Texas: Spring 2020
Spring 2020: 1 March – 31 May
Carpenter, E. 2020. Spring 2020: Texas. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-8T9> North American Birds.
COVID-19 had a noticeable impact on birding in Texas in Spring 2020. The main impact was where birder coverage was increased, and where it fell off the cliff due to various restrictions as well as many birders doing less traveling to see birds. Coastal migrant traps that typically host a large number of out-of-state birders were much less crowded with birders. In some areas, major birding sites where closed for part or most of the period. Some of these more noticeable closures included Big Bend National Park, Hornsby Bend, and Anahuac N.W.R., not to mention much reduced access to state and local parks. On the other hand, many birders in the large metropolitan areas took this time to bird closer to home like never before, so there was a noticeable uptick in observations in metropolitan areas such as Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin and Houston. Paton hinted that the increased focus on local birding certainly played a part in two new El Paso county records, and we suspect this idea probably held true in other places as well.
Chris Acree (CAc), Megan Ahlgren (MAh), Jimmy Aiken (JAi), Dan Allen (DAl), Dave Allen, John Allendorf (JAl), Brett Andersen, Keith Andringa, Connie Andrus (CAn), Marlin Andrus (MAn), David Ascanio (DAs), Erik Atwell, Mike Austin (MAu), Colby Ayers (CAy), Brenda Bachs, Kenneth Bader, Laura Baker, Brad Banner (BBa), Keith Bartels (KBa), Grant Beauprez (GBe), Bob Becker (BBe), Dan Belcher (DBe), Steven Berenzweig, John Berner (JBe), Gary Binderim (GBi), Chelsea Blauvelt (CBl), Clint Boal (CBo), Joan Bohls (JBo), Daniel Boney (DBo), Marcia Braun (MBr), Ron Braun (RoB), Rik Brittain (RiB), Don Brode (DBr), Bill Brooks (BBr), Wes Browning, Joel Buford (JBu), Martin Byhower (MBy), Winston Caillouet (WCa), Ryan Call (RyC), Skip Cantrell (SkC), Kathy Cantu (KaC), Steve Cardiff (SCa), Blaine Carnes, Larry Carpenter, Kristi Carr (KrC), Jayton Carroll (JCa), Roland Castaneda (RoC), Anand Chaudhury (ACh), Cathy Cochran, Joe Cochran (JCo), Jordan Cochran, Kevin Cochran (KCo), Whitney Cochran (WCo), Tom Collins, Greg Cook, Stephen Cook (SCo), Dennis Cooke, Mel Cooksey (MCo), Rose Cooper (RCo), Jim Crites (JCr), Melissa Crookshank (MCr), Nathan Cross, Aaron Cummins (ACu), D.D. Currie (DDC), Rebecca Davis (RDa), Gaylee Dean (GDe), Richard Dean (RDe), Dennis Devlin (DDe), Nancy Devlin, Sandy Dillard (SDi), Chris Distel (CDi), Donna Dittmann (DDi), Ken Dixon, Colin Dobson (CDo), Gary Dollgender (GDo), Samuel Driver (SDr), Ted Drozdowski, Gil Eckrich, K Dean Edwards (KDE), Bill Eisele, Mark Elliott, Connor England, John Faber (JFa), Stephen Falick (SFa), Eric Faria, Tim Fennell (TFe), Joe Fischer (JFi), Nicole Foley, Bert Foquet (BFo), Susan Foster (SFo), Phyllis Frank, Tony Frank (TFr), Brush Freeman (BrF), Bob Friedrichs (BoF), Michael Gamble (MGa), Charmaine Ganson (CGa), Kim Garwood, Stephen Gast (SGa), Richards Gibbons (RGi), Steve Glover (SGl), Rod Goodwin (RGo), Caleb Gordon (CGo), Bernd Gravenstein, Michael Gray, Mike Gray (MGr), Vivian Griffey, Dave Grise, John Groves (JGr), Jonah Gula (JGu), Martin Hagne (MHa), Bobbie Hale (BoH), John Hale (JHl), Linda Hale (LiH), Lyle Hale
Brad Hall (BrH), Greg Hall (GHa), Jeff Hall (JeH), Lawrence Haller (LaH), Aaron Hammer (AaH), David Hanson (DaH), Shelia Hargis (SHa), Cathy Harrington (CHa), John Harrington, Kim Hart (KiH), Tyson Hart (THa), Ken Hartman (KeH), Drew Harvey (DrH), Lynn Hay (LyH), John Haynes (JHa), Aiden Healey (AiH), Susan Heath (SuH), Sheila Hebert (ShH), Matt Heindel (MaH), Mitch Heindel (MiH), David Henderson (DHe), Ednelza Henderson, Jonathan Henderson (JoH), Randy Hesford, Anthony Hewetson (AnH), Troy Hibbitts (THi), Jim Hinson (JiH), Fran Holmes, Gary Holmes (GHo), Lisa Holmes (LHo), Ben Horstmann (BeH), Caroline Humphries (CHu), Will Jaremko-Wright (WJW), Cameron Johnson, Dan Jones, Kyle Jones, Eric Julson, John Keagle (JKe), Kathy Keagle (KKe), Laura Keene (LKe), Daniel Kelch, Glenda Kelly, Peter Keyel (PKe), Suzanne Kho (SKh), Simon Kiacz (SKi), Al Kings, Richard Kinney, Larry Kirby (LKi), Taylor Kirkland, John Kiseda (JKi), Phillip Kite (PKi), Kendra Kocab (KKo), Logan Kote (LKo), Megan Kote, Jim Kringle (JKr), Tom Langschied, Kevin Lapp, Justin LeClaire (JuL), Cin-Ty Lee (CTL), Mark Lee (MLe), Jason Leifester (JaL), Manuel De Leon (MDL), Dell Little, Mark Lockwood (MLo), Scotty Lofland, Lorrie Lowrie, Barry Lyon, C.A. Maedgen (CAM), Britney Marchan (BrM), John Maresh (JMa), Linda Martin-Rust (LMR), Bill Matthews (BiM), Steve Mayes, Anne Mayeville (AMa), Beth McBroom (BeM), Michael McCloy (MiM), Dan McCrady (DaM), Wendy McCrady, Mark McDermott (MaM), Jon McIntyre (JMc), Bonnie McKinney (BoM), Debbie McSorley (DeM), Thomas Meinzen, Annie Meyer (AMe), Colette Micallef, Jennifer Miller (JMi), Leo Miller, Kassie Moore, Kathy Morales (KMo), John Muldrow (JMu), Ron Newhouse (RNe), Brandon Nidiffer, Rick Nirschl (RNi), John O’Brien, Carolyn Ohl (COh), Cindy Olson (COl), Doug Orama, Andrew Orgill, Tira Overstreet, Amy Packer (APa), Jay Packer (JaP), Karen Pair (KaP), Keith Pankhurst (KeP), Skyler Parks, Grant Paton, Jim Paton (JiP), Vernon Patterson (VPa), John Paul (JoP), Tim Perkins (TiP), T Peterson (T P), Randy Pinkston, Brian Plath, Charlie Plimpton (CPl), Carl Poldrack (CPo), Vicki Poorman (VPo), Wayne Poorman (WPo), Anne Prouty (APr), Will Puryear (WPu), Nancy Raginski, Tara Randle, Ross Rasmussen, Judy Reeves, Bill Reiner (BiR), Barrett Reiss (BaR), Cecilia Riley, Kelly Sampeck, Boyd Sanders (BoS), Ben Sandstrom (BeS), Laura Sare (LSa), Rich Schaefer (RSc), Bobby Schat (BSc), Tyler Scott, Willie Sekula, Paul Sellin (PSe), Jeff Sexton (JSe), Ryan Shaw (RSh), Laurie Sheppard (LSh), Brad Shine (BSh), Nate Shipley, Jim Sipiora (JSi), Brooke Smith (BSm), Doug Smith, Howard Smith, Sue Smith (SSm), Pam Smolen (PSm), Rick Snider (RSn), Steve Snyder (SSn), Lucy Spade (LSp), John Sproul (JSp), Jonathon Stanley (JoS), Greg Steeves, Barbara Stern (BaS), Jim Stevenson (JiS), Byron Stone (ByS), Rebecca Stroud (RSt), Michelle Summers, Kent Taylor, Marianne Taylor, Timothy. Thompson, Ruben Torres, Hannah Tripp, Tom VandenBerg (ToV), Nick Varvel, Tim Vasquez (TiV), Don Verser (DVe), Cindy Vigil, Darrell Vollert (DVo), Ashley Wahlberg, Christian Walker (CWa), Brendan Wang (BWa), Evan Ward (EWa), Nathaniel Watkins, Kyle Watter, Mary Anne Weber (MAW), Jeremy Webster (JeW), Ron Weeks, Janice Weigand (JaW), Carol Wells (CWe), Bert Wessling (BWe), Ed Wetzel (EWe), Linda White, Timothy White, Gordon Wilcox, Shirley Wilkerson (ShW), Hannah Willars, Jo Willars (JWi), Wendy Williams, Vicki Wilmarth, Scot Wingo (ScW), Matthew York, Barry Zimmer, Ted Zobeck.
L.R.G.V. (Lower Rio Grande Valley); L.R.G.V. N.W.R., (Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge); U.T.C. (Upper Texas Coast).
A flock of six Snow Goose just east of Winnie, Jefferson 18 Apr was very late (CPo). Likewise, a Ross’s Goose at McAlister Park, Lubbock 27 Apr (PKe, JBu, JCo, JCr) and another at Leroy Elmore Park, Lubbock 9-12 May (CC, JCo, JC, WCo) were also later than expected. A stunning male Garganey was discovered on Jones Lake at Aransas N.W.R., Calhoun 11 Apr (ph. KB). Birders searched for this ultra-rarity without luck for a couple of days. Then, it was re-found several miles away at Heron Flats, Aransas 16 Apr (ph. TO); it continued to the delight of at least 75 birders through 21 Apr (m.ob.).
A male Canvasback along the Rio Grande in central Hudspeth 16 May (ph. JiP) was late; a female at McFaddin N.W.R., Jefferson 30 May was likely oversummering (ph. GC). One Ring-necked Duck was at the Morton Water Treatment Plant, Cochran 2 May (WJW) and one Ring-necked Duck was at Reese Center Playa, Lubbock 9 May (JC) – formerly, early May reports were casual but, by contemporary standards, these are very late sightings. The first photo-documented Greater Scaup for Brazos was a group of two females and a male at Lake Bryan 28 May (ph. †ShW). An estimated count of 3,000 Lesser Scaup 23 Mar (†MiM, SKi, TS) at Lake Bryan far exceeds previous numbers for Brazos.
An adult male Surf Scoter at Bolivar Flats, Galveston 18-20 May was late (ph. SGa, DAs, et al.). Black Scoters, casual inland in Texas, were found on Lake Benbrook, Tarrant with one present 13-16 Mar and then 3 there 9 Apr (ph. JAl). Two female Buffleheads along the Rio Grande in central Hudspeth 16 May (JiP) were late. Both a late sighting and a high count, eight Common Goldeneyes were in a mixed duck flock at Lake Bryan, Brazos 23 Mar (†MiM). A female Hooded Merganser lingered through the period at a west El Paso, El Paso pond (ph. DBe); another at Thompson Park, Potter 17 May (KDE) was also late. A fifth record for Burleson, a Red-breasted Merganser was at Welch Park, Lake Somerville 11 Apr (†EF). A flock of six Red-breasted Mergansers at JoP Landing Park, Harris 20 Apr were a rare inland sight for the U.T.C. (ph. KKo, MAh, JoP, LMR).
Grebes through Cuckoos
Casual in the region was a Least Grebe found at Creek Drying Beds, Tarrant 8 Apr (ph. CAy) which was joined by a second on 28 Apr, where they continued into summer (EWe). A single Least Grebe visited Finfeather Lake, Brazos 5-8 Mar (ph. †TS, †MiM, †MaM, m.ob.). Then three showed up at a marshy pond near the Hildebrand Equine Complex of Texas A & M University 18 Apr-8 May (ph. †SKi, m.ob.), where nest building was observed on 25 Apr (ph. SKi). Least Grebes first reached Brazos in 2004 and nested that year. The grebe has been reported in 2005, 2017, and 2018 but this is only the second time breeding has been suspected in the county. Quite late was a Horned Grebe at Lake Meredith, Hutchinson 17 May (VW). An impressive 51 Eared Grebes were present at Lake Truscott, Knox 24 May (ScW). Rare in spring for north-central Texas, a Western Grebe visited Pond C, Southside Wastewater Treatment Plant, Dallas 13 Apr – 13 May (ph. RoC). Clark’s Grebes are become more regular in the Panhandle with up to two at Lake Meredith, Potter/Moore 5-14 May (RGo, KDE, VW, ME).
For the third year in a row, White-tipped Dove was detected at San Bernard N.W.R., Brazoria; photos taken 7 Apr (ph. NC) were the first physical documentation for the U.T.C. A Groove-billed Ani north of expected range in south Austin, Travis 29-30 Apr (SKh, ph. m.ob.) was a definite highlight of the season in central Texas. Far less than annual in the Trans-Pecos, a Groove-billed Ani was at Rio Grande Village, Big Bend N.P., Brewster 9 May (ToV) while another was in the Christmas Mountains, Brewster 26 May (COh). A tardy Black-billed Cuckoo was observed in Rockport, Aransas 25 May (SFo).
Nightjars through Swifts
Four Lesser Nighthawks were reported at Quintana, Brazoria 12 Mar (ph. MCr) and two were at Sabine Woods, Jefferson 3 May (CGo). A Common Pauraque in Utopia, Uvalde 1-10 Mar (MiH) was at the extreme northern edge of its range, as was one heard 28 Mar-22 Apr (audio JBo) at 9E Ranch, Bastrop. Early Common Poorwills included one at Copper Breaks S.P., Hardeman 9 Mar (BoF) and another at Buffalo Springs Lake, Lubbock 27 Mar (JMi, BSh). A Chuck-will’s-widow flushed at Estero Llano Grande S.P., Hidalgo 11 Mar (RSn) was early while 20 birds at Blucher Park 23 Apr (SkC) was a high count. The wintering Sabine’s Woods, Jefferson Chuck-will’s-widow was last reported 20 Mar (ph. SM, ShH). The Eastern Whip-poor-will reported from Goose Island S.P., Aransas in late Feb was present to at least 7 Mar (JKe, KKe). Somewhat late was an Eastern Whip-poor-will calling near Douglass, Nacogdoches 20 May (CWe).
Three Chimney Swifts seen at San Bernard N.W.R., Brazoria 15 Mar were early (WM). A White-throated Swift at Buffalo Springs Lake, Lubbock 29 Mar (DrH) was a nice find.
Hummingbirds through Cranes
An Anna’s Hummingbird west of Fort Davis, Jeff Davis 15-19 May (ph. BeM) was unusual for the spring. A male Calliope Hummingbird that wintered near Nursery, Victoria feeder was reported to 13 Apr (ph. JaW). An apparent adult male Allen’s Hummingbird stopped for one day in an El Paso, El Paso yard 14 Mar (ph. BZ). It was an above average spring for Broad-tailed Hummingbirds in northwest Texas with singles at Windsor Park, Lubbock 30 Apr (LH), in a Lubbock yard, Lubbock 4 May (KD), and another back at Windsor Park, Lubbock 6 May (LH).
A male Broad-billed Hummingbird visited feeders about 20 miles south-southeast of Sweetwater, Nolan 17 Apr (ph. JaP) for a first county and perhaps first regional record. In the Trans-Pecos, a male Broad-billed Hummingbird was northwest of Fort Davis, Jeff Davis 29 Mar (CR, ph. MGr), a female was west of Fort Davis, Jeff Davis 23 May+ (ph. LL) while a male visited an El Paso, El Paso yard 5 Apr (ph. BZ). Single Buff-bellied Hummingbirds wandered north with one 10 miles southwest of Boerne, Bandera 6-12 May (ph. TR) and another in Brackettville, Kinney 19-26 May (ph. THi). Rare in Brazos, a Buff-bellied Hummingbird was observed 25 Apr (ph. †JHl, LiH, TS) in the Wellborn area of College Station. A Buff-bellied Hummingbird at San Bernard N.W.R., Brazoria 15 May was likely a migrant (ph. WM, DaM).
A count of three Virginia Rails at Fair Park in Childress, Childress 9 Mar (APa, JaP) was a good number for the Panhandle. A Yellow Rail flushed from a roadside along Oak Island Road, Chambers 9 May was very late (CE). A tough migrant in the Pineywoods, 194 Sandhill Cranes were over Arcadia, Shelby 13 Mar (AW). Late were five Sandhill Cranes near Oldham, Oldham 12 May (WJW) and one near Panhandle, Carson 15-22 May (ME, RGo). Migrating Whooping Cranes are not detected every spring in central Texas so three sightings of multiple birds were exciting: three over Temple, Bell 1 Apr (ph. RP), a pair over east Austin, Travis 2 Apr (ph. DBr) and four birds noted just east of the eastern end of Lake Travis, Travis 16 Apr (BiR).
An impressive 52 American Avocets visited Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell 25 Apr (ph. DK, ph. RP). The spring gathering of Black-bellied Plovers in Brazos was locally impressive. With only 11 county records 1949-2017 the plover was a casual visitor found only as singles. However, with the advent of turf farms, Brazos has become a regular migrant stopping point. This season more than a dozen reports 27 Apr-18 May (ph. †SKi, m.ob.) included counts of up to seven on 18 May (†LSa). An astounding 2,500 American Golden-Plovers were tallied at the sod farm at Sims Lane, Brazos 25 Mar (ph. †SKi), while 400 near the Trinity River 10 miles northwest of Crockett, Houston 28 Mar (BaR) was a good count for the Pineywoods. Westerly American Golden-Plovers included four at the Sandia Wetland, Balmorhea, Reeves 19-20 Apr (DL, DDC, ph. SFa) and one near Allmon, Floyd 18 May (BSc). Eight America Golden-Plovers in a flooded rice field near Dayton, Liberty 13 May were a large number for so late in the season (GHo, LHo).
Inland migrating Piping Plovers are always of note: there was one five miles northeast of Merkel, Jones 19-27 Apr (ph. BBa), two at Grange Lake, Williamson 23 Apr (ph. TFe), and one more at Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, Bell 25 Apr (RP et al.). Unexpected was a record day high count of six Piping Plovers at Hagerman N.W.R., Grayson 18 Apr (LKo, MK). A seasonal record of 12 Piping Plovers were reported in north-central Texas this spring. A nice count of 55 Wilson’s Plovers was made at the Texas 48 Shrimp Basin Bridge, Cameron 16 Mar (CDo, NS). Not expected on the Edwards Plateau, a Mountain Plover eight miles southwest of Fredricksburg, Gillespie 11 Mar (ph. CDi) was rather surprising. Rare in spring in Bell, a Snowy Plover was photographed 23 Apr (ph. SSn) at Temple Lake Park, Belton Lake.
Very late migrants, four Upland Sandpipers were at Sayersville Rd, Bastrop 16 May (ph. SHa et al.) and one still there 19 May (†BiR). A single flock of 18 Whimbrels at Twin Buttes Reservoir, Tom Green 23 Apr (ph. LaH) and 11 at McAlister Park, Lubbock 29 Apr (WCo, JBu, JCo, JC, JCr, AnH, JKr, JMi, BSh, ph.) were impressive flocks for westerly locations. Just last year only the second record of Whimbrel for Brazos was reported. This year, over two dozen reports flooded eBird 17-23 Apr (ph. †ShW, m.ob.) at Sims Lane. One was present at the start but was joined by a second 22 Apr. Bell has about ten records though still notable were two at Temple Lake Park, Belton Lake 23-29 Apr (ph. CPl, m.ob.) and another at Dana Peak Park, Stillhouse Hollow Lake 25 Apr (ph. †CPl). Still another was at Richland Creek W.M.A., Freestone 5 May (ph. EWa) where it was the ninth record for the W.M.A.
Rare east of Dallas was a single Long-billed Curlew at Blue Sky Sod Farm, Dallas 25 Mar (TZ, RR), and another or the same over Trinity River Audubon Center, Dallas 27 Mar (TZ). A carefully estimated flock of 1,200 Long-billed Curlews near Dell City, Hudspeth 29 Mar (GP, JiP) was impressive but not locally unprecedented. An extremely early Hudsonian Godwit along the Bolivar Peninsula, Galveston 29 Mar (ph. DHe, EH) was a new early record for the U.T.C. and likely the state. Also early were four birds seen at San Bernard N.W.R., Brazoria 8 Apr (WM). Notably, substantial numbers of Hudsonian Godwits visited Sims Lane, Brazos 19 Apr-20 May (†SDi, m.ob.). The high count of 58 was 17 May (BE) when flocks of 17, 11, and 30 were counted. A lone Hudsonian Godwit near Becton, Lubbock 18 May (DrH, ph.) was unusual for northwest Texas.
A large group of 37 Marbled Godwits visited Twin Buttes Reservoir, Tom Green 9 Apr (ph. LaH); 11 at McAlister Park, Lubbock 14 Apr (JCo, JCr, PKe, JKr, JMi, BSh, ph.) and 34 at Lake Meredith, Hutchinson 24 Apr (RGo) were also impressive inland counts. Only the third Brazos record, 1-4 Marbled Godwits were at Sims Lane 16-18 May (ph. TS, †MaM, NF, m.ob.). Two Ruddy Turnstones were at Temple Lake Park, Belton Lake, Bell 16 May (ph. †CPl, ph. CBl et al.) and the same day one was at Dana Peak Park, Stillhouse Hollow Lake (†NW, et al.). On 16-18 May (ph. MaM, TS et al.) a surprising 3-13 were at Sims Lane, Brazos. For the second consecutive spring, Red Knots, which are casual inland in Texas, were reported at Lake Benbrook, Tarrant with four birds present there 5 May (JAl).
A Ruff near Magnolia Beach, Calhoun 25 Apr (ph. JMa) was an exceptional find, as was one at Lake Lewisville Park, Denton 13 May (ph. WCa). Sanderlings stopped in migration over Bell 18 Apr-17 May (m.ob.), topped by 11 at Temple Lake Park, Belton Lake 16 May (NV, NW, BWa). Up to five Sanderlings were noted at Sims Lane, Brazos 17-27 May (ph. SKi, m.ob.) where they were considerably rarer until the advent of turf farms. The rarest, however, and a third Bastrop record was one 25 May (†JaL) at Old Potato Road. Dunlin, another previously rare shorebird in Brazos, was reported multiple times 25 Apr-25 May (m.ob.), first at Moore Farms and then consistently at Sims Lane. High count was 15 on 16-17 May (†TS, MaM, NF) far exceeding the previous high count of three in spring.
Three Baird’s Sandpipers reported from Superior Turf Farms, Cameron 4 Mar (GDe, RDe) were early. An incredible count of 1,600 White-rumped Sandpipers was tallied at Sims Lane, Brazos 13 May (SKi); one west to Muleshoe N.W.R., Bailey 31 May (GBe) was a good find. A very early Buff-breasted Sandpiper was detected near San Benito, Cameron 3 Mar (ph. RNi, AMa); one 20 Mar (ph. †SKi) was also early at Sims Lane, Brazos, and continued to be seen regularly to 26 May. Pectoral Sandpipers visited Sims Lane, Brazos 5 Mar-18 May (m.ob.), including a high count of 1,100-1,200 on 25 Mar-5 Apr (ph. SKi, MiM). A count of 110 Pectoral Sandpipers near the Trinity River ten miles northwest of Crockett, Houston 28 Mar (BaR) was a good number for the Pineywoods.
A fourth record for Brazos, a Short-billed Dowitcher was found at Sims Lane 16-18 May (ph. TS, SKi, ph. †RNe) accompanying Long-billed Dowitchers. Setting a new high count for Brazos, 102-110 Long-billed Dowitchers were at Sims Lane, Brazos 20-26 Mar (MiM, m.ob.). At least 67 Willets tallied at Twin Buttes Reservoir, Tom Green 6 May (ph. CAM) was the highest inland count for the spring. A Wilson’s Phalarope 15-18 Mar (ph. †CWa, †KaC) was very early at Witter Lane, Bell as was one 19 Mar (MiM, ph. TS) at Sims Lane, Brazos. At Marlin W.W.T.P., 1-3 phalaropes 30 Mar-4 Apr (ph. MG) provided a second record for Falls. A Wilson’s Phalarope at Tahoka Lake, Lynn 28 Mar (MDL) was early for northwest Texas. Always of some note in spring, four Red-necked Phalaropes were split unevenly between 2 Hudspeth locations 16 May (JiP).
Jaegers through Terns
A sub-adult Pomarine Jaeger was found working the Port Aransas jetties, Aransas/Nueces 31 May (ph. WS, KG). Lingering Parasitic Jaegers were photographed at Port Bolivar, Galveston 22 Apr (ph. LB) and 8 May (ph. AiH), and Quintana, Brazoria 14 May (ph. RW). An adult Little Gull was seen working the intercoastal waterway at Bob Road on the Bolivar Peninsula, Galveston 21-26 Mar (JFa, et al.); a first-cycle bird was present on the Texas City Dike, Galveston 2 Apr (ph. DC). A Laughing Gull at Balmorhea Lake, Reeves 29 Mar (ph. MLo) was unusual, especially for the time of year. Two Franklin’s Gulls in Dell City, Hudspeth 28 May (ph. JiP) were late. The first-winter Mew Gull continued at Port Aransas, Nueces till 6 Apr (MCo). Quite late was a Ring-billed Gull at McAlister Park, Lubbock 29 May (JC, WCo). Rare in north-central Texas was a California Gull at Lake Benbrook Tarrant 21 Mar (JAl).
A Herring Gull was a bit tardy at McAlister Park, Lubbock 14 Apr (JCo, JCr, PKe, JKr, JMi, BSh). The wintering first-cycle Lesser Black-backed Gull continued at Twin Buttes Reservoir, Tom Green through 11 May (ph., m.ob.). Inland, a Glaucous Gull was found at Lake Meredith, Hutchinson 11 Mar (APa, JaP, ph.). On the U.T.C., first winter Glaucous Gulls were in the Surfside/Quintana area, Brazoria 25-29 Mar (ph. SuH, et al.) and at Bolivar Flats, Galveston 10-13 May (LM, ph. DC, et al.).
A Sooty Tern returned to Rockport Beach Park, Aransas 17 Mar (SFo) and was seen until at least 28 Mar; another was found on the Boca Chica beach, Cameron 2 May (ph. JuL). An early, especially for an inland location, Black Tern was detected at Progresso Lakes, Hidalgo 20 Mar (ph. DJ). An astonishing 548 Black Terns were recorded in wet flooded sod farms along Texas County Farm Road 2135, Fannin 8 May (GC) after overnight storms. Likewise, impressive Black Tern numbers varied from 250-800 at Sims Lane, Brazos throughout 15 May (ph. SKi, MaM, et al.). A Common Tern at Greenways Park, Randall 16 May (KDE, DS, SSm, VW) was a good find for the Panhandle.
Loons through Pelicans
Rare in north-central Texas was a Red-throated Loon at Lake Benbrook, Tarrant 13-20 Mar (ph. GC). The Pacific Loon seen from Eisenhower Park, Lake Texoma Grayson 28 Jan (ph. LSh) was last reported there 12 Mar. A beached Pacific Loon found at the high tide line at the Port Aransas Jetty, Nueces 19 May was taken in for rehabilitation (fide AO). A Common Loon at Lick Creek Park, Brazos 7 May (ph. MiM) and another at Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, Bell 16 May (NW) were both rather late.
Wood Stork reports were sprinkled through the period with some surprisingly high counts of 43 from the San Jacinto River, Harris 20 Apr (JWi, ph. HW), 42 from Houston, Harris 21 Apr (CGo), and 36 at Camp Sienna, Fort Bend (RGi). Four Wood Storks flying near La Grange 1 Apr (†MBr, RoB) were early and the first spring record for Fayette. An early Magnificent Frigatebird was spotted at Rockport, Aransas 17 Mar (SFo).
In Nueces, a Masked Booby was picked up on a Mustang Island beach and taken in to rehab 7 May (ph. AO) while another immature bird was on the Port Aransas Jetty 24 May (ph. CV). On the U.T.C., an adult Masked Booby was photographed on a pier in Seabrook, Harris 23 Mar (ph. VG) and an immature was seen being caught by rehabilitators in League City, Galveston 25 May (SB). Unbelievably but for photos, an immature Brown Booby was found sleeping on the back porch of a residence in Cameron, Milam 18 Mar (ph. WPo, VPo). Not surprisingly, it is a first record for Milam. An adult Brown Booby was inland to Canyon Lake, Comal 28 May+ (ph. GS). The peak Brown Booby count for the U.T.C. was 7 at a “shellfish” marker in West Galveston Bay, Galveston 20 May (ph. SuH, et al.).
Inland Brown Pelicans included one at Granger Lake, Williamson 18 Apr (ph. BSm), another at Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, Bell 23 Apr (ph. DK), one at Proctor Lake, Comanche 9-18 May (ph. KW) and two at Twin Buttes Reservoir, Tom Green 26 May – 2 Jun (ph. RH). In north-central Texas, one wandered to Lake Pat Cleburne, Johnson 18 Apr – 30 May (ph. JAi) while two were at the Lake Tawakoni Spillway, Van Zandt 2 May (RK).
Herons through Ibises
An American Bittern near Old Lake, Henderson 27 Mar (ph. TK et al.) was a nice find, as was one near Floydada, Floyd 25 Apr (APa, JaP). A late American Bittern was at San Bernard N.W.R., Brazoria 30 May (T P). It was a nice season for Least Bitterns in the Lubbock, Lubbock area with one at Lake Six 16 Apr (BSh), another at Lubbock Lake Landmark 5 May (BSc), and nine more at Lake Six 17 May (AnH). Elsewhere, one was at Moore Farms 25 Apr (ph. JHl, MaM, TS) and another was detected at Village Creek Drying Beds, 25-27 May (ph. EWe).
A dozen White Ibis 16 Apr (†KS) near Navasota provided only the third spring record for Grimes. Inland Glossy Ibis include one at Richland Creek W.M.A., Navarro 5 Apr (†GC, ph. SGl), another northeast of Knippa, Uvalde 8-16 Apr (ph. RCo), one at the Crosbyton Playa, Crosby 25 Apr (APa, JaP), one in Temple, Bell 28 Apr (ph. RP), and another at Richland Creek W.M.A., Navarro 23 May (ph. †CJ). On the U.T.C., an impressive seven Glossy Ibis with five on nest were at Shoveler Pond at Anahuac N.W.R., Chambers 16 May (ph. CTL).
Osprey through Hawks
Marking the latest spring record for Brazos, an Osprey was at Lake Bryan 26 May (†TS). Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, El Paso is the only reliable site for White-tailed Kite in the western Trans-Pecos. One to two were seen there 10-27 Mar, then were absent before returning 30 May+ (JSp, m.ob.). Late and west were lone Swallow-tailed Kites in north Austin, Travis 2 May (ph. ByS), at the Medina River Natural Area, Bexar 6 May (LC), in south Austin, Travis 8 May (SHa) and northwest of Georgetown, Williamson 12 May (KaP). At least five Swallow-tailed Kites returned to Dever’s Creek Park in Ganado, Jackson this spring (m.ob.) where they started nesting activities.
Golden Eagles are rare anywhere in the central oaks and prairies, so it was quite surprising to have three reports of singles this season: at Allen Ranch, Bastrop 14 Mar (ph. †DAl), at Shipp/Stagners Lake, Bastrop 29 Mar (†BG), and at Nails Creek, Lake Somerville 27 Apr (ph. RT), the latter providing a first record for Lee. A sign of an apparent increase in summering/breeding in northwest Texas, a pair of Cooper’s Hawks set up shop in an Amarillo yard, Randall (VW, ph.) while one was at Clapp Park, Lubbock 1-17 May (JCo, BSc). Cooper’s Hawk is also increasing in El Paso, El Paso as a nester with four active nests noted this spring, three on the west side of town and one in central El Paso (m.ob.).
An impressive sight, nine Bald Eagles were seen at the same time at Richland Creek W.M.A., Freestone/Navarro 10 May (BC, GC, SGl). Late reports for the Panhandle included one near Spearman, Ochiltree 26 May (TM) and another at Lake Palo Duro, Hansford 28 May (DrH). A pair of Bald Eagles produced an eaglet at Aransas N.W.R., Aransas this spring (m.ob.). The Common Black Hawk that spent its second winter at a resaca in Brownsville, Cameron was last reported 8 Mar (m.ob.). A migrant Common Black Hawk was over El Paso, El Paso 4 Apr (ph. BZ); there are only about 5 local spring records, mostly in early April. A Common Black Hawk near Lake Nasworthy, Tom Green 28 Apr (ph. TiV) was a great find. Two Harris’s Hawks just southeast of Belton Lake, Bell 20-22 May (ph. GE, ph. CPl) were well north of their expected range.
A Red-shouldered Hawk in El Paso 25 Mar (ph. JGr) was an overdue county first for El Paso. Three Broad-winged Hawks in El Paso 15 Apr – 10 May (ph. JiP, ph. BZ) were slightly above area average for this rare migrant. A highlight of the season in central Texas was a flyover light-morph Short-tailed Hawk east of Mico, Medina 17 Mar (ph. LKe) though one was seen briefly nearby last spring as well. A light-morph Short-tailed Hawk in El Paso, El Paso 16 Apr (ph. JiP) was a county first.
Zone-tailed Hawks seem to be expanding a bit in recent years or perhaps just wandering a bit more. El Paso, El Paso had two records of Zone-tailed Hawk – one 3-8 Mar (ph. JGr) likely wintered locally, but one 12 Apr (JiP) was clearly a migrant. Others out of place included one over Lubbock, Lubbock 24 Mar (CBo, ph.) and another at Goliad S.P., Goliad 24 Mar (ph. JMc). Although rare in Bell with about ten prior records, this spring single Zone-taileds were reported three times: 20 Apr (ph. †CPl) at Cowhouse Creek, Belton Lake; 21 Apr (†RDa) at Dana Peak Park, Stillhouse Hollow Lake; and 8 May (ph. †DO) at Temple Lake Park, Belton Lake.
Woodpeckers through Falcons
Red-headed Woodpeckers along the western edge of their range were one at the Littlefield Cemetery, Lamb 6 May (WJW), another at Clapp Park, Lubbock 12 May (BSh), and a pair in Yellowhouse Canyon, Lubbock 14-31 May (JCo, CC, JC, WCo, BSh, ph.). As many as four Acorn Woodpeckers northwest of Leakey, Real 7-14 Mar (ph. CGa) were a good sign for the small population in the region. A Red-bellied Woodpecker was unusually west at Clapp Park, Lubbock 12 May (JCr). A Ladder-backed Woodpecker at Brenham 29 May (†DVo) was the first report in Washington in over ten years. A Pileated Woodpecker seen in flight over a ranch pasture in Kenedy 11 Mar (TL et al.) shocked the observers since the species normally occurs only as close as 150 miles to the north. Interestingly, a Pileated Woodpecker was reported from the same ranch two years ago.
Crested Caracara at the northeast edge of its range include one northeast of Rocky Branch, Morris 8 May (JR) and two more southwest of De Kalb, Morris 24 may (ph. JR). A first nesting record for Brazos, American Kestrel nestlings were detected at a nest site near Carter Lake 15 May (LiH). A Merlin along White’s Ranch Road, Jefferson 6 May was late (JBe).
Both of the Rose-throated Becards at Resaca de la Palma S.P., Cameron this winter lingered into spring, with at least one there until 21 Mar (WW). The female at Bentsen Rio Grande Valley S.P., Hidalgo (ph. AMe) was last seen 21 Mar. The wintering “Lawrence’s” Dusky-capped Flycatcher at Resaca de la Palma S.P., Cameron was last reported 4 Mar (m.ob.). With access to a lot of habitat restricted and fewer birders in the Trans-Pecos this spring, sightings of Dusky-capped Flycatcher were limited to one set of sightings west of Fort Davis, Jeff Davis 24 Apr+ (JSe, BeM, SCa, DDi). A Great Crested Flycatcher heard on Old Nelsonville Road, Austin 11 Mar was early (DVo); another at White River Lake, Crosby 25 Apr (APa, JaP) was unusually west.
North-central Texas had an impressive mini-invasion of Great Kiskadees. Single Great Kiskadees were found on Dunham Road, Lake Grapevine Tarrant 16 Apr (BB, KeP), a nest-building individual at Buddy Steward Park, Cleburne, Johnson 24-Apr – 1 May (JoS, GW, ph.), one at Lake Tawakoni S.P., Hunt 1 May (RR, TZ), one adjacent to Chambers Creek south of Maypearl Ellis 11-12 May (GDo), one at Jetty Lake Park, Waxahachie, Ellis, 16 May (ph. TD), and one at Lake Ray Roberts S.P., Isle de Bois Unit, Denton 20 May (MS). Elsewhere, a calling Great Kiskadee was observed 2-3 Apr (audio †JaL) in Elgin, Bastrop and a different sighting was 12 Apr (JaL) at Sayersville Road.
A Tropical Kingbird pair south of Candelaria, Presidio 25 May (DL, DDC) was unusual, though certainly fits in with recent sightings in the El Paso area where as many as five birds returned to Ascarate Park, El Paso 1 May+ (ph. JKi, m.ob.) for their third summer, still the only known location for them in the county. Ever-expanding, a Couch’s Kingbird was vocalizing in Mertzon, Irion 20-31 May (ph. JaP). The Couch’s Kingbird first reported in Bryan, Brazos 12 Oct 2019 was still present at Finfeather Lake 22 Mar (audio MiM, ph. TS, CJ, KA). Two calling at Caldwell 10 Apr (†BoF) provided Burleson with its first record. Bell had three reports: at Witter Lane 5 Apr (†RP, m.ob.), at Belton 12 Apr (†RP), and at Shallow Ford Road 18 Apr (†JeH). A good movement of 43 Eastern Kingbirds passed through the Cedar Springs area 30 Apr (MG), giving a high count for Falls.
Continuing the trend from winter a Fork-tailed Flycatcher was found southeast of San Manuel-Linn, Hidalgo 17 Mar (ph. KCo, DA). An Olive-sided Flycatcher in El Paso, El Paso 9 Apr (ph. JGr) was about three weeks early of more expected arrival dates. Early Eastern Wood-Pewees were heard at Sabine Woods, Jefferson 29 Mar (DeM) and photographed at San Bernard N.W.R., Brazoria 4 Apr (ph. JHl). The wintering Gray Flycatcher at Knolle Ranch, Jim Wells/Nueces 31 Dec stayed to at least 13 Mar (TFr, MAu). A Gray Flycatcher along the Rio Grande in central Hudspeth 18 Mar (ph. BoF) was either about three weeks early or had wintered locally. Black Phoebes are seemingly becoming more regular in the Lubbock area with one at Aztlan Park 16-31 Mar (GK, AnH, PKi, ph.), one at Buffalo Springs Lake 27 Mar (BSh), and one more at Clapp Park, 27-31 Mar (JCo, JBu, JC, JCr, JMi, BSc, BSh, ph.). Continuing since 18 Jan, a Say’s Phoebe was last seen 15 Mar (LiH) at Moore Farms, Brazos. Unusual was a male Vermilion Flycatcher at the Kilgore Cemetery, Gregg 14 Mar (ph. DBo).
Extra-limital Black-capped Vireos were scattered across the state with one on South Padre Island, Cameron 1 Apr (ph. KMo, EJ, MT), another near Caprock, Crosby 25 Apr (APa, JaP), one at Galveston’s Kempner Park, Galveston 26 Apr (ph. BBe, m.ob.), and one more at Estero Llano Grande S.P., Hidalgo 6-7 Mar (ph. BP, m.ob.). A White-eyed Vireo at Palo Duro Canyon S.P., Randall 21-26 Apr (DS, SSm, VW) and another at Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Randall 9-11 May (DS, SSm) hinted at a westward expansion in the Panhandle. Increasing their presence and starting to colonize areas off the Edwards Plateau are Hutton’s Vireos; one was singing ten miles southeast of Baird, Callahan 18 Apr (JaP) while another was studied building a nest along the Dove Creek drainage eight miles southeast of Mertzon, Irion 30 May (ph. CR, DVe). Rare but regular in fall and winter, a Hutton’s Vireo in El Paso 24 Mar (ph. JGr) was lingering later than usual.
The wintering Cassin’s Vireo at Rosehill Cemetery, Nueces stayed until 31 Mar (m.ob.). Late Blue-headed Vireos included singles 17 May at Anahuac N.W.R., Chambers (PSm, DaH) and 18 May on the west side of Houston, Harris (AaH). The wintering Plumbeous Vireo at Roselawn Cemetery in McAllen, Hidalgo was reported to 1 Mar (m.ob.). Another Plumbeous Vireo was spotted at Rose Hill Cemetery in Corpus Christi, Nueces 16 Mar (ph. MCo). A Red-eyed Vireo was notable at Lake Six, Lubbock 4 May (AnH). A Yellow-green Vireo was detected in a mixed flock on the Rail Trail at Aransas N.W.R., Aransas 19 Apr (ph. JO). Last year’s Yellow-green Vireo returned to The Post Park south of Marathon, Brewster 9 May+ (ph. SFa, m.ob.). A Black-whiskered Vireo was at Sabine Woods, Jefferson 24 Apr (ph. WB, RSt, ph. BE, ph. BaS, ph. BN, ph. BiM).
Jays through Pipits
At least two Steller’s Jays lingered in west El Paso, El Paso through at least 29 Mar (JGr, JKi). Small numbers of Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jays remained in El Paso through at least 2 May (m.ob.). The first photo-documented record in McLennan for Chihuahuan Raven occurred 26 Apr (ph. †JMu) in the far western corner of the county. An early Bank Swallow was at Buffalo Springs Lake, Lubbock 23 Mar (JCr).
A Red-breasted Nuthatch at Bear Creek Park, Harris 1 May was late and somewhat unexpected since it was not an invasion year (TW). Record late for north-central Texas was a Brown Creeper at Prairie Creek Park, Collin, 18 May (RR, TZ). A House Wren seen and heard at George Bush Park, Harris 26 May was the latest ever for the U.T.C. (TW). A Sedge Wren was a rarely detected prize at Balmorhea Lake, Reeves 12 Mar (ph. EA); two heard singing along 8 Mile Road on West Galveston Island, Galveston 24 May were quite late (MAW).
At the eastern edge of their winter range were seven Western Bluebirds near Crowell, Foard 9 Mar (BoF). A count of 23 Western Bluebirds at Big Spring S.P., Howard 14 Mar (MLo) was a notable number. Ranging west was a Veery near Utopia, Uvalde 9 May (MiH), west of Fort Davis, Jeff Davis 14 May (ph. WS, KG), and at Thompson Park, Potter 17 May (DS, SSm). An early Swainson’s Thrush was north of Kenefick, Liberty 29 Mar (CM). A Wood Thrush near Centerpoint, Kerr 27 Mar (TC) was both early and westward. A Clay-colored Thrush was present near Benavides, Duval 28-31 Mar (ph. BoF) while two were at Lake Findley in Alice, Jim Wells 22 Mar (TL). A Clay-colored Thrush in Ingram, Kerr 7 Apr – 3 June (ph. PSe) was an outstanding find and one of the most northerly records ever in Texas.
Large numbers of migrating Gray Catbirds stopped to feed on mulberries at Brison Park, Brazos 1 May (SKi, MiM); 16 were tallied there and the next day 17 were at Hensel Park (BFo). A Curve-billed Thrasher seen at Quintana, Brazoria 20-26 May was most unexpected (KJ, ph. MHa, et al.).
Texas’s first White Wagtail found in early February below Longhorn Dam, Travis continued to be seen until 5 Apr to the delight of many birders (ph., m.ob.). Late was an American Pipit at Clapp Park, Lubbock 13 May (SDr, AK).
Finches Through Sparrows
Up to seven Red Crossbills at Lake Ray Roberts S.P., Denton 10-30 Mar (JSi, ph. m.ob.) and a lone vocalizing bird near Boykin Springs, Angelina 14 May (RSc) were good finds, especially for a non-invasion year. Likewise, after a winter with none locally, notably late was a Red Crossbill photographed by a game camera trained on a water feature in an El Paso, El Paso yard 15 May (BZ).
Occasional in Bastrop, this spring Cassin’s Sparrows were reported nearly a dozen times at Gotier Trace Road and Sayersville Road 25 Apr-25 May (ph. JaL, m.ob.). A Black-throated Sparrow present at Oso Bay Wetlands Preserve, Nueces 3-5 Mar (GDe, RDeet al.) was probably on the hunt for food due to drought conditions. A real outlier well out of range was a Black-chinned Sparrows at Buffalo Springs Lake, Lubbock 27-29 Mar (JMi, DrH, PKe, BSh, ph.).
A Dark-eyed Junco at Clapp Park, Lubbock 15 May (KM, ph.) was perhaps the latest for the region. A Golden-crowned Sparrow in Arroyo Park in El Paso 5 Mar (ph. KL) was the first El Paso record in a number of years. Late Lincoln’s Sparrows included one on 18 May at Sugar Land, Fort Bend, with it being the second latest ever for the U.T.C. (RSh), and an even later bird along the Brazos River Valley Trail, Washington 27 May (†DVo). East of expected haunts was a Green-tailed Towhee near Aspermont, Stonewall 22 Mar (GC, SGl). An Eastern Towhee was west of its normal range near Estelline Station, Hall 8 Mar (APa, JaP); one seen 7 May at Sabine Woods, Jefferson was the second latest ever for the U.T.C. (JHa).
Blackbirds And Orioles
Migrating Yellow-headed Blackbirds were reported more often than usual through Bastrop and Brazos, starting with an early record 5-12 Apr (ph. JaL) at Sayersville Road and then in Brazos with a flock of 150 12-15 Apr (BE, SKi, m.ob.) at Cotrone Dix Lane. In the Pineywoods, lone Yellow-headed Blackbirds were found northeast of Hunstville, Walker 31 Mar (APr, BrH) and in Gun Barrel City, Henderson 31 Mar (ph. CHu). A many as six Bobolinks northeast of Elgin, Travis 18-20 May (ph. BiR, m.ob.) was a good count along the western edge of their migration path. Other notable counts for central Texas included two at Sayersville Road, Bastrop 25 Apr (†BrF), 10 at Newman Bottom, Lee 6 May (†JeW), and one at Fort Hood, Bell 22 May (†CPl).
A male Orchard Oriole seen at the South Padre Island Convention Center, Cameron 5 Mar (FH et al.) was likely a very early migrant since no wintering Orchard Orioles were reported from deep South Texas. A stunning male Hooded Oriole 10 miles north-northwest of Llano, Llano 13 Mar (ph. BBr) was well north and east of its expected range. Hooded Orioles were also at Quintana, Brazoria 31 Mar (LKi, SuH) and Stevenson Woods on West Galveston Island, Galveston 17 Apr (ph. JiS, GHa). A male Hooded Oriole of the cucullatus group, and clearly not a locally breeding nelsoni with which it was seen for direct comparison, in El Paso 13-29 Apr (ph. BZ) was a first for El Paso. The observer felt it looked better for nominate cucullatus rather than sennetti.
A Bullock’s Oriole at Palo Duro Canyon S.P., Randall 5-10 Mar (COl, DS) was exceptionally early for the Panhandle; another at Laguna Atascosa N.W.R., Cameron 7 Mar (ph. CHa, JH) was probably an early spring arrival as well. On the U.T.C., a Bullock’s Oriole at Quintana, Brazoria 23 Apr was the last sighting after a banner winter for the species there (MCr, LyH). The rare Audubon’s Oriole that first appeared 16 Feb in Bastrop was last seen 5 Mar (ph. JGu) near the intersection of Dairy and Earl Callahan Roads. A count of 425 migrating Baltimore Orioles with an astonishing 117 birds in one tree made on Padre Island National Seashore, Kleberg 18 Apr (JMc) recalled days of old. A male Baltimore Oriole in Pasadena, Harris 28 May was late (KiH, THa).
A Bronzed Cowbird along Byran Farm Road, Young 12 May (SL) wandered far north of normal range. Bronzed Cowbirds rarely penetrate into the Pineywoods so a male at Lake Livingston S.P., Polk 17 May (JO) was a notable find.
An Ovenbird was in El Paso, El Paso 13 May (ph. JiP). A Worm-eating Warbler in north Austin, Travis 7 May (m.ob.) and another in Georgetown, Williamson 13 May (MBy et al.) were good finds for central Texas; likewise, one at Village Creek Drying Beds, Tarrant 10 May (ph. CAy) was a highlight there. Single Blue-winged Warblers at Texas Point N.W.R. and Sabine Woods, both Jefferson 22 Mar were early (JHa, SM, ShH, GBi). A Blue-winged Warbler was a great find west of its migration route in the Christmas Mountains, Brewster 17 May (ph. COh, JMc) while one at Quintana, Brazoria 16-17 May (ph. LSp, et al.) was considered late there. At least four different Golden-winged x Blue-winged Warbler hybrids were seen in South Texas this spring when normally only one bird may be reported.
A bit early was a Black-and-white Warbler at Clapp Park, Lubbock 31 Mar (JCo, JMi, BSh). A pair of Prothonotary Warblers was discovered on territory at Lake Waco Wetlands, McLennan 25 Apr (ph. JMu) and a third bird was suspected. Monitored regularly, a third bird was confirmed 24 May (audio ph. MY, JMu, ACh) and at least one remained on territory into June. A Prothonotary Warbler was off-course to the west at Clapp Park, Lubbock 3 May (BSc, DrH). A late Swainson’s Warbler was found at Blucher Park, Nueces 17 May (ph. WS).
A Tennessee Warbler was quite far west in El Paso, El Paso 26 Apr (JiP). A Nashville Warbler at Quintana, Brazoria 17 May was late for the U.T.C. (SuH, JFi). A Virginia’s Warbler that visited Packery Channel 28-29 Apr (DG, ph., m.ob.) provided for a rare Nueces and South Texas record. A Mourning Warbler was notable at Ransom Lake, Lubbock 6 May (JCr). The warbler of the season for El Paso was the Kentucky Warbler that visited an El Paso yard 21 May (ph. BZ) for only about the fifth local spring record. A Hooded Warbler wandered west to Kerr W.M.A., Kerr 20 Apr (MGa, NR).
May 16 was a good warbler migration day in Brazos when 15 American Redstarts were found at Georgie K. Fitch Park (BFo) and another 21 were at Brison Park (SKi). An American Redstart was west to El Paso, El Paso 25 May (GP) where the species is rare but annual. A Cape May Warbler at a pond along the west side of County Road 3515 between County Road 3523 and County Road 3533, Wills Point, Van Zandt 2 May (ph. VPa) was an exciting rare sighting; historically accidental in north-central Texas, this species has been found in the region three of the last four years. Not regularly found in the Pineywoods, a Cape May Warbler visited Tyler S.P., Smith 5 May (BoS). Normally Cape May Warbler is a species usually found only on the coastal barrier islands in migration so a well-described male at Knolle Ranch, Jim Wells 10 May (RiB) was notable for the inland location.
A female Cerulean Warbler in northwest Houston, Harris 19 May was a new record late date for the U.T.C. (KeH). Sutton’s Warbler, the named hybrid for Northern Parula x Yellow-throated Warbler, is rarely documented in Texas so one seven miles southeast of Round Mountain, Blanco 2 May+ (ph. BL, BSm) was a great find. Westerly Northern Parulas included 2 at the County Road 301 Woodlot, Cottle 19 Apr (APa, JaP), one at Clapp Park, Lubbock 10-11 May (JC, WCo, DrH, AnH, JMi, BSh), and one more in El Paso, El Paso 29-30 May (ph. BZ). A Magnolia Warbler south of La Linda, Brewster 22 Apr (BoM) was unexpected.
A Bay-breasted Warbler was a bit west in San Angelo, Tom Green 1-2 May (ph. LW); 30 at Rose Hill Cemetery, Nueces 9 May (MaH, WS) was a good number. Early for so far north was a Yellow Warbler at Guy Park, Lubbock 20-23 Mar (JCo, ph.). A Chestnut-sided Warbler at Palo Duro Canyon S.P., Randall 5 May (HT) and another below Lake Six, Lubbock 9 May (BA, MLe) were great finds so far west. Westerly Blackpoll Warblers included one below the T & P Lake Dam, Callahan 30 Apr (BC), one at Clapp Park, Lubbock 10-11 May (AnH, m.ob., ph.), another at Thompson Park, Potter 17 May (KDE, DS, SSm), and one more back at Clapp Park, Lubbock 19 May (JCr). A Blackpoll Warbler that hit a window on North Padre Island, Nueces 28 May was kind of late (ph. SCo).
The wintering Black-throated Blue Warbler lingered at and in the vicinity of a suet feeder at Arborside Drive, Dallas through 22 Apr (TK, m.ob., ph.). In South Texas, a male Black-throated Blue Warbler visited a Cameron yard 29 Apr (BrM) while another male was spotted eating grapes at Packery Channel, Nueces 3-4 May (ph. KCo, DA et al.). A Palm Warbler near Lake Nasworthy, Tom Green 28 Apr (ph. LaH) was a nice find; one at Bermuda Beach, Galveston 15 May was the second latest spring record ever for the U.T.C. (TiP). A Pine Warbler at Clapp Park, Lubbock 16 May (AnH, ph.) was a rare regional migrant.
A Yellow-rumped Warbler from Bear Creek Park, Harris 30 May tied the second latest spring record for the U.T.C. (JiH). A Yellow-throated Warbler at Abilene S.P. near Lake Abilene, Taylor 17 May (ph. JCa) was unexpected. A male Townsend’s Warbler at San Luis Pass, Galveston 24 Apr was notable as the species is less than annual in spring (ph. HS, m.ob.); another at Packery Channel, Nueces 26-27 Apr (ph. WPu et al.) was the only one in south Texas this season. A male Hermit Warbler that decided to check out one of few good sized trees at Padre Island National Seashore, Kleberg 8 Apr (ph. TT) provided a rare and exciting find. A male Black-throated Green Warbler seen at Conroe, Montgomery 30 May was late (DHe, JoH).
A singing Rufous-capped Warbler found near Benavides, Duval 28 Mar (ph. BoF) was well away from Southwest Texas where most records are from. It was present the next day and was seen again 12 May (BoF). A Canada Warbler from north Houston, Harris 29 May was late (RyC). Quite early were single Wilson’s Warblers at Guy Park, Lubbock 31 Mar (JMi, BSh) and at Clapp Park, Lubbock 1 Apr (BSh).
Tanagers through Dickcissels
A Scarlet Tanager wandered west to just north of Lake Fort Phantom Hill, Jones 14 May (ph. BoH); a nocturnal flyover recorded at Rice University in Houston, Harris 28 May was late (audio CTL). Western Tanagers were noted from an impressive nine different U.T.C. locations. The last was reported from San Bernard N.W.R., Brazoria 9 May (WM). Casual east of normal range and in north-central Texas was a Western Tanager at Lake Lewisville Environmental Center, Denton 9 May (ACu). A male Northern Cardinal had returned to Rio Bosque Wetlands Park by 9 Mar (JSp) with three or more present by the end of the period (m.ob.); this is the only reliable site for the species in El Paso.
An impressive number for Lubbock and surrounding areas were multiple reports of Rose-breasted Grosbeak: one at Leftwich Park, Lubbock 25 Apr (BSh, JBu, AnH, SP, ph.), 2 at County Road Z, Swisher 20 Apr (CAn, MAn), another below Lake Six, Lubbock 5 May (AnH), and up to four at Clapp Park, Lubbock 15-17 May (JCr, AnH, JMi, KM, BSh). At least three Rose-breasted Grosbeaks were in El Paso 5-23 May (JGr, JKi, JiP) where rare but annual; more unusual was one near Dell City, Hudspeth 28 May (ph. JiP). Above normal for north-central Texas were five reports of single Black-headed Grosbeaks: Lake Benbrook, Tarrant 30 Apr (ph. CAc), Miller Creek Reservoir, 1 May (BC), Lake Wichita, Archer, 9 May, (SL), Lucy Park, Wichita 9 May (BeS), and Chat Trail, Lake Wichita, Wichita 16 May (ph. SL). With only a handful of records for Bell, a good discovery was a male Black-headed Grosbeak 8 May (†GE) at Belton. In South Texas, single male Black-headed Grosbeaks were reported from Laguna Atascosa N.W.R., Cameron 23 Mar (ph. MT) and in Nueces in a Corpus Christi backyard 1 Apr (KT) & Packery Channel 30 Apr-1 May (MCo).
Single Lazuli Buntings were reported from San Juan, Hidalgo 16 7 20 Apr (ph. BWe), in Nueces at Pollywog Pond 15 Apr (ph. ND, DDe) & Mustang Island 26 Apr (BeH et al.) and in San Patricio 9 Apr (SkC). On the U.T.C., Lazuli Buntings were at Sabine Woods, Jefferson 16 Apr (JHa), Lafitte’s Cove, Galveston 25 Apr (KrC), and Cullinan Park, Fort Bend (PF, TFr). Of note was a male Varied Bunting found in a flock of Painted Buntings on Mustang Island, Nueces 19 Apr (KBa, MaH, ph. WS). A male Varied Bunting at Quintana, Brazoria 20 Apr (ph. MCr, et al.) was one of only a handful of U.T.C. records. Six hundred Dickcissels was the conservative estimate of a huge flock at Little River Academy, Bell 25 Apr (RP).
Report processed by Byron Swift, 26 Sep 2020
Great report. Thanks!