cooper’s Hawks have been reported during the nesting season in Washington, this is the first evidence of breeding. An impressive spring total of 7303 Mississippi Kites was tallied at LaPorte, Harris 23 Apr (LWr).
Common Black Hawks away from known haunts included one in McKittrick Canyon, Guadalupe Mountains N.P., Culberson 30 Mar (CRu), 1-2 at Independence Creek Preserve, Terrell 3 May (ph. RKo), and another detected in Fort Stockton, Pecos 4 May (AHe et al.). Gonzalez were alerted by mobbing birds to a juvenile Great Black Hawk at the Valley Land Fund Lot on South Padre Island, Cameron 24 Apr (ph. JGo, ph. AL). The critical details such as massive size, lack of subterminal tail band and unmarked white uppertail coverts were well documented with extensive photos and video. An expected but still very impressive first record for Texas and the United States. A Harris’s Hawk studied in the Davis Mountains w. of Fort Davis, Jeff Davis 23 May (RP) was an unusual find for that mountain range. One of the wintering Harris’s Hawks at High Island, Galveston remained until 5 May (TT, WT, JoM).
Only the second record for Grimes, a White-tailed Hawk flew over Camp Allen on the Waller border 15 Apr (†LMa). Three El Paso Broad-winged Hawks 3-15 Apr (DB, JGr, ph.) was a pretty typical spring total for this rare migrant; a nice total of 1603 was tallied at LaPorte, Harris 23 Apr (LWr). A light-morph Short-tailed Hawk was in the Davis Mountains w. of Fort Davis, Jeff Davis 6 May (SCa, DD). A real outlier and likely a first record for north-central Texas, not to mention a first breeding attempt, was a pair of Zone-tailed Hawks at a nest near Metcalf Gap, Palo Pinto 24 Mar (ph. CRo). A migrant Rough-legged Hawk was east and south of normal range at the Lake Lewisville Environmental Learning Area, Denton 10 Mar (KL, AlG, CCa, ph.).
Owls through Falcons
The Snowy Owl in northwest Odessa, Ector continued until 13 Mar (m.ob.). A double-tooting Northern Pygmy-Owl of the nominate subspecies was loyal to an area in McKittrick Canyon, Guadalupe Mountains N.P., Culberson 27 Mar – 7 Apr (audio, ph. CRu, WS). A bit east of expected range, an Elf Owl northeast of Junction, Kimble 27-28 Apr (audio RoS, RhH) was a first for the county; 3 at the Indio Mountains Research Station, southeastern Hudspeth 21 Apr (WE) were in an area with prior confirmed nesting. Elf Owl is not known as a breeder in El Paso and the western and northern edges of its breeding range in Hudspeth are unclear. One of the best sightings in East Texas this season is a Burrowing Owl photographed in a Ruby Tuesday’s parking lot in Texarkana, Bowie 25 Mar (ph. LDo). This is likely the only record for Bowie.
Following the January record, a Spotted Owl was again at Hueco Tanks State Historic Site, El Paso 20 Mar (RHe, ph.) and was certainly continuously present through that span. Two late April records of lone Long-eared Owls were interesting and suggestive of possible nesting by this enigmatic species: Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, El Paso 26-30 Apr (JSp), where the species has nested before; and near Dell City, Hudspeth 21 Apr (JiP, ph.). Elsewhere, a Long-eared Owl was a surprise find at Rio Grande Village, Brewster 13 Apr (ph. MM) while another in the Davis Mountains w. of Fort Davis, Jeff Davis 6 May (SCa, DD) was perhaps in an area where they are more regular. A Short-eared Owl beautifully photographed at Rio Bosque Wetlands Park 31 Mar (RaH) was the first in El Paso in many years; a road-killed bird se. of Sanderson, Terrell 19 Apr (LHo) seemed an unlikely location.
At least 2 of the 3 wintering Lewis’s Woodpeckers in west El Paso, El Paso lingered through at least mid-April with one still present 3 May (JGr, m.ob.). Another Lewis’s Woodpecker was loyal to the Prude Ranch, northwest of Fort Davis, Jeff Davis 16 Mar – 28 Apr (ph. GD, m.ob.). Wayward Red-headed Woodpeckers included one west-northwest of Junction, Kimble 16 Mar (WE) and another south of Stonewall, Gillespie 2 Apr (DeW, LWa). Quite westerly was a Golden-fronted Woodpecker near Bledsoe, Cochran 26 Mar (FC, DeS). Rare in El Paso and more expected in fall or winter, a female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in El Paso 19 Apr (BZ, ph.) was also notably late. Easterly Red-naped Sapsuckers included one at Lago Vista, Travis 8 Mar (ph. LJ). A Ladder-backed Woodpecker at Sabine Woods, Jefferson 17 Apr (PKo) was east of normal. Totally unexpected was a male Pileated Woodpecker found on an electric pole at the King Ranch Norias Division Headquarters, Kenedy 23 Apr (ph. StL, TL); it provided for a new ranch and county record.
Continuing their push into north-east Texas, a Crested Caracara was seen near Palestine, Cherokee 31 Mar (BeW) and a pair elsewhere in Cherokee 31 Mar (CW). Further evidence of local breeding, a pair of American Kestrels were present all spring (DW) at Stephen F. Austin Experimental Forest, Nacogdoches, another pair was observed carrying food at Dorr Creek Road, Nacogdoches 22 Apr (DW), and yet another carrying food in Lufkin, Angelina 4-26 May (GH). An Aplomado Falcon reported from near Austwell, Aransas 23 Apr (TH) was noteworthy for being pretty far up the coastal plain. Aplomado Falcons in west Texas are of unknown origin; one was 15 miles south of Van Horn, Culberson 2 Apr (ph. RaH) while one was around Balmorhea Lake, Reeves 7-9 May (DeL, DDC, ph. GS). Late or potential breeders were lone Prairie Falcons near Hale Center, Hale 12 May (NP) and near Borger, Hutchinson 27 May (EK).
The female Rose-throated Becard continued at The Inn at Chachalaca Bend, Cameron to 3 Mar (MSa) while another female visited Hugh Ramsey Park 12 May (ph. GV). A Dusky-capped Flycatcher was in Boot Canyon in the Chisos Mountains, Brewster 30 Apr – 27 May (audio BrC, ph. JA) while at least one pair was present in the Davis Mountains w. of Fort Davis, Jeff Davis 9 May+ (SCa, DD, KB et al.). Two calling Great Crested Flycatchers at El Franco Lee Park, Harris 9 Mar (JBe) were early while one in Marathon, Brewster 5 May (SCa, ph. DD) was a good spring migrant for the region.
An unexpected surprise first county record was a Great Kiskadee in a limited access restricted area along the east shore of Lake Tawakoni, Rains 6 May (RKi, RR). Another surprise Great Kiskadee was found at Harston Oaks, Euless, Tarrant 14 May (CSl). These sightings are the fourth and fifth for north-central Texas. A calling Great Kiskadee at Millican Reserve 15 Apr (†DSc) provided a second record for Brazos. A Tropical Kingbird found along Longenbaugh Road, Harris 5 Mar was a first for Harris (JV). A vocalizing Tropical Kingbird in south-southeast San Antonio, Bexar 5-13 Apr (MRe, ph. CuM) was a great find; as regular as this species seems to be along the Rio Grande and the coast, inland records in Texas are still hard to come by. One to 2 Couch’s Kingbirds have been seen annually since 2013 in winter and spring in Brenham, Washington without evidence of breeding. However, on 9 Mar (DV) 2 kingbirds were calling continuously and exhibiting courtship behavior. One was seen at the same location again 18 Apr and 10 May. A Couch’s Kingbird wandered to Big Lake, Reagan 20 May (JBo).
The overwintering Greater Pewee at Bear Creek Park, Harris was last reported 10 Mar (ph. RM, ph. JHo). A Greater Pewee in the higher elevations of the Davis Mountains Preserve, Jeff Davis 23 May (ph. ECa, RKo) was the only Trans-Pecos report this season. At Brison Park, College Station, a wood-pewee studied carefully by many observers over many hours was determined to be a very vocal Western Wood-Pewee 14-15 May (†DoB, †SK, †MaM, ph. JH, ph. †KN, ph. BF, †SD, †BE). Physical descriptions matched Western. The bird responded to a Western recording. Calling Eastern Wood-Pewees were present for comparison to the one calling like a Western. Attempts to record its call were unsuccessful, although a few poor photos were obtained. This bird was well east of its normal range and is a second record for Brazos, the first being in 1969. A vocalizing Eastern Wood-Pewee in the Davis Mountains west of Fort Davis, Jeff Davis 6-9 May (ph. DD, SCa) was an outstanding find.
A calling Acadian Flycatcher on the Rice University campus in Houston, Harris 30 Mar was early (CTL). A Black Phoebe was a nice find at Reeve Field, Parmer 23 Apr (BK, EK). An Eastern Phoebe near Dell City, Hudspeth 7 Apr (JiP) was late; another was found in the same area where they nested last year in Pearland, Brazoria 30 Apr (RAl).
Vireos through Crows
A White-eyed Vireo was a bit farther west than expected near Paducah, Cottle 7 Apr (BlC, GC, SGl). Bell’s Vireos at Anahuac N.W.R., Chambers 24 Apr (JT) and another at Brazos Bend S.P., Fort Bend 29 May (MSt) were rare for the season on the U.T.C. A vireo strongly suspected of being a Blue-headed Vireo was near Dell City, Hudspeth 7 Apr (JiP, ph.). Difficulty in separating it from Cassin’s Vireo obscures the status of this species in the western Trans-Pecos.
Philadelphia Vireos at Quintana, Brazoria (TM) and Sabine Woods, Jefferson (KI, PI) 8 Apr were early and another at Quintana, Brazoria 22 May was late (DeS). A Red-eyed Vireo at the Gene Howe W.M.A., Hemphill 14 May (GC, ph.) may have been a breeder on the western edge of its range. A Yellow-green Vireo delighted many birders at the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center, Cameron 27-30 Apr (JGo et al.); on the U.T.C., one was on west Galveston Island, Galveston 3 May (ph. BS). A Black-whiskered Vireo graced the Convention Center, South Padre Island, Cameron 22-23 May (ph. CuM et al.).
Following the strong winter irruption, decent numbers of Steller’s Jays remained in El Paso, El Paso into the first week of May (m.ob.) but one hanging on to 20 May (JK, ph.) was notably late. Tamaulipas Crow continued in South Texas this spring: most notable were up to 25 birds reported from Sabal Palm Sanctuary 27 Apr (TK et al.) apparently shuttling between the Matamoras and Brownsville Dumps. Lesser numbers were noted at other Cameron locations in April and May (Brownsville Dump, South Padre Island, Laguna Atascosa N.W.R., and Southmost Preserve & Boca Chica). The sudden influx of this species into Texas from last year continued to amaze. A Tamaulipas Crow seen at Quintana, Brazoria 15 Apr was also likely part of last fall’s irruption (ph. JeW, et al.).
Swallows through Thrashers
Rare on the Edwards Plateau, especially in spring, 2 Violet-green Swallows were studied at Junction Wastewater Treatment Ponds, Kimble 25 Apr (RhH); another was detected in a mixed group of swallows migrating up Matagorda Island, Calhoun 14 Mar (PH). A rather uncommon breeder in the Pineywoods, a pair of Northern Rough-winged Swallow had a nest burrow near Fairmont, Sabine 2 May (CSh). A male Purple Martin was a surprise in El Paso, El Paso 27 Mar (BZ) where seen less than annually. The early date suggested a bird from eastern populations and not one of the later arriving breeders of New Mexico montane populations.
A Bushtit in Plainview, Hale 3-5 May (NP) was notable far west for the species in the Panhandle. A Red-breasted Nuthatch lingered in an El Paso, El Paso yard through 2 Jun (JiP, ph.), providing a very rare June record. A White-breasted Nuthatch in El Paso, El Paso 10 Apr (JGr) was late; there are very few previous April records in the El Paso region. A Brown Creeper was quite late near Kress, Swisher 16 May (CA, MAn). A late-departing Sedge Wren was described in Bryan, Brazos 5 May (†MMo).
An easterly Townsend’s Solitaire was near the west arm of Belton Lake, Bell 12 Mar (ph. KO). A Wood Thrush at Sabine Woods, Jefferson 14 Mar was a bit early (JHa); a count of 75 at Sabine Woods, Jefferson 24 Apr was an exceptional count (JaL, et al.). A pair of Clay-colored Thrushes was found to be nesting in western Corpus Christi, Nueces 4 May, with young spotted in the nest 24 May; this was the same location where a pair nested unsuccessfully in 2017 (KSm). An Aztec Thrush was seen briefly by homeowners near San Perlita, Willacy 3-4 May (PW, ph. TW). The Wolfe’s photo made its way to the local birding community 5 May and several local birders were able to see it briefly that afternoon (ph. DJ, ph. BMc) before it disappeared. A Curve-billed Thrasher present 10 Apr at Blucher Park, Corpus Christi, Nueces was a rare occurrence for a location this near to the coast (MeC). No real signs of a Sage Thrasher irruption during the winter or spring so one detected near the west arm of Belton Lake, Bell 12 Mar (ph. KO) was a nice find; quite late was one at Buffalo Lake N.W.R., Randall 20 May (BPi).
Finches through Longspurs
Rare so far west, a female Purple Finch stopped in a Lubbock yard, Lubbock 31 Mar-1 Apr (LM, ph.). Cassin’s Finches continued from the winter at South Llano River S.P., Kimble; as many as 4 were seen consistently into early April, with at least one lasting until 14 Apr (m.ob.). A female Cassin’s Finch in El Paso, El Paso 13 May (JiP, ph.) was both late and a surprise as winter had only 2 local reports of lone birds. Cassin’s Finches continued from the winter in the Guadalupe, Davis and Chisos Mountain ranges, with a few birds lingering into early May (m.ob.). As many as 7 Cassin’s Finches were noted in Sanderson, Terrell with one remaining until 16 Apr (LHo, DJ); one was detected at Independence Creek Preserve, Terrell 3 May (RKo).
Red Crossbills reported this past winter continued at Davy Crockett N.F., Houston where 10+ were observed and audio-recorded 2 Mar (RS). The recording was identified by Cornell as Type 5. Another crossbill was recorded 18 May (RS) and identified by Matt Young at Cornell as Type 4. Six Red Crossbills were a surprise find in the vicinity of F.M. 91/Fleming Road, Chillicothe, Hardeman 17 Mar (ScL) with one lingering until 29 Apr. In central Texas, Sporadic Red Crossbills from the winter continued in low numbers into the spring; notable finds included 4 in Goldthwaite, Mills 3 Apr (ph. JBy), 3 in Junction, Kimble 19 Apr (RhH) and one Type-2 in south Killeen, Bell (audio CPl). Several were also noted in northwest Texas with the last there being one in a Lubbock yard, Lubbock 19 Apr (KD). In El Paso, following the very strong fall and winter irruption, good numbers of Red Crossbills lingered into May in El Paso (m.ob.) with the latest being 7 birds 24 May (JiP); there was no direct evidence of breeding but so many birds so late make one wonder. Away from the mountains in the Trans-Pecos, 2 Red Crossbills were noted in Sanderson, Terrell 16-25 Apr (ph. SGl).
In the Pineywoods, Pine Siskins staged a widespread return flight this spring. They were conspicuous in Pecan Park and Nacogdoches, Nacogdoches from early Apr to 23 Apr (CDF, m.ob.). From 150-200 used feeders in Shelby from mid-Dec through their abrupt departure on 12 Apr (JSm). Six were still at feeders in Sabinetown, Sabine 21 Mar (DBe) and 3 were in Cherokee 6 Apr (BeW). The last were 5 in Lufkin, Angelina 5 May (GH) and a few were still in Nacogdoches 7 May (CSh). Elsewhere, 20 were visiting feeders in Nelsonville, Austin 18 Apr and 5 remained until 3 May (DV). A late American Goldfinch 25 May (ph. JR) was east of De Kalb, Bowie. A Chestnut-collared Longspur near Panhandle, Carson 12 May (GC) was exceptionally late.
Sparrows through Towhees
A Lark Bunting 10 Apr (†LL) near Bremond is a first county record for Robertson and one of very few for the Central Brazos Valley. A bit late was one Brewer’s Sparrow at Rio Farms, Moore 12 May (BPi) and another near Post, Garza 19 May (MiM). The long-staying Golden-crowned Sparrow n. of Cibolo, Guadalupe was last detected 26 Apr (m.ob.). Usually departing by the first week of April, a Harris’s Sparrow 22 Apr (ph. †MRi) was late at Red Feather Nature Preserve, Brazos.
Likely regular but certainly rarely detected, 2 Baird’s Sparrows were present in south Concho 27 Apr (ph. TFe). Banding of Baird’s Sparrows near Marfa, Presidio continued to show how regular this species is in the grasslands there; 9 were detected 6 Mar (PH). A Henslow’s Sparrow was a rare find west of normal winter range at the Heard Wildlife Sanctuary, Collin 21 Mar (GG). A Swamp Sparrow was present quite late at the Highway 70 crossing of the Canadian River, Roberts 26 May (EK).
The Green-tailed Towhee that wintered at the Trinity River Audubon Center, Dallas was last reported 6 Apr (CSt, ph., m.ob.). Two male Spotted Towhees were late departing from Tyler S.P., Smith 26 Apr (BSa), while one at Southeast Park in Amarillo, Randall 20 May (AM) and another at Palo Duro Canyon S.P., Randall 20-21 May (CA, MAn, KFe, AM, ph.) were getting late for the Panhandle. An Eastern Towhee at Palo Duro Canyon S.P., Randall 6 Apr (BD, ph.) and another one at Lake Marvin, Hemphill 11 Apr (AB) were nice finds for the Panhandle.
Bobolink through Grackles
A nice flock of 31 recently arrived Bobolinks were seen at Matagorda S.P., Calhoun 26 Apr (KM). Two males dropped in on the Valley Land Fund Lot on South Padre Island, Cameron 19 Apr (TB) while 2 males were at Convention Center 20 Apr (ph. VD, CCr). A male Altamira Oriole at Packery Channel 24 Apr (WP, m.ob.) and present through at least 29 Apr represents the first documented Nueces record. As a sign of Audubon’s Oriole northward progress, one was detected northwest of Kyle, Hays 24 Apr (CR). A pair of Baltimore Oriole northwest of Moody, McLennan that fledged 3 young by 1 Jun (ph. GE) was well out of normal breeding range for that species.
Bronzed Cowbirds were an attraction in Brazos, starting with 2 at Country Club Lake, Bryan 8-14 May (ph. JH, ph. RN, †MaM, †BE, †SD, †KN, m.ob.), followed by 4 more at Allen Farm 12 May (†BN, MaM, JGi). Much farther north and west were 2 Bronzed Cowbirds at Buffalo Lake N.W.R., Randall 28 Apr (BPi) down to one by 20 May (BPi) and one at Lake Rita Blanca, Hartley 23-24 May (EK). A female Rusty Blackbird at Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, El Paso 16 Mar (JSp) was record late for the El Paso area and the first March record there. Rare but regular in El Paso, 2 Common Grackles were in El Paso 3 Mar (JiP, ph.).
One of the scarcest migrants and breeders in north-east Texas, a Worm-eating Warbler was found near Antioch, Shelby 5 Apr (SO). Unexpected and casual for north-central Texas was a westerly Worm-eating Warbler at Chat Road Pond, County Road 3124, Hill 22 Apr (BB). A great find for the Trans-Pecos was a Worm-eating Warbler in Boot Canyon in the Chisos Mountains, Brewster 26-29 Apr (JaP, KSe, JSe, ph. RG) and another was w. of Valentine, Presidio 13 May (ph. DD, SCa). Two Northern Waterthrush at Sabine Woods, Jefferson 30 May were late (HD).
Another eastern warbler straying to the Trans-Pecos was a Golden-winged Warbler in the Davis Mountains w. of Fort Davis, Jeff Davis 15 May (ph. KB et al.). A record late north-central Texas Blue-winged Warbler was at Memorial Oaks Cottonwood Valley Park, Benbrook, Tarrant 20 May (JA, EW et al.) and was the only regional report of the species this spring. Two Black-and-white Warblers in El Paso, El Paso 30 Mar and 1 May (JGr, ph.) made a typical showing for this rare migrant, with the 30 Mar bird being early. Early Prothonotary Warblers were seen at Anahuac N.W.R., Chambers 12 Mar (ph. DwL) and Sabine Woods, Jefferson 13-15 Mar (ph. SH, et al.). Westerly Prothonotary Warblers included one below Lake Six, Lubbock 22-29 Apr (PKe, JBo, JiC, AHe, LM, BSc, BSh, GT, KTh), and another at Rio Grande Village, Brewster 29-30 Apr (JSu, ph. JeM).
Rarely reported in Austin, a singing Swainson’s Warbler was off Lynn Road in the northern part of the county 21 Apr (DV). A Swainson’s Warbler at Lake Tawakoni S.P., Hunt, 25 Apr (RR) was a surprise find slightly west of normal range and only the second reported county record. A methodical count of Swainson’s Warblers at Sabine Woods, Jefferson 8 Apr came up with an astounding 19 birds (JHa, et al.). An Orange-crowned Warbler at Kingwood, Harris 2 May was late (JMa). Rarely detected as a migrant in El Paso, lone Lucy’s Warblers spotted 21 Mar (JiP, ph.) and 24 Mar (BZ) in El Paso were also about 2 weeks early. A Virginia’s Warbler was a nice find at Buffalo Lake N.W.R., Randall 29 Apr (BPi). A Kentucky Warbler in the Christmas Mountains, Brewster 2-3 May (ph. MW, CO et al.) was quite surprising.
Westerly Hooded Warblers included one at Clapp Park, Lubbock 5 May (BSc), one at South Llano River S.P., Kimble 9 May (audio DFi), 2 near Dell City, Hudspeth matched the previous total of county records with an early male 7 Apr (JiP, ph.) and a female 5 May (JiP), and a singing male at the Davis Mountains Preserve, Jeff Davis 23 May (RKo, ph. ECa). A singing male American Redstart at the Edith Moore Sanctuary in Houston, Harris 4 Apr was early (LSl). Good finds for central Texas were single Cape May Warblers se. of Cedar Park, Williamson 27 Apr (ph. SM) and near Bulverde, Bexar 3 May (ph. RAy). In South Texas, Cape May Warblers were again present this spring with up to 2 birds at South Padre Island, Cameron 20-29 Apr and a male 12 May. Elsewhere in that region, a male was present on the Norias Division of the King Ranch, Kenedy 6 May (BLy, BSm) and in Nueces another male at Paradise Pond 20-25, and a female at Port Aransas Birding Center Nueces 5 May.
Always a good find in the Pineywoods, a male Cerulean Warbler was in Lufkin, Angelina 22 Apr, a female on 23 Apr, and another male 2 May (GH). A Cerulean Warbler was a nice find se. of Cedar Park, Williamson 13 May (ph. MBe et al.). An early Magnolia Warbler was at Katy, Harris 28 Mar (ph. DaS) while a male near Dell City 5 May (JiP, ph.) was a first for Hudspeth. A Blackburnian Warbler at Sabine Woods, Jefferson 30 May was late (HD). A male Yellow Warbler near Dell City, Hudspeth 7 Apr (JiP) was about 2 weeks early. A Chestnut-sided Warbler near Dell City 5 May (JiP, ph.) was a first for Hudspeth. Different Chestnut-sided Warblers at Sabine Woods, Jefferson 29 & 30 May were late (HD) while one there 1 Apr was early (BeA, BoA). A Blackpoll Warbler was a farther east than usual at Independence Creek Preserve, Terrell 28 Apr (ph. RKo), as was one at Buffalo Lake N.W.R., Randall 29 Apr (BPi).
A female Black-throated Blue Warbler was present at Goose Island S.P., Aransas 25 Apr (CSp, RiS). Single males were present at the World Birding Center/Convention Center on South Padre Island, Cameron 23-30 Apr (m.ob.) and Paradise Pond, Nueces 5 May (ph. JoW, WS, MeC et al.). Very rare for the central Pineywoods, a Palm Warbler was in Nacogdoches, Nacogdoches 1 May (CDF); even more unusual was one at the Christmas Mountains, Brewster 5 May (ph. CO et al.). An early adult male Yellow-throated Warbler 3 Mar (†CPo) was at Martin Dies S.P., Jasper; quite surprising was one at Rio Grande Village, Brewster 7 May (GS) and another at Balmorhea S.P., Reeves 24 May (ph. ML). A male Prairie Warbler visited the Convention Center, South Padre Island, Cameron 2-6 May (m.ob.).
Always a good find as a lowland migrant, a Grace’s Warbler at the Indio Mountains Research Station 22 Apr (WE, ph.) was also just the fourth for Hudspeth. The Black-throated Gray Warbler that has been present for the past 8 winters in south San Macros, Hays was last seen 3 Mar (SRa et al.). Black-throated Gray Warblers at Quintana, Brazoria 21 Mar (MH) and at Sabine Woods, Jefferson 8 Apr (BG) were east of normal. A male Townsend’s Warbler was unusual at Santa Ana N.W.R., Hidalgo 21 Apr (RL). An early Black-throated Green Warbler was at Sabine Woods, Jefferson 13 Mar (JHa, et al.). A Canada Warbler was also early at Houston, Harris 12 Apr (ph. HG).
Tanagers through Buntings
Early returning Summer Tanagers were at Brazos Bend S.P., Fort Bend 6 Mar (ph. SRy) and Sabine Woods, Jefferson 7 Mar (JHa). A Western Tanager lingered south-southeast of Belmont, Gonzales 27 Apr – 10 May (ph. FK). Both a male and female Northern Cardinal were present much of the period at Rio Bosque Wetlands Park (JSp, m.ob.), the only regular site in El Paso for the species; more unusual was a male in west El Paso 28-29 Apr (DB).
A male Rose-breasted Grosbeak was west of normal range in El Paso, El Paso 25 May (BZ, ph.), where rare. Black-headed Grosbeaks were east of normal migration routes with 3 at a feeder 3 May at a Glen Heights residence, Dallas (TDr, ph.), a female near Sugar Land, Fort Bend through 3 Apr (ph. MSc, et al.), and a male in Friendswood, Brazoria 24 Apr (ph. JFr). The wintering Blue Bunting at Quinta Mazatlan, Hidalgo stayed to at least 21 Mar (m.ob.). Rare in the Pineywoods and likely a first county record for Liberty, a Lazuli Bunting was near Dayton 26 Apr (ph. JuL). Another was moving through the pecan trees at Washington-on-the-Brazos S.H.S., Washington 28 Apr (ph. MAW). A regional high count of at least 10 Lazuli Buntings where west of normal range in north-central Texas, including up to 2 at Kenefeso Park, Cooke, 3-5 May (BNe, GC, BlC), a first record for the county. A male Lazuli Bunting was at Packery Channel, Nueces 29 Apr (ph. JMc) while a female in Houston, Harris 29 Apr was also east of normal (ph. SP). Rare in Hudspeth, lone male Indigo Buntings were at the Indio Mountains Research Station 21 Apr (WE, ph.) and near Dell City 5 May (JiP, ph.).
Report processed by Byron Swift, 11 Oct 2020.