Texas: Spring 2021

Spring 2021: 1 Mar–31 May

Eric Carpenter

Recommended citation:

Carpenter, E. 2021. Spring 2021: Texas. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-bux> North American Birds.

After Winter Storm Uri hit Texas hard in mid-Feb, I’m not sure birders knew what to expect come springtime. The impact of the prolonged sub-freezing temperatures of that storm was felt throughout the spring mostly via the absence of regular residents, such as Eastern Bluebirds and Eastern Phoebe, that presumably perished during the storm. Some of these species did start to rebound as spring progressed but many did not. As an example, around Lubbock, Hewetson noted the conspicuous absence of Verdin as the summer season started.

Weather-wise, in the eastern two-thirds of the state it was generally a much cooler and wetter spring than in recent years. Storms seemed to help with some good migrant groundings resulting from “fall-out” conditions on the UTC. For the rest of the state, however, migration was more the typical hit or miss, especially inland. Unfortunately, west Texas and particularly the central Trans-Pecos missed out on the much-needed rain. A wide swath of land from the Guadalupe Mountains to the Davis Mountains and approaching the Chisos Mountains remained in the Exceptional Drought category. These tinder dry conditions also contributed to several significant wildfires at higher elevations of some of these precious sky islands. During mid-April, the “South Rim” fire impacted about 1000 acres of some of the best high elevation birding area in the Chisos Mountains, and the “Dog” fire consumed about 2000 acres in the Guadalupe Mountains from mid-May into early June. The impact of this was sadly predictable, with late and lost migrants and species aborting spring and early summer breeding efforts.

Still, there were some real prizes to be found rarity-wise. The state’s first documented Limpkin(s) appeared finally, after teasing us for the last several years by their increasing presence next door in Louisiana— stay tuned, as more to come on that front in the Summer season. On the opposite end of the spectrum, completely unexpected and quite the head-scratcher, was a seemingly healthy non-captive Steller’s Sea-Eagle found as a one-day wonder on the Coastal Bend. It is probably safe to say that nobody had associated “Sea-Eagle” and “Texas” on their rare bird bingo cards! Likewise, a flycatcher found in Nueces Co in mid-May that was identified as an Empidonax has only recently (Aug 2021) been looked at again and is thought to be a Small-billed Elaenia, a South American species and also a shocking potential first Texas record!

Sub-regional Compilers
Steve Cardiff (eastern Trans-Pecos, email: scardif@gmail.com), Eric Carpenter (Central Texas, email: ecarpe@gmail.com), Bert Frenz (Central Oaks and Prairies, email: bert2@bafrenz.com), Anthony Hewetson (Panhandle and South Plains, email: fattonybirds@gmail.com), Jim Paton (El Paso and Hudspeth Counties, email: jnpaton@att.net), Ross Rasmussen (North-central Texas, email: ross.rasmussen@att.net), David Sarkozi (Photo editor, email: david@sarkozi.net), Willie Sekula (South Texas, email: williebird22@gmail.com), Ron Weeks (Upper Texas Coast, email: ronweeks@sbcglobal.net), David Wolf (East Texas/Pineywoods, email: dewolfnac@gmail.com)

LRGV (Lower Rio Grande Valley), Uri (short-hand used below for the 11–20 Feb 2021 winter storm event that was comprised of Winter Storm Uri and Winter Storm Viola), UTC (Upper Texas Coast).

Waterfowl through Swifts

A combined total of 18 Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks at two locations in Hereford, Deaf Smith Co 13 May (ph. Vicki Wilmarth) confirms the site to be a stronghold for the species at the very northern limit of their range. Eight Fulvous Whistling-Ducks at Hornsby Bend, Travis Co 14 Mar (ph. Adam McInroy, m.ob.) was a good number well north of usual haunts; one wonders if the seven Fulvous Whistling-Ducks at Pedernales Falls SP, Blanco Co 9 May (ph. David Braun) were the same wandering flock. Other outlier Fulvous Whistling-Ducks included singles southwest of Millican, Brazos Co 30 Apr–1 May (ph. John Hale, Keith Andringa), at Lake Waco Wetlands, McLennan Co 9 May (Randolph King), and at Alazan Bayou WMA, Nacogdoches Co 17 Apr (ph. David Wolf). The only wild Muscovy Duck reported was a lone bird at the species’ usual Rio Grande haunts around Salineño, Starr Co 13 Apr–28 May (ph. Tom Hince, Jeff Stacey et al.). A male Garganey found at Sabal Palm Sanctuary, Cameron Co 3 Apr (ph. Emily Reasor, Chan Dolan) provided a first for the LRGV; unfortunately, it was a one-day wonder. A nice tally of 14 Cinnamon Teal was on Flag Pond at Lake Somerville SP, Lee Co 24 Mar (Michael McCloy) while more impressive were 37 at Lake Meredith, Hutchinson Co 18 Mar (James Hamous). A first for McLennan Co, a Eurasian Wigeon at the Waco Wastewater Treatment Ponds 5–9 Mar (ph. Fay Ratta, Jeremy Ballard, ph. Anand Chaudhary, Keith Reich, Matthew York, m.ob.) was one of the seasonal highlights for central Texas. High counts of American Wigeon for late in the season included 35 at McGee Lake, Potter Co 2 May (K. Dean Edwards) and 27 at Lake Rita Blanca, Hartley Co 3 May (Drew Harvey).

The UTC’s first Mexican Duck was found among “park” Mallards at Houston’s Deputy Darren Goforth/Horsepen Creek Park, Harris Co 21 Mar–15 Apr (ph. Letha Slagle, John Berner et al.); another along the Canyon Lakes, Lubbock Co 15 Apr (Joel Buford, Jim Crites, m.ob. ph.) was also a good find. Rather late were three Canvasbacks at Lake Rita Blanca, Hartley Co 3 May (Drew Harvey); one at Horizon City, El Paso Co 24–27 May (Michael Harvey) was exceptionally so. As many as 29 Redheads at the Cone Playa, Crosby Co 15–24 May (Mark Lockwood, Anthony Hewetson) was a nice total for so late in the season. A male Greater Scaup in Laporte, Harris Co 13-14 May (ph. Cin-ty Lee) was among the latest ever for the UTC. The latest staying Surf Scoter was a beached male at Bolivar Flats, Galveston Co 30 May (ph. Don Danko, Ad Konings, Damien Wilson). A Long-tailed Duck stayed briefly at Walter E. Long Lake, Travis Co 11–14 Mar (Erik Sauder, ph. Jeff Osborne, ph. Richard Kaskan) while another lingered at Bryan Beach, Brazoria Co 13–28 Mar (ph. Melissa Crookshank, Brad Lirette, m.ob.). The Long-tailed Duck that wintered at Cross Creek Wetlands, Fort Bend Co was present until 21 Mar (ph. Andy Liu, Elizabeth Timmer, m.ob.). Extremely tardy Buffleheads included a pair at the Jonathon Rogers Wastewater Plant in El Paso, El Paso Co 15 May (Liz Walsh), one at Thompson Park in Amarillo, Potter Co 5–18 May (James Hamous, ph. Doug Smith), another at Southeast Park in Canyon, Randall Co 18 May (Mark Hassell), and another at Horizon City, El Paso Co through 27 May (Zach Millen). A female Common Goldeneye at Bolivar Flats, Galveston Co 20 Apr–8 May (Eric Carpenter, Maggie Carpenter, ph. Dorian Anderson et al.) was an unexpectedly late lingerer.

As many as 99 Lesser Prairie-Chickens were at or near lek sites in Cochran Co 2 Mar–8 May (ph. Drew Harvey, m.ob.), an encouraging sign for a species that may be on the decline overall in Texas. Least Grebes seemed to take a hit with Uri though there were still some northerly ranging birds with one at Eldorado Wastewater Treatment Ponds, Schleicher Co 10–29 Mar (ph. Suzanne Johnson), another at Enchanted Rock SNA, Llano Co 10 Apr (Tam Tran), one at Fort Hood, Coryell Co 2 May (Nick Glover), and another north-northwest of Burton, Washington Co 23–24 May (Darrell Vollert). Four rather westerly Least Grebes may all have been the same continuing individuals first reported during the preceding fall/winter: at Terlingua, Brewster Co through the period (ph. Stephen Falick, m.ob.; first observed 25 Oct 2020); at Lajitas, Brewster Co, 26 Apr (ph. Stephen Falick) and 29 May (Greg Cook; first reported 13 Nov 2020); at Daniel’s Ranch Road, Big Bend NP, Brewster Co 10 May (ph. Stephen Falick; first observed 23 Jan), and at Candelaria Wetlands, Presidio Co 28 May (D. D. Currie, Dell Little; first observed 10 Nov 2020). Late was a lone Horned Grebe at Lake Meredith, Hutchinson Co 9 May (ph. Vicki Wilmarth). Western Grebes along the eastern edge of their range included one at Walter E. Long Lake, Travis Co 10 Mar–11 Apr (ph. Jeff Osborne, Janet Davis, m.ob.), two on Granger Lake, Williamson Co 4 Apr (ph. Rich Kostecke), one at North Fork Buffalo Creek Reservoir, Wichita Co 10 Apr (Scotty Lofland), and another at Lake Benbrook, Tarrant Co 16 Apr (ph. John Allendorf). A Clark’s Grebe at Lake Meredith, Moore Co 2–19 May (Steve Glover, ph. Mark Elliott) was a bit of an outlier but at a location where the species is irregularly seen.

A male Ruddy Ground Dove in an El Paso yard, El Paso Co 3–18 Mar (ph. Barry Zimmer) looked by bill structure to be a different bird than the one in a pair present there in Nov-Dec; the pair in west El Paso, El Paso Co 29 Mar–10 May (ph. John Groves, m.ob.) were certainly continuing birds from fall. A well-described pair at a different El Paso site 29 May (Laura Kohrt) was never confirmed. Pioneering White-tipped Doves included two along the Blanco River 5 miles west of Kyle, Hays Co 13 May (Ben Archer) and one south-southeast of Stonewall, Gillespie Co 28 May (Romey Swanson). Surprising for so far north was a Groove-billed Ani at Berry Springs Park, Georgetown, Williamson Co 6 May (Byron Stone, ph. Tim Fennell et al.) and another even more out of range at Lake Grapevine, Tarrant/Denton Co 28 May (ph. Chris Sanders). A Black-billed Cuckoo wandered west to Utopia, Uvalde Co 16 May (Mitch Heindel). Reports of Chimney Swifts in the central Trans-Pecos included singles at Van Horn, Culberson Co 29 Apr (ph. Nick Bonomo et al.), in the Davis Mountains west of Fort Davis, Jeff Davis Co 3 May (Donna Dittmann), and at Balmorhea Lake, Reeves Co 13 May (ph. Donna Dittmann, Steve Cardiff). A Chaetura swift at Lawrence Wood picnic area in the Davis Mountains, Jeff Davis Co 12 May (ph. Jon McIntyre) was also likely a Chimney Swift. El Paso Co had a number of reports of Chaetura swifts with two early ones 28 Mar (Jim Paton), two on 15 Apr (John Groves), at least one at Ascarate Park 23–25 Apr (ph. Kevin Floyd, John Groves, m.ob.), and one 5 May (Barry Zimmer); none were conclusively identified to species but the latter one was suspected to be Vaux’s Swift. A White-throated Swift at Palo Duro Canyon SP, Randall Co 1–2 Mar (Connie Andrus, Marlin Andrus, m.ob., ph.) was an encouraging sign that this former resident may be returning to some of its former sites in the Panhandle.

Hummingbirds through Woodcock

A Mexican Violetear visited feeders in Boerne, Kendall Co 22–30 May (ph. Tim Handren) while another was southeast of Calaveras Lake, Bexar Co 22–24 May (ph. Linda Mortensen). A Ruby-throated Hummingbird in a Lubbock yard, Lubbock Co 21 Apr (ph. Nancy Neill) was a rare spring migrant for that region. One of the Anna’s Hummingbirds that made it through Uri unscathed remained in north San Antonio, Bexar Co until at least 28 Mar (ph. Brad Wier). An Anna’s Hummingbird in an El Paso yard, El Paso Co 4 Apr–2 May (ph. Barry Zimmer) looked recently fledged and would add to the handful of local breeding records. A male in another El Paso yard, El Paso Co 1–5 Apr (John Kiseda), along with several other poorly-documented reports 30 Mar–7 May suggest an expanding spring presence in El Paso. The Costa’s Hummingbird that first appeared in El Paso, El Paso Co 15 Feb remained through 16 Mar (ph. Barry Zimmer) and an adult male was in west El Paso, El Paso Co 27–28 Mar (ph. John Groves, John Kiseda). A male Calliope Hummingbird photographed in Sugar Land, Fort Bend Co 4–17 Apr (ph. Hoiman Low, Ute Welk) was the second latest ever for the UTC. The female-plumaged Calliope Hummingbird that appeared in El Paso, El Paso Co 24 Jan had proven to be a male by the time it was last seen 18 Apr (ph. Barry Zimmer). Although a common fall migrant, Rufous Hummingbird is decidedly rare during spring migration in much of the Trans-Pecos. So, an adult male in the Davis Mountains west of Fort Davis, Jeff Davis Co 3 May (Steve Cardiff) was a surprise; a few appeared in El Paso, El Paso Co with adult males there 10–14 Mar (John Kiseda) and 19–28 Mar (Barry Zimmer).

Unusual for late spring was a female Broad-tailed Hummingbird at Devine Lake Park, Leander, Williamson Co 26–27 Apr (ph. Jack Cochran, Tim Fennell). An overwintering female Broad-tailed Hummingbird lingered in Houston, Harris Co until the very late date of 28 Apr (ph. Sue Orwig). A male Broad-billed Hummingbird at Limpia Crossing, Davis Mountains west of Fort Davis, Jeff Davis Co 12 Apr–27 May (ph. Dell Little, D. D. Currie) was the only report in the eastern Trans-Pecos whereas one at the Indio Mountains Research Station 17 Apr (Michael Harvey) was just the second for Hudspeth Co. On the heels of the two fall/winter Broad-billed Hummingbirds in Travis Co, a male near Spring Branch, Comal Co 14–18 Apr (Mike Davis, ph. Cat Chang) made for another great central Texas record. On the UTC, a tardy Buff-bellied Hummingbird was at Santa Fe, Galveston Co 9 May (ph. Ross Foreman). Also late for the UTC was a Virginia Rail still at Bolivar Flats, Galveston Co 8 May (Hannah Willars, Lisa Li, Li Li et al.). Casual in north-central Texas, a surprising Purple Gallinule lingered in Waxahachie, Ellis Co 25 Apr–4 May (ph. Michelle Summers, Ted Drozdowski). Following in the footsteps of their recent incursion into Louisiana the past couple of years, Texas’ first Limpkin was discovered at Brazos Bend SP, Fort Bend Co 6 May (ph. Christi Gallier). That bird was not found the following day despite much searching in that area of the park. It was not until some homeowners that live adjacent to the park spotted it or another outside their kitchen window 8 May that the primary location, a private shallow lake filled with Apple Snails, was discovered (ph. Rich Jesperson, Sandy Jesperson). Further search efforts spearheaded by the Jespersons and John Berner revealed at least two birds at that location through the period and well into summer (ph. audio Ron Weeks, ph. audio John Berner et al.).

Fourteen Sandhill Cranes near Wildarado, Oldham Co 3 May (ph. Steve Glover) was a high count for so late in the season; a lone bird near Esseville, Atascosa Co 3–10 May (Christine Turnbull, ph. Christian Fernandez) was also tardy. The two long-staying pairs of Whooping Cranes in eastern Chambers and western Jefferson Cos were confirmed as nesting (USFWS press release); these birds are known to be a part of the non-migratory Louisiana flock. A count of 1034 American Golden-Plovers on the north side of Victoria, Victoria Co 5 Apr (Meagan Lesak, Shannon Grubbs, Trey Barron) was noteworthy. American Golden-Plover is generally rare in the Trans-Pecos, but definitely more so in spring than in fall. So, one at Terlingua, Brewster Co 2–7 May (ph. Dell Little, D. D. Currie, ph. Carolyn Ohl) was exciting and appears to establish a first hard-evidence occurrence for Brewster Co and provided only about the fifth hard-evidence spring occurrence for the region. Likewise, an American Golden-Plover near Lorenzo, Crosby Co 21 Apr (Brad Shine, ph. Mark Lockwood) was a nice find for northwest Texas. In the Pineywoods, 21 Semipalmated Plovers on the upper Lake Livingston delta, Trinity Co 13 Apr (Garett Hodne, John Pike) was a nice regional spring tally. A handful of migrant Piping Plover reports through the middle of the state was highlighted by three at Twin Buttes Reservoir, Tom Green Co 22–24 Apr (ph. Christopher Daniels et al.). An impressive 43 Mountain Plovers near Dell City, Hudspeth Co 19 Mar (Nicole Foley, ph. Tyler Scott) were the first detected there since 2007; two near Lehman, Cochran Co 27 Mar (ph. Drew Harvey, Cameron Johnson) were perhaps late migrants.

An impressive six Whimbrels were tallied at both Twin Buttes Reservoir, Tom Green Co 5 May (ph. Randy Hesford), and Belton Lake, Bell Co 17 May (ph. Doug Orama); a lone bird near Dell City, Hudspeth Co 5 May (ph. Jim Paton) was just the third county record. Nice finds for northwest Texas were 5–6 Hudsonian Godwits near Panhandle, Carson Co 18–19 Apr (Barrett Pierce, Laura Kohrt) and one at the Cone Playa, Crosby Co 18 May (Mark Lockwood). A Hudsonian Godwit at Terlingua 13 May (ph. Stephen Falick, ph. Jon McIntyre) appears to represent a first for Brewster Co and only about the fourth well-documented regional occurrence. No fewer than 65 Marbled Godwits were counted in a single flock at Twin Buttes Reservoir, Tom Green Co 17 Apr (ph. Bill Lupardus et al.); up to 11 were present at Balmorhea Lake, Reeves Co 19 Apr–14 May (Michael O’Brien, ph. Jay Wilbur, Judy Wilbur et al.). A stunning 17 Ruddy Turnstones stopped at Windy Point, Lake Travis, Travis Co 22 May (ph. Andy Filtness et al.). Nine Sanderlings at Windy Point, Lake Travis, Travis Co 4 May (ph. Jeff Osborne, Janet Davis, Adam McInroy) was a notable tally for central Texas. Rare but regular in late spring, a White-rumped Sandpiper was west to Dell City, Hudspeth Co 13 May (Kim Garwood, Willie Sekula). A peak count of 541 Buff-breasted Sandpipers was tallied at a turf farm north of Blessing, Matagorda Co 28 Apr (Brent Ortego, Dora Ann Ortego). Nesting records of American Woodcock in Texas are irregular at best. So, notable were hens with chicks at Dinosaur Valley SP, Somerville Co 2 Apr (ph. David Gianadda) and at Lewisville Environmental Learning Center, Denton Co 7 Apr (ph. Kelsey Biles).

Snipes through Boobies

A Wilson’s Snipe at Anahuac NWR, Chambers Co 6 May (Ethan Ellis) was later than normal on the UTC. A Solitary Sandpiper in west El Paso, El Paso Co 5–7 Mar (ph. Ad Konings) was likely the bird seen nearby in winter; another at Balmorhea Lake, Reeves Co 19 Mar (Stephen Gast) was thought to be an early migrant. Thirteen Willets at Terlingua 23 Apr (ph. Bryan Calk et al.) may represent the first modern well-documented occurrence for Brewster Co. Singles at Independence Creek, Terrell Co 19 Apr (ph. Ryan Smith) and at Van Horn, Culberson Co 12 May (Willie Sekula et al.) may have also been first spring county occurrences. There were several observations of Willets at Balmorhea Lake, Reeves Co 16–26 Apr (ph. Mike Stewart et al.), with a new record high of 58 there 26 Apr (ph. Bill Schneider, Julie Schneider). Rare for the Pineywoods, a lone Willet stopped near Mahl, Nacogdoches Co 30 Apr (ph. David Wolf, Liam Wolff). A Wilson’s Phalarope at Hornsby Bend, Travis Co 14–26 Mar (Robert Ayres et al.) was the earliest of a handful of inland mid-Mar sightings this season. Red-necked Phalaropes are rare spring migrants, so notable this season were 3–4 at Lake Rita Blanca, Hartley Co 3 May (Steve Glover, Drew Harvey), one at Van Horn, Culberson Co 14 May (ph. Willie Sekula, Kim Garwood), another at Crane, Crane Co 15 May (ph. Steve Glover), and one more east of Riviera, Kleberg Co 22–23 May (ph. Glenn Perrigo). Lone Pomarine Jaegers reported from the beach north of the Padre Island National Seashore, Kleberg Co 26 Mar (ph. Justin LeClaire), and from Whitecap Beach, Nueces Co 28 Mar (ph. Emma Mathis) as well as from Padre Island National Seashore, Kleberg Co 11 Apr (ph. Willie Sekula, Kim Garwood) were all very likely the same bird. A nice adult bird with a fully spooned tail was seen offshore in Kenedy Co waters 6 Apr (ph. Ron Weeks) along with another adult in Matagorda Co offshore waters on the same date (ph. Ron Weeks).

Parasitic Jaegers were offshore in Brazoria Co waters 5 Apr (ph. Ron Weeks), off High Island, Galveston Co 10 Apr (Cullen Hanks, Ian Davies, Simon Kiacz, Drew Weber), and at Bolivar Flats, Galveston Co 15 Apr (Mike Austin). Late Bonaparte’s Gulls included a single bird at Bolivar Flats, Galveston Co 8 May (Stephen Klotz) and two at Quintana, Brazoria Co 15 May (ph. Kristine Rivers). Little Gulls are less than annual on the UTC, so an adult flying along the Bolivar Peninsula near Caplen, Galveston Co 22 Mar was a nice find (Cullen Hanks). Inland Laughing Gulls included six at Amistad Reservoir, Val Verde Co 15 Mar (Cin-Ty Lee) with decreasing numbers reported from the area thereafter and the last observed on 29 May (ph. Bryan Calk, Jacob Bagley), and a subadult even farther northwest at Balmorhea Lake, Reeves Co 31 May (ph. Ty Allen, ph. Caleb Helsel et al.). Rare for the Panhandle, two Laughing Gulls were at Lake Meredith, Hutchinson Co 8–17 May (ph. Brad Shine, Laura Shine et al.). A tally of 66 Franklin’s Gulls at McNary Reservoir, Hudspeth Co 30 Apr (Barry Zimmer) was an impressive total for the Trans-Pecos. A California Gull at Balmorhea Lake, Reeves Co 31 Mar–1 Apr (ph. Bergie Bergstrom, ph. Michael Harvey) was, surprisingly, possibly the first, or one of the first occurrences of a definite spring transient in the eastern Trans-Pecos; there is an early Mar 2017 record of an immature at Lake Amistad, Val Verde Co that could have pertained to a wintering individual. A late migrant adult Herring Gull was at Balmorhea Lake, Reeves Co 18 Apr (ph. Jon McIntyre, ph. Tom Ewert, Rodney Wedel).

A first-cycle Iceland (Thayer’s) Gull was found on the beach at Boca Chica, Cameron Co 4 Apr (ph. Willie Sekula, Kim Garwood) and seen again 27 Apr (Andrew Spencer, Nathan Pieplow). An adult Iceland (Thayer’s) Gull present at Bolivar Flats, Galveston Co 24–27 Apr (ph. Justin Bower, ph. Mike Austin et al.) was the latest reported this spring on the UTC. Also on the UTC, single Glaucous Gulls were at Smith Point, Chambers Co 6 Mar (ph. David Henderson, Ednelza Henderson, Jonathan Henderson), on Follett’s Island, Brazoria Co 12 Mar (Joe Fischer, ph. Ron Weeks), and at Port Arthur, Jefferson Co 17 Apr (Mike Austin, Judy Behrens, Tony Frank, Phyllis Frank). In north-central Texas, rather late was a Glaucous Gull at Lake Lewisville, Denton Co 28 Apr (ph. Dave Harvey). A first-cycle Great Black-backed Gull was at San Luis Pass, Galveston Co 23 Mar–5 Apr (Andrew Spencer, Nathan Pieplow, ph. Kyle O’Haver et al.). Defying explanation, an inland Sooty Tern was picked up between New Braunfels and Canyon Lake, Comal Co 22 May (ph. fide Dan Tharp); it died later that day. Caspian Terns are surprisingly scarce spring migrants in west Texas and the species goes undetected some years. So, seven at Amistad National Recreation Area, Val Verde Co 10 Apr (Jonathan Eckerson, Evan Lipton) and another nearby at Del Rio, Val Verde Co 28 May (Hank Taliaferro) were of interest. Four early Black Terns were at Rollover Pass, Galveston Co 1 Mar (Ash Ferlito, Ian Davies, Cullen Hanks). Rarely documented in central Texas and usually only as single birds, three Common Terns at Windy Point, Lake Travis, Travis Co 19 May (ph. Andy Filtness et al.) were an outstanding find. An Elegant Tern at the Bolivar Peninsula Ferry Landing, Galveston Co 15 Apr (ph. Eric Carpenter, Maggie Carpenter) will be just the tenth for Texas if accepted by the TBRC.

A Pacific Loon was picked out amongst Common Loons in Espiritu Santo Bay, Calhoun Co 23 Mar (Petra Hockey), while the wintering Pacific Loon found at Lake Tawakoni, Van Zandt Co lingered until 18 Apr (Greg Cook, Michael James). A concentration of 82 Common Loons on Toledo Bend Reservoir, Sabine Co 21 Mar (David Bell) was gone the next day. Late was an alternate-plumaged Common Loon at Lake Sweetwater, Nolan Co 28 May (ph. Ben Sandstrom); two in basic plumage were on Lake Travis, Travis Co for much of May with at least one remaining at the end of the period (ph. m.ob.). Just the eighth record for Texas, a late Yellow-billed Loon at Ascarate Park, El Paso Co 8–18 May (ph. Kevin Floyd, Vicki Milne) was a local checklist first for El Paso and was enjoyed by many. After it became entangled in fishing line it was captured by El Paso Zoo staff, found to otherwise be healthy, rehabbed for several weeks, and released 6 Jun at a different body of water. Out-of-season Wood Storks included five at Lakeside Park in The Woodlands, Montgomery Co 1 Mar (ph. Kevin Molloy, Sonny Bratz) and three near Angleton, Brazoria Co 17 Apr (Mark Scheuerman). In Cameron Co, an adult Masked Booby was on the Boca Chica beach 10 Apr (ph. Alex Lamoreaux, Josh Lefever) while a dead bird was found on the beach on South Padre Island 11 May (ph. William Hicks). A count of 15 Brown Boobies from Follett’s Island, Brazoria Co 20 Apr (Nathan Pieplow) and six seen heading out to sea following a ship in the Port Aransas Ship Channel, Nueces Co 26 May (Warren Pulich Jr.) were encouraging considering the beating the species received during Uri. An adult Northern Gannet on driftwood on the beach on South Padre Island, Cameron Co 20 May (ph. William Hicks) was either a late migrant or a bird that would perhaps over-summer.

Cormorants through Woodpeckers

Up to 850 Neotropic Cormorants estimated at the Candelaria Wetlands, Presidio Co 11 May (Steve Cardiff, Donna Dittmann) was an unprecedented number for the Trans-Pecos by almost an order of magnitude. The source of such numbers remains unclear. There were no indications of active breeding in the area, but it’s possible that breeding had occurred in the vicinity earlier in the year or that this was simply a massive feeding aggregation drawing birds from a larger geographic area and taking advantage of receding water levels. The continued northward march of Neotropic Cormorants was evidenced by one in Canadian, Hemphill Co 2 Apr (Marla Hibbitts, ph. Troy Hibbitts), another in northwest Amarillo, Potter Co 28 Apr (K. Dean Edwards), and one more at the Pampa Recreation Park, Gray Co 4 May (ph. Ben Sandstrom). A Brown Pelican at Lake Livingston SP, Polk Co 4 Mar (Kyle O’Haver) was a nice inland find. An American Bittern at MacKenzie Park, Lubbock Co 21 Mar (Anthony Hewetson) was a nice find while one on the west side of El Paso 26–31 Mar (ph. John Groves, Patricia Russell) was perhaps more unexpected. An irregular spring and summer visitor to northwest Texas, a Least Bittern was noted at Lake Six, Lubbock Co 3 May (Anthony Hewetson), a location where the species has bred before. A rare Little Blue Heron, an adult at Balmorhea Lake, Reeves Co 16–18 Apr (ph. Mike Stewart, Yvette Stewart, ph. Tom Ewert, Rodney Wedel) was the only well-documented report of the spring for the Trans-Pecos. An adult Tricolored Heron was unseasonal at Lake Nasworthy and nearby Twin Buttes Reservoir, Tom Green Co 18 Apr–2 May (Peggy Trosper, ph. Lawrence Haller et al.). Two Tricolored Herons were west to El Paso, El Paso Co with one at Rio Bosque Wetlands Park 14–15 May (John Sproul) and one at Keystone Heritage Park 17 May+ (ph. Ad Konings, m.ob.).

An immature Reddish Egret at Onemile Lake in Big Spring, Howard Co 13 May (ph. Justin Bosler) was unexpected, especially for the spring season. Up to two Yellow-crowned Night-Herons were again at their regular site in west El Paso, El Paso Co 26 Mar+ (ph. John Groves, Patricia Russell) and another was at Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, El Paso Co 15 May (Al Wallace). Inland Glossy Ibis included one 10 miles east-northeast of Ennis, Ellis Co 17 Apr (ph. Ted Drozdowski), two near the west fork of Lavon Lake, Collin Co 24–26 Apr (ph. Brady Schwab, Mike Cameron, Don Stanley), another near Dell City, Hudspeth Co 24 Apr (Jayna Adams, ph. T. Jay Adams), one at Del Rio, Val Verde Co 2 May (ph. Martina Nordstrand), and one more at Village Creek Drying Beds, Arlington, Tarrant Co 15 May (ph. Colby Ayers). A White-tailed Kite at Rio Grande Village, Big Bend NP 11 Mar (ph. Christy Negele) was an excellent find; there are very few well-documented occurrences for Brewster Co, especially from spring and from the Rio Grande corridor. A Swallow-tailed Kite over Village Creek Drying Beds, Tarrant Co 6 Apr (Ed Wetzel) was well north of range. Late for migrants and out of normal migration routes, single Swallow-tailed Kites near China Grove, Bexar Co 23 Apr (ph. Roel Loera) and at Cedar Park, Travis Co 3 May (ph. Celeste Treadway) might have been pioneering birds looking for possible breeding locations. An immature Bald Eagle seen at Resaca de la Palma SP, Cameron Co 19 Mar (ph. David Jeffrey Ringer) provided for probably the southernmost occurrence for the state. Rather late was a Bald Eagle at Lake Palo Duro, Hansford Co 11 May (Mackenzie Goldthwait, Doug Kibbe).

One of the most amazing and unexplainable bird sightings in many years had to be an adult Steller’s Sea-Eagle at Coleto Creek Reservoir, Victoria Co 7 Mar (Kris Groscop, ph. Sandi Roesler). Found by out-of-state folks who were boating and fishing on the lake, the bird was looked for but never refound once word of it got to the Texas birding community. Initial research has not uncovered any captively-held birds to have gone missing and it also appears unlikely the bird escaped from a falconer as the species is not at all a common or even uncommon species held by falconers. The bird’s origin may never be known but it is entirely possible that this represents a wild vagrant. The overwintering Harris’s Hawk at Sheldon Lake, Harris Co was last reported 29 Apr (ph. Dale Wolck); another was at the Houston Arboretum, Harris Co 7 Mar (Ben Hobratsch). In the Trans-Pecos, the most interesting Harris’s Hawks were a nesting pair near Candelaria, Presidio Co 11 May (Donna Dittmann, Steve Cardiff), with at least two downy chicks confirmed there 28 May (ph. Dell Little, D. D. Currie). A White-tailed Hawk roughly 12 miles southeast of Garden City, Glasscock Co 11 May (ph. Justin Bosler) was exceptionally north and west of usual haunts. Nine reports of Broad-winged Hawk in El Paso Co 4–25 Apr (Jim Paton, m.ob.) were above average for this rare migrant. A Zone-tailed Hawk near Dell City, Hudspeth Co 24 Apr (Jayna Adams, ph. T. Jay Adams) was a county first and another was in El Paso, El Paso Co 25–26 May (ph. Ad Konings) where the species is rare.

A Flammulated Owl was a surprise visitor to a Midland backyard, Midland Co 2 May (ph. Greg Palko). Rare for Brazos Co, the Burrowing Owl found in Feb southwest of College Station was seen again 18 Mar (ph. Robert Tizard). A late Burrowing Owl lingered near El Campo, Wharton Co until 4 Apr (ph. Ken Hartman). A Long-eared Owl lingered at Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, El Paso Co 30 Apr–16 May (John Sproul). Two Short-eared Owls near Morton, Cochran Co 15 Apr (Wyatt Egelhoff) were rather late as was one that lingered at Attwater Prairie Chicken NWR, Colorado Co until 18 Apr (ph. Jason Hunt). A Northern Saw-whet Owl heard in the Davis Mountains west of Fort Davis, Jeff Davis Co 19 May (Beth McBroom, Randy Pinkston) was at a location where the species is suspected of breeding and was well-documented in spring 2017. The female Elegant Trogon continued to delight birders at Estero Llano Grande SP, Hidalgo Co until 5 May (ph. Peter Vakay). A female Green Kingfisher at Candelaria Wetlands, Presidio Co 19 Mar (ph. Troy Hibbitts, Marla Hibbitts) was the second for that location. There are only a few previous occurrences west to Presidio Co, including a male at this same location in Jan. The two Acorn Woodpeckers along the Guadalupe River just northwest of Gruene, Comal Co remained until at least 8 Apr (m.ob.); single birds 10 miles northeast of Leakey, Real Co 18 Mar (Jean Martin) and 10–11 Apr (ph. Jon Reinhard, Robin Reinhard) was likely part of the small population in that area.

Sapsuckers through Hutton’s Vireo

Much more expected in fall, a rare spring lowland Williamson’s Sapsucker was in El Paso, El Paso Co 19–21 Mar (ph. Barry Zimmer). Other notable Williamson’s Sapsuckers in the Trans-Pecos were probable migrants at Christmas Mountains Oasis, Brewster Co 27 Apr (ph. David Provencher) and in the Davis Mountains west of Fort Davis, Jeff Davis Co 4 May (ph. Lorrie Lowrie). A fair number of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers lingered unusually late into the spring in the eastern Trans-Pecos, with at least eight reported from mid-Mar into early May (m.ob.), latest of which was a female that made an appearance on the West Texas Feeder WebCam (https://www.allaboutbirds.org/cams/west-texas-hummingbirds), located in the Davis Mountains west of Fort Davis, Jeff Davis Co 11 May (archival images fide Ben Wieland). An apparent Red-naped x Red-breasted Sapsucker was a nice find at Laguna Meadow, Chisos Mountains, Big Bend NP, Brewster Co 1 May (ph. John Dreves). A male Downy Woodpecker that made a rare barrier island visit to Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center, Nueces Co 22 Apr (Matt Heindel et al.) was very likely a migrating bird. Two Downy Woodpeckers made for five occurrences in the eastern Trans-Pecos since September 2020 and included the second for Brewster Co at Cottonwood Campground, Big Bend NP 26 Mar–26 Apr (ph. Larry Waddell, ph. Bonnie de Grood, ph. Michelle Romedy et al.), and a possible first for Reeves Co at Balmorhea 8 Mar (ph. Anita Meagher). A Crested Caracara six miles east of Jayton, Stonewall Co 12 Mar (Holly Schuh, Liam Wolff) was an outlier to the northwest of the core range; just as notable were two found at Big Bend NP, Brewster Co, with one at Persimmon Gap 19 Mar (Christy Negele), and the other along Gano Springs Road west of Panther Junction 17 May (ph. Fred Collins, Randy Pinkston).

All in Hidalgo Co, the male Rose-throated Becard present during the winter at Quinta Mazatlan SP was reported through 9 Mar (m.ob.), another male was present at Santa Ana NWR 24–26 Mar (ph. Stuart Tower, Josh Lefever), and a female was at Americana The Birding Center RV Resort near Mission 22 May (ph. Peggy Rudman). A flycatcher on Mustang Island, Nueces Co 17 May (ph. Andrew Orgill, Rylee Gonzales) thought to be an Empidonax at the time was revisited in late Aug when others reviewing photos felt it was an Elaenia. Initial studies by several birders familiar with this genus indicated that it is a strong candidate for Small-billed Elaenia. A potential first state record, it will be reviewed by the TBRC and perhaps the ABA CLC; a putative Small-billed Elaenia in Chicago, Illinois in May 2012 was not accepted by the ABA. In Hidalgo Co, a Dusky-capped Flycatcher lingered at Quinta Mazatlan SP until 16 Mar (Karen Eagle), another was reported from Bentsen SP 6 Mar (Ryan Rodriguez), while single birds were heard only 7 Mar from Old Hidalgo Pumphouse (Jon McIntyre) and Santa Ana NWR (Tiffany Kersten, Simon Kiacz). Elsewhere, a Dusky-capped Flycatcher lingered at Resaca de la Palma SP, Cameron Co until 16 Mar (Bill Eisele) and a heard-only bird was at Salineño, Starr Co 11 Mar (Nancy Leonard). Brown-crested Flycatchers pushing the northern edge of their range included one just east of Menard, Menard Co 27 Apr (Justin Bosler) and another north of Cedar Park, Williamson Co 8–15 May (Brush Freeman). A territorial pair at the Miller Ranch west of Valentine, Presidio Co 14 May (ph. Donna Dittmann, Steve Cardiff) were a surprise away from the immediate Rio Grande corridor and one of few documented records for the Trans-Pecos away from Big Bend NP and Brewster Co. A Great Kiskadee was a nice find at Kerr WMA, Kerr Co 4–7 Apr (John Prentice, Linda Prentice, ph. Paul Sellin); another was west to Sanderson, Terrell Co 14 Apr (ph. Forrest Rowland). A calling Couch’s Kingbird near the Lake Livingston spillway, Polk Co 24 Mar (Sonny Bratz) was the only report of this rarity this spring in the Pineywoods. A Cassin’s Kingbird at Twin Buttes Reservoir, Tom Green Co 1 May (ph. C. A. Maedgen) was east of its typical migration path.

A Western Kingbird near Huntington, Angelina Co 10 Apr (ph. James Childress) established the earliest confirmed sighting for the Pineywoods. A semi-cooperative Gray Kingbird was present at South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center, Cameron Co 20–23 May (Molly Smith, ph. Javi Gonzalez et al.). A Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was near Dell City, Hudspeth Co 1–5 May (ph., Jim Paton, Lisa Studdard); there are fewer than 10 county records. A flyby Fork-tailed Flycatcher was reported on the Bolivar Peninsula, Galveston Co 14 Apr (John Garrett). An Olive-sided Flycatcher in El Paso, El Paso Co 13–18 Apr (ph. Jim Paton) was rather early. A Yellow-bellied Flycatcher was an outstanding find south of Lorenzo, Crosby Co 23 May (ph. Mark Lockwood), one of few ever documented so far west in the state. A nicely-documented Acadian Flycatcher at Big Creek Scenic Area, San Jacinto Co 7 Apr (John Berner, ph. Bob Friedrichs) was the earliest ever documented for the Pineywoods. A singing Alder Flycatcher reported at Clapp Park, Lubbock Co 19 May (Jim Crites) was an outlier to the west. An early Willow Flycatcher was at High Island, Galveston Co 22 Apr (John Coons, ph. Joan Kent et al.). The Hammond’s Flycatcher that wintered in El Paso, El Paso Co was last seen 3 Apr (Jim Paton). A Gray Flycatcher northeast of Slaton, Crosby Co 24 Apr (ph. Mark Lockwood) was a nice find and a bit east of its typical migration route. Rare and surprisingly early was a Dusky Flycatcher at Clapp Park, Lubbock Co 26–27 Mar (ph. Joe Cochran, ph. Jim Crites, m.ob.).

An out of place Black Phoebe at Jennings Park, Lubbock Co 26–27 Mar (ph. Joe Cochran, Erik Wolf, m.ob.) was likely the same bird across town at Lubbock Lake Landmark, Lubbock Co 28 Mar–14 Apr (ph. Joe Cochran, Anthony Hewetson). A Black Phoebe was present at Floresville River Park, Wilson Co 6 Apr (Andrew Dickinson) where it is semi-regular and has successfully nested previously. More unexpected and accidental for north-central Texas was a Black Phoebe in Arlington, Tarrant Co 5 May (ph. Mark Monroe). Eastern Phoebes near Dell City, Hudspeth Co 9 and 20 Apr (Jim Paton) were late for the El Paso area, with the latter bird being the latest ever. A Vermilion Flycatcher at Jennings Park, Lubbock Co 26–31 Mar (Holly Bundock, Anthony Hewetson, ph. m.ob.) and another at Monument Lake, Bailey Co 3 Apr (Matt Brady, ph. Ryan Shaw) were unexpected. Black-capped Vireo only occasionally strays from the species’ preferred Hill Country habitat, so this spring single birds observed at Estero Llano Grande SP, Hidalgo Co 26 Mar (Brian Platt, ph. John Yochum et al.), Goose Island SP, Aransas Co 9 Apr (ph. Rheinhard Beatty et al.), South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center, Cameron Co 19 Apr (ph. Gavin Emmons, Alacia Welch), and Laguna Vista Nature Trail, Cameron Co 24 Apr (ph. Gustavo Valero et al.) were quite noteworthy. Out of range were single White-eyed Vireos at White River Lake, Crosby Co 12 May (ph. Mark Lockwood) and at Palo Duro Canyon SP, Randall Co 29 May (ph. Doug Smith). Bell’s Vireos are rare in spring on the UTC, so one at Sabine Woods, Jefferson Co 14 Apr (Timothy Freiday) was notable. Rare fall through winter in far west Texas, a late Hutton’s Vireo was in El Paso, El Paso Co 19 Mar (ph. Ad Konings); another at Dog Canyon, Guadalupe Mountains NP, Culberson Co 8 May (Chris Runk) was the only report for that mountain range this season.

Cassin’s Vireo through Wood Thrush

A Cassin’s Vireo 5 miles south of Springlake, Lamb Co 5 May (Steve Glover) was a nice find. A Philadelphia Vireo present in Laredo, Webb Co 15–16 May (ph. Daniel Mitev) was west of the species typical easterly migration route. A Red-eyed Vireo at Brazos Bend SP, Fort Bend Co 19 Mar (Laura Sare) was one of the earliest ever for the UTC. In the Trans-Pecos, well-described sight reports of Red-eyed Vireos included three individuals at Guadalupe Mountains NP, Culberson Co, including one at Smith Springs Trail 19 Apr (Karen Tanquist, Patrick Coy) and two nearby at Devil’s Hall Trail 5 May (Michael Clay, Jay Bolden), one at Pine Canyon, Big Bend NP, Brewster Co 22 Apr (MaryAnn Parsons et al.) and 27 Apr (Greg Vassilopoulos), and one at Davis Mountains SP, Jeff Davis Co 8 May (Cathy Rudzinski et al.). Rare for northwest Texas, 1–2 Red-eyed Vireos were below Lake Six, Lubbock Co 3–4 May (ph. Joe Cochran, Drew Harvey, m.ob.). In Cameron Co, 1–2 Yellow-green Vireos were along Cannon Road west of Rangerville 26 Apr–9 May (ph. Mike Stewart, Yvette Stewart, Huck Hutchens), another two were at Sabal Palm Sanctuary 2 May (Dan Edge), while a lone bird visited South Padre Island Convention Center 3–10 May (ph. Kristy Baker, m.ob.). A singing Yellow-green Vireo was recorded and seen briefly at Santa Ana NWR, Hidalgo Co 11 May (Mike Stewart, Kelsey Biles). More unusual away from South Texas, Yellow-green Vireos put in appearances on the UTC at High Island, Galveston Co 5 May (Simon Kiacz, Bill Eisele), on West Galveston Island, Galveston Co 7–13 May (ph. Jim Stevenson et al.), and at Sabine Woods, Jefferson Co 10 May (John Haynes). A Black-whiskered Vireo made a rare stop at South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center, Cameron Co 5–7 May (ph. Isidro Montemayor et al.); another was reported from West Galveston Island, Galveston Co 5 May (ph. Greg Minnert).

The Northern Shrike found in Jan a couple miles north of Thompson Grove, Rita Blanca National Grasslands, Dallam Co remained quite late, until at least 14 Mar (ph. Troy Hibbitts, ph. Jeff Corcoran). Casual with only infrequent irruptions into the Panhandle, a Steller’s Jay in Amarillo, Potter Co 2–6 May (ph. Anette Carlisle et al.) was surprising and quite late at that. First found in Jan, a Blue Jay that flirted with the state line in extreme western El Paso Co was relocated 8 Mar–15 Apr (ph. John Groves, Patricia Russell). A Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay at Muleshoe NWR, Bailey Co 7 Mar (Audrey Curtis, Nicholas Wiram) was likely a stray from populations in New Mexico. After a winter with very few in the area, a Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay in the northern Franklin Mountains, El Paso Co 8 May (Michael Harvey) was unexpected and getting late. Four Tamaulipas Crows were discovered at the Brownsville Landfill, Cameron Co 12 Apr (ph. Bruce Berman); follow-up visits found as many as nine birds through the period and into the summer season (ph., m.ob.). Notably late Ruby-crowned Kinglets included one in El Paso, El Paso Co 23 May (Jim Paton), up to three at Buffalo Lake NWR, Randall Co 22–23 May (ph. Doug Smith, Sue Smith), and one south of Lorenzo, Crosby Co 24 May (ph. Mark Lockwood).

After the widespread winter invasion in the Pineywoods, several Red-breasted Nuthatches lingered well into May, the last in Henderson, Rusk Co 15 May (Bonnie McKenzie). A bit late was a White-breasted Nuthatch at Palo Duro Canyon SP, Randall Co 30 Apr (Mark Hassell) and another in a Lubbock yard, Lubbock Co 3 May (Jordan Cochran). Sporadic in central Texas, a White-breasted Nuthatch at Fabis Primitive Park, Brownwood, Brown Co 30 May (ph. Shelia Hargis) was surprising. A House Wren at the Quintana Neotropical Bird Sanctuary, Brazoria Co 14 May (Martin Hagne, Denise Stephens) was the latest ever reported from the UTC; one in El Paso, El Paso Co 30 May (Jim Paton) was several weeks past expected departure dates. Rather late was a Winter Wren at Lake Rita Blanca, Hartley Co 3 May (Drew Harvey). Single Gray Catbirds at two different locations around Lubbock, Lubbock Co successfully overwintered and also managed to survive Uri, with one remaining until 4 May, the other until 7 May (m.ob.). Two Gray Catbirds were near Dell City, Hudspeth Co 12 May (ph. Jim Paton); there remain fewer than ten occurrences for the county. Several wintering Brown Thrashers in the eastern Trans-Pecos lingered surprisingly late into the spring period. One first reported 25 Oct 2020 at Davis Mountains SP, Jeff Davis Co remained to 18 Apr (ph., m.ob.) at which point two individuals were observed simultaneously on multiple dates 18 Apr–5 May (ph. Mike Stewart et al.), and with at least one lingering to 10 May (ph. Steve Compton, ph. Richard Hayes et al.). One first observed 20 Nov 2020 at Gage Gardens, Marathon, Brewster Co (m.ob.) was last observed 22 Apr (ph. Dale Ohl et al.). Several reports from Rio Grande Village and vicinity, Big Bend NP, Brewster Co 28 Mar–9 May (ph. John Harrington, ph. Erik Wolf et al.) could have pertained to the 1–2 reported there during December 2020. New individuals were found in Brewster Co just west of Marathon 25 Mar (Stephen Falick) and at Fort Peña Colorado Park 20 May (Christian Fernandez).

A Long-billed Thrasher at Onion Creek Metropolitan Park in south Austin, Travis Co 27 Mar–6 Apr (ph. Nick Komar Jr. et al.) was an outlier a bit north of expected range. Probably lingering birds from the exceptional fall and winter irruption, late Sage Thrashers were at Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center, Nueces Co until 22 Apr (m.ob.) and just west of Von Ormy, Bexar Co 1 May (Christine Turnbull, Dina Perry). The Western Bluebird irruption continued into early Mar, with a few at new locations, including as many as seven southeast of Valley Mills, McLennan Co 12–15 Mar (ph. Tim Farek). Exceptionally late was a Mountain Bluebird northeast of Slaton, Crosby Co 17 May (ph. Mark Lockwood) and another at B. J. Bishop Wetland, Presidio Co 30 May (ph. Tony Frank, Phyllis Frank). Also rather late was a Townsend’s Solitaire at the Farwell Country Club, Parmer Co 3–4 May (Jeff Dawson, m.ob.) and another below Lake Six, Lubbock Co 10 May (Jim Crites). Nice was a Gray-cheeked Thrush well west of the normal migration path at Clapp Park, Lubbock Co 4 May (Anthony Hewetson). Non-Hermit Catharus thrushes tend to be very scarce migrants in west Texas, so 10 Swainson’s Thrushes detected across the region 26 Apr–28 May (m.ob.) seemed above average. A Swainson’s Thrush in Dell City, Hudspeth Co 13 May (Kim Garwood, ph. Willie Sekula) was only the third for the county; another was at Keystone Heritage Park, El Paso Co 21 May (ph. Pat Lucas). Very late Hermit Thrushes were noted at Quintana Neotropical Bird Sanctuary, Brazoria Co 21 Apr (Kristi Keller) and Lafitte’s Cove, Galveston Co 26 Apr (Kristine Rivers). A westerly Wood Thrush was in Uvalde, Uvalde Co 25 Apr (Ken Rosenberg). Even more unexpected in the Trans-Pecos, a Wood Thrush in the Davis Mountains west of Fort Davis 12 Apr (ph. Lorrie Lowrie) was only about the second confirmed in Jeff Davis Co, and another at Alpine 18–22 Apr (ph. Jon McIntyre, ph. Bryan Calk, ph. Stephen Falick et al.) was, even more surprisingly, apparently only about the second to be well-documented in Brewster Co.

Clay-colored Thrush through Sparrows

A Clay-colored Thrush was an outlier on the south side of Houston, Harris Co 26–27 Mar (ph. Trey Morris) while another in San Antonio’s Alamo Heights, Bexar Co 28 Apr (ph. Keith Godwin) was well north of typical range. A Clay-colored Thrush at Del Rio, Val Verde Co 25 Apr (ph. Barry Zimmer et al.) was presumably one of the several reported there during the preceding fall and winter. The Evening Grosbeaks from late Feb at Palo Duro Canyon SP, Randall Co lingered until mid-Mar, with three birds still present 18 Mar (ph. Maddie Pearson). A lone Evening Grosbeak was a nice find at White River Lake, Crosby Co 1–8 Apr (ph. Mark Lockwood). Despite the relative lack of Cassin’s Finches during the preceding winter in the Trans-Pecos, there were several interesting spring reports, including three records of lone birds in El Paso, El Paso Co: 29 Mar (ph. Jim Paton), 9–11 Apr (ph. Barry Zimmer), and 22–23 Apr (ph. Michael Harvey). One or two females at Marathon, Brewster Co 17–22 Apr (D. D. Currie, Dell Little, ph. Jim Crites, ph. Dale Ohl) were relatively far east and another in Val Verde Co between Del Rio and Sonora 29 Apr (ph. Laura Keene et al.) was exceptionally so. In the Davis Mountains west of Fort Davis, Jeff Davis Co, several lingered into early May with one observed to at least 14 May (ph. Donna Dittmann, Steve Cardiff). A Cassin’s Finch near Buffalo Gap, Taylor Co 10–11 Mar (ph. Jayton Carroll) was at the same location as one seen in early Dec while the small group about 15 miles southwest of Rocksprings, Edwards Co continued, with as many as six present as late as 18 Apr (ph. Joanna Roberts) and one still there 8 May (Joanna Roberts).

As many as six Cassin’s Finches were present at South Llano River SP, Kimble Co 25 Mar–10 Apr (ph. Matthew Louder, m.ob.) with one still there on the last date. A lone Cassin’s Finch was a nice late spring find at Buster Long Park, Lubbock Co 23 Apr (ph. Lorena Burkett). A female Type 2 Red Crossbill was still in Sam Houston NF, Montgomery Co 15 Mar (Todd McGrath). As mentioned in our winter summary, the combination of the huge Pine Siskin irruption state-wide and a large-scale apparent Salmonella outbreak through the population had a devastating effect well into the spring season. Many birders were patiently waiting for the siskins to head north before rehanging their bird feeders though in many places, fair to sometimes large numbers continued to mid and late May and even into the summer season. Lesser Goldfinches near Katy, Harris Co 18 Mar (Hank George), at Nederland, Jefferson Co 19–29 Mar (ph. Steve Mayes, m.ob.), and at Friendswood, Harris Co (ph. Steve Berenzweig) was more than typical for the UTC. An alternate male Chestnut-collared Longspur at Bryan Beach, Brazoria Co 15–22 Mar (ph. Melissa Crookshank, Brad Lirette, m.ob.) was a first county record. A flock of 14 Chestnut-collared Longspurs observed coming to drink at a pond in Laredo, Webb Co 9 Apr (ph. Daniel Mitev) provided for a rare area occurrence. A lone Chestnut-collared Longspur at Lake Tyler Marina Resort, Smith Co 10 Apr (Jason Pike, ph. Karen Rueb-Hall) was only the third for the Pineywoods in 50 years and the first since 1983. An Olive Sparrow at Lockhart SP, Caldwell Co 20 May (ph. Richard Kaskan) was perhaps a pioneering bird as it pushed the northeastern limit of where this species has been seen. A Lark Sparrow at Rita Blanca National Grasslands, Dallam Co 9 Mar (Wyatt Egelhoff) was fairly early for so far north.

Up to two Clay-colored Sparrows at Limpia Crossing in the Davis Mountains west of Fort Davis, Jeff Davis Co 30 May–1 Jun (ph. Dell Little, D. D. Currie) were the latest ones detected across the state. A Black-chinned Sparrow in desert scrub south of Dell City, Hudspeth Co 1 May (ph. Jim Paton, Lisa Studdard) was exceptional for the date and habitat. Brewer’s Sparrows had an outstanding fall and winter that continued into early spring but single birds 10 miles southeast of Gillett, DeWitt Co 27 Apr (Derek Muschalek) and along the Barton Creek greenbelt in southwest Austin, Travis Co 3 May (ph. Caleb Helsel) were well east and quite late. Likewise a Brewer’s Sparrow at South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center, Cameron Co 24–25 Apr (Agnieszka Skuza, Bruce Neville, Christopher Rustay) was also tardy and a bit of an outlier. On the heels of an above-average winter for Dark-eyed (Red-backed) Junco in the Trans-Pecos (at least away from their regular haunts in the Guadalupe Mountains), early spring detections included at least one in the Davis Mountains west of Fort Davis, Jeff Davis Co 12 Mar–17 Apr (ph. Beth McBroom), additional singles at the Miller Ranch, Presidio Co 15 Apr (Cecilia Riley), in Big Bend NP, Brewster Co at Cottonwood Campground 14 Apr (ph. Michael O’Brien et al.) and at Santa Elena Canyon 21 Apr (ph. Heidi Belinsky). In South Texas, a Dark-eyed Junco present at South Padre Island Convention Center, Cameron Co 19–23 Apr (Dan Hoobler et al.) was an outlier and quite late for so far south; another east of Portland, San Patricio Co 20 Apr (Skip Cantrell) was also notable.

With the exception of breeding “Red-backed” Juncos in the Guadalupe Mountains, the vast majority of wintering Dark-eyed Juncos typically vacate the Trans-Pecos by mid-Apr. But Spring 2021 produced numerous reports across the region from mid-Apr into mid-late May, latest of which included a Pink-sided at Christmas Mountains Oasis, Brewster Co 27 May (ph. Carolyn Ohl), at least three Gray-headeds in the Davis Mountains, Jeff Davis Co 16 May (ph. Erik Wolf, Greg Cook et al.), and two different Gray-headeds in El Paso, El Paso Co 26 May (Jim Paton) and 27 May (Barry Zimmer). A Yellow-eyed Junco at Boot Canyon Trail, Chisos Mountains, Big Bend NP 30 Mar (ph. Lee Hoy, Debra Floyd) was certainly a shocker and appears to represent one of the only photo-documented occurrences from anywhere in the eastern Trans-Pecos; there are just three previous TBRC accepted sight records for Brewster Co. A Harris’s Sparrow at Cottonwood Campground, Big Bend NP 14 Apr (ph. Michael O’Brien et al.) represented the latest-ever spring occurrence for the region and only about the tenth occurrence for Brewster Co. A highlight of the season in central Texas, a Baird’s Sparrow at Pace Bend Park in far west Travis Co 2 May (ph. Bill Reiner) was in the right migration timeframe though much farther east than they are typically found. Single Baird’s Sparrows were documented in Big Bend NP, Brewster Co at Daniels Ranch Road 20 Apr (ph. Ad Konings) and at nearby Rio Grande Village 9 May (ph. Araks Ohanyan, Mariam Ohanjanyan). There are now at least ten accepted occurrences of spring migrants from southern Brewster Co during the window 20 Apr–13 May. A well-described Song Sparrow at Sabine Woods, Jefferson Co 18 Apr (Michael McCloy, Tyler Scott, Nicole Foley, Corina Giron) was exceptionally late for the UTC. Likewise, Song Sparrows normally depart the Trans-Pecos relatively early, so one at Sam Nail Ranch, Big Bend NP, Brewster Co 22 Apr (ph. Andrew Theus et al.) was noteworthy. Farther north, two Song Sparrows at Lake Rita Blanca, Hartley Co 3 May (Drew Harvey) were also tardy.

Towhees through Cerulean Warbler

The Green-tailed Towhee near Shipp Lake, Bastrop Co in Oct-Nov was seen again 7–8 Mar (Jason Leifester, Bernd Gravenstein). Two Green-tailed Towhees in southwest Jim Hogg Co 3 May (Jenna Hatfield) and another at Harlingen’s Hugh Ramsey Park, Cameron Co 2 May (Kristy Baker) were tardy while one at the Dos Vacas Muertas Sanctuary, Galveston, Galveston Co 27 Apr–5 May (ph. Steve Metchis, ph. Dennis Cooke, ph. Steve Rogow, m.ob.) was the latest ever for the UTC. Along the eastern edge of their migration route, a count of 105 Yellow-headed Blackbirds near the Skillern Tract of Anahuac NWR, Chambers Co 3 Apr (Richard Preston, Van Harris) was exceptional. Notable were Bobolinks in south Texas with single males present at Charlie’s Pasture, Port Aransas, Nueces Co 17–26 Apr (ph. Tricia Gardner, m.ob.), at Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center, Nueces Co 22 Apr (Samuel Ares), and at South Padre Island, Cameron Co 22–27 Apr (Jason Massey et al.). More westerly ranging Bobolinks included four near Morton, Cochran Co 8 May (John Nelson, m.ob.) and four more near Becton, Lubbock Co 21 May (ph. Drew Harvey). Most interesting among several Hooded Orioles found in the eastern Trans-Pecos north of the Rio Grande corridor was a female at Davis Mountains SP, Jeff Davis Co 21 Apr (ph. Greg Vassilopoulos); there are surprisingly few well-documented occurrences for the county. Northerly wandering Hooded Orioles included one 20 miles southwest of Llano, Llano Co 12 Mar (ph. Hal Livings) and another near Meadow Lake in Round Rock, Williamson Co 24 May (Andrew Dickinson). The Hooded Oriole that overwintered at Seabrook, Harris Co was last reported 2 Mar (Hilary Gibbs). At least one of the two Audubon’s Orioles north of Canyon Lake, Comal Co remained until 26 Mar (ph. Janene Rowan).

A male Scott’s Oriole near the northern reaches of Belton Lake, Bell Co 18 Mar (ph. Gil Eckrich) was well northeast of the species’ main haunts on the Edwards Plateau while one near Port Lavaca, Calhoun Co 21 Apr (ph. Christopher Wilson) was quite rare for the Coastal Bend. The Scott’s Oriole near Anderson, Grimes Co from late Feb remained until 5 Mar (ph. April Serig). A lone Rusty Blackbird strayed to the Leon Creek Greenbelt in northwest San Antonio, Bexar Co 19 Apr (ph. Curtis McCamy). Rare and roughly annual, a Common Grackle was in El Paso, El Paso Co 8 Apr (ph. Jim Paton). A Common Grackle at Rio Grande Village 14–15 May (ph. Mike Baker, ph. Bruce Cramer et al.) was just the second photo-documented spring occurrence for Brewster Co. One at Alpine, Brewster Co 8 Apr (Robert McClure) may have wintered in the vicinity as a few were present in that area during late 2020. Lone Ovenbirds were in El Paso, El Paso Co 20–21 May (Kevin Floyd) and 31 May (Barry Zimmer). The earliest Worm-eating Warbler was in the West University area of Houston, Harris Co 14 Mar (Don Verser). Two Worm-eating Warblers spiced-up Brewster Co, with one at Lajitas 26 Apr (ph. Stephen Falick) and another at Pine Canyon, Chisos Mountains, Big Bend NP 29 Apr–1 May (Jeff Dawson, ph. Bonnie Graham et al.); one at the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens, Tarrant Co 6 May (Chris Davis) was a great find for north-central Texas. Louisiana Waterthrushes typically migrate earlier than do Northerns, and such was the case in the eastern Trans-Pecos this spring with outlier Louisiana Waterthrushes documented in the Davis Mountains, Jeff Davis Co 25–26 Mar (ph. Rich Kostecke), and at Fort Peña Colorado Park, Brewster Co 30 Mar–2 Apr (ph. Dallas Harrell, ph. Stephen Falick, ph. David McQuade et al.).

A Golden-winged Warbler was a bit west at Utopia, Uvalde Co 30 Apr (Mitch Heindel). A male Blue-winged Warbler at Sam Nail Ranch, Big Bend NP 27 Apr (ph. Chris Daniels, Letha Slagle) was about the seventh for Brewster Co. A Blue-winged Warbler at Palo Duro SP, Randall Co 30 Apr (Vicki Buchwald, Karen Lund) and another below Lake Six, Lubbock Co 3–4 May (Anthony Hewetson, Drew Harvey) were also noteworthy finds of this predominately eastern warbler. A stunning male Golden-winged x Blue-winged (Lawrence’s) Warbler visited Goose Island SP, Aransas Co 18–20 Apr (ph. John Keagle, Kathy Keagle et al.). A Prothonotary Warbler wandered west to Fort Clark Springs, Kinney Co 18 Apr (Martin Reid, Sheridan Coffey). More impressive were three different Prothonotaries in the Trans Pecos with singles at Balmorhea Lake, Reeves Co 13 Apr (ph. Peter Gottschling), at Sam Nail Ranch, Big Bend NP, Brewster Co 8 May (ph. Michael B. Cooper et al.), and at Fort Peña Colorado Park, Brewster Co 20 May (ph. Christian Fernandez). Up to three Prothonotary Warblers below Lake Six, Lubbock Co 4–7 Apr (ph. Anthony Hewetson, Drew Harvey, m.ob.) was a notable count. A singing Swainson’s Warbler southwest of Spicewood, Burnet Co 15 May (audio Lee Kothmann) was well west of known breeding areas. Lucy’s Warblers are known to breed locally along the Rio Grande corridor from Hudspeth Co east to Cottonwood Campground in Big Bend NP, Brewster Co. There have been numerous reports from farther downriver at Rio Grande Village and vicinity, but details have largely been lacking until this spring when several singing males were extensively documented 17 Mar+ (Kyle Ashton, ph. Bruce Cramer, ph. Christian Fernandez, ph. Peter Hellman, ph. Jon McIntyre, ph. Letha Slagle, m.ob.). Much more unexpected was one well-described at Balmorhea Lake, Reeves Co 19 Mar (Stephen Gast, Timothy White).

A Virginia’s Warbler was an exceptional find in northwest San Antonio, Bexar Co 24 Mar (Sheridan Coffey, Martin Reid). A Kentucky Warbler wandered to San Angelo, Tom Green Co 11–12 May (ph. William Carlson) while farther west, late and possibly a first for Jeff Davis Co was another at Limpia Crossing in the Davis Mountains west of Fort Davis, 26 May (ph. Cecilia Riley). A female Hooded Warbler was at Davis Mountains SP, Jeff Davis Co 14–16 Apr (ph. Gary Yoder, ph. Jeanine Tumbleson), and a male was reported from nearby Lawrence Wood picnic area 25 Apr (Michelle Romedy, Bonnie de Grood). Farther west, one was in El Paso, El Paso Co 17 Apr (ph. Paul Hyder) and one in Clint, El Paso Co 22–23 May (ph. Alfred Olivas). A veritable flood of Cape May Warblers occurred this spring in South Texas. Up to four were present at Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center, Nueces Co 4–5 May (Christine Turnbull, ph. Kevin Cochran) and the Convention Center on South Padre Island, Cameron Co 6–7 May (ph. Bob Hargis, m.ob.). A male was present at Quinta Mazatlan SP, Hidalgo Co 8–11 May (ph. Damian Martinez, Nancy Martinez). Exceptional for central Texas were three Cape May Warblers with one 12 miles northeast of Pandale, Crockett Co (ph. Sonia Duran), another at Fort Clark Springs, Kinney Co 30 Apr (ph. Bryan Calk et al.), and one more at James Kiehl River Park east of Comfort, Kendall Co 5 May (ph. Nancy Devlin). Farther off-course was one at Laguna Meadow, Chisos Mountains, Big Bend NP, Brewster Co 1 May (John Dreves) and another at Boy’s Ranch, Oldham Co 3 May (Steve Glover). Single westerly Cerulean Warblers reached Neal’s Lodge in Concan, Uvalde Co 24 Apr (ph. Ken Rosenberg), Utopia, Uvalde Co 27 Apr (Mitch Heindel), and Devil’s River SNA, Val Verde Co 2 May (Tira Overstreet et al.).

Parulas through Grassquits

Lone Northern Parulas were west to the Indio Mountains Research Station, Hudspeth Co 1 May (ph. Michael Harvey) and El Paso, El Paso Co 10 May (Jim Paton). A Tropical Parula was a surprising find at Quintana, Brazoria Co 2 May (Mike Gfeller, ph. Mike Williams et al.). A Magnolia Warbler at Southeast Park, Randall Co 5 May (Silas Fischer) was a bit of an outlier from its easterly migration path. A Bay-breasted Warbler at Fort Clark Springs, Kinney Co 14 May (ph. Troy Hibbitts) was the westernmost report this season. A male Blackburnian Warbler at McKittrick Canyon, Guadalupe Mountains NP 6 May (Michael Clay, Jay Bolden) may have been a first spring occurrence for Culberson Co. As many as four Chestnut-sided Warblers below Lake Six, Lubbock Co 3–4 May (Anthony Hewetson, Joe Cochran, m.ob., ph.) was impressive as was one at Sam Nail Ranch, Big Bend NP, Brewster Co 8–15 May (ph. Michael B. Cooper, ph. Fred Collins, Randy Pinkston et al.). A Blackpoll Warbler at the Thompson Grove Picnic Area, Dallam Co 3 May (Steve Glover) was the only one reported in the western half of the state. North-central Texas had an above-average showing for Black-throated Blue Warblers with singles at River Legacy Park in Arlington, Tarrant Co 25 Apr (ph. Sam Asherfield), at Lake Benbrook, Tarrant Co 28 Apr (John Allendorf), and in Joshua, Johnson Co 8 May (Ty Allen). Exceptionally westward was a male Black-throated Blue Warbler at McKittrick Canyon, Guadalupe Mountains NP 6 May (Michael Clay, Jay Bolden) while a female in Sonora, Sutton Co 11 May (ph. Bob Friedrichs) was also a surprising find. The only Black-throated Blue Warbler reported in South Texas this spring was a female at South Padre Island Convention Center, Cameron Co 11–12 Apr (Louis Warren, Christine Warren et al.).

Westerly ranging Palm Warblers included one at Southeast Park, Randall Co 4 May (Steve Glover) and another at Rio Grande Village, Big Bend NP, Brewster Co 7 May (ph. Steve Glover, ph. Meg Barron, Ellyn Corey). A late Yellow-rumped Warbler in the Cinco Ranch area, Fort Bend Co 13 May (Helen Martin) was thought to have lingered due to a slightly injured wing. Always notable as a lowland migrant, a Grace’s Warbler was in El Paso, El Paso Co 30 Apr (ph. Kevin Floyd). Considerably east of its range, a Black-throated Gray Warbler was studied in Smithville, Bastrop Co 30 Apr (Ron Martin, Susan Martin). Townsend’s Warblers along the eastern edge of their migration route included one in San Angelo, Tom Green Co 25–26 Apr (ph. Tim Vasquez et al.) and another in Abilene, Taylor Co 11 May (Jay Packer, Amy Packer, Lance Barnett). In Nueces Co, single Townsend’s Warblers were at Packery Channel 16 Apr (ph. Kevin Cochran, m.ob.) and 30 Apr (Keith Bartels, Matt Heindel), and also at Blucher Park 25 Apr (ph. Keith Bartels, Matt Heindel). A female Townsend’s Warbler was present at the South Padre Island Convention Center, Cameron Co 28 Apr (ph. Peggy Rudman, m.ob.). Hermit Warbler is a rare migrant through El Paso Co, especially in spring, so four to five records in El Paso 19 Apr–3 May (Kevin Floyd, Michael Harvey, Jim Paton) were exceptional and probably drought related. A Hermit Warbler at Christmas Mountains Oasis, Brewster Co 27 Apr (David Provencher et al.) was the season’s only other Trans-Pecos report from a low elevation site. A hybrid Townsend’s x Hermit Warbler studied at Pine Canyon, Chisos Mountains, Big Bend NP, Brewster Co 18–19 Apr (Eric Smith, Glen Abbott et al.) added to the very few previous occurrences for the region.

Two Rufous-capped Warblers found in San Ygnacio, Starr Co 29 May (ph. Elsa Hull) were likely a pair. The Golden-crowned Warbler present at Brownsville’s Gladys Porter Zoo, Cameron Co all winter stayed until 17 Mar (m.ob.). A Wilson’s Warbler at Sugar Land, Fort Bend Co 21 May (Ryan Shaw) was late for the UTC. The overwintering Painted Redstart in the Dairy Ashford area of Houston, Harris Co lingering until 10 Mar (Ross Foreman). Lowland detections of Painted Redstarts in Brewster Co involved relatively late migrants at Daniel’s Ranch Road, Big Bend NP 16 May (Allen Codding) and at Christmas Mountains Oasis 21 May (Barbara Trujillo, Dennis Trujillo). Two at Guadalupe Mountains NP, Culberson Co, including an early individual at Smith Springs Trail 1 Apr (ph. Andrew Fontenot), and one at McKittrick Canyon 8 May (Erik Atwell) added to the relatively few spring occurrences for the park. At least four Hepatic Tanagers in the El Paso area 5–22 May (Michael Harvey, Jim Paton) were more than expected, especially for spring, and likely drought related. By late May, a rare county breeding record was confirmed for Summer Tanager in El Paso, El Paso Co (ph. John Groves). Up to two counter-singing male Summer Tanagers at Yellowhouse Canyon, Lubbock Co 25 May+ (Jim Crites, Anthony Hewetson, m.ob., ph.) were hints of potential breeding expansion in that area. Casual for north-central Texas was a Western Tanager in Paradise, Wise Co 1 May (ph. Michelle Summers). A Flame-colored Tanager present at South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center, Cameron Co 2–8 May (ph. Bob Hargis, m.ob.) added some much needed spice to spring migration. Crimson-collared Grosbeaks continued to excite birders into spring with a female staying at Estero Llano Grande SP, Hidalgo Co until 25 Mar (Tiffany Kersten), a continuing female staying at Santa Ana NWR, Hidalgo Co until 12 Apr (m.ob.), and a female continuing at Resaca de la Palma SP, Cameron Co as late as 19 Mar (m.ob.).

A late Pyrrhuloxia was at Pearland, Brazoria Co 17 Apr (Pat Dinkjian). The Black-headed Grosbeak visiting a feeder in Jasper, Jasper Co since 20 Jan was last seen 16 Apr (ph. Fred Lyons), while one that had been in College Station, Brazos Co since 1 Dec was again seen 14–22 Mar (Gus Cothran). On the UTC, three at Baytown, Chambers Co 16 Mar (David Hanson) was an impressive count, indicative of the strong winter invasion there. Blue Buntings continued to dazzle birders this spring. The male at Concepcion Park just south of downtown San Antonio, Bexar Co from late Feb was present until at least 26 Mar (m.ob.), while the male at Resaca de la Palma SP, Cameron Co was regular until 18 Mar (m.ob.); it or another male was found along one of the trails there 18 Apr (Raul Garza). Another male was spotted at feeders roughly 10 miles north of Rio Grande City, Starr Co 27 Mar (ph. Maureen Breakiron-Evans, David Price). In Hidalgo Co, a male appeared at Estero Llano Grande SP 31 Mar (Ryan Rodriguez) while another was present at Frontera Audubon Center 4–6 Apr (Tiffany Kersten et al.). Farther east, a female visited Laguna Vista Nature Trail, Cameron Co 30 Apr (ph. Susan Wheeler).

Lazuli Buntings had a banner spring with exceptional numbers and several birds farther east than is typical. A male at Santa Elena Canyon, Big Bend NP, Brewster Co 29–30 Mar (ph. Andrew Kinslow, Dawn Huber, Andrew Fontenot) was very early and conceivably could have been the same wintering bird documented there 8 Jan. The species is a regular migrant in low numbers in the western third of the state but tallies there were impressive with counts of up to 10+ at some feeding stations in the Trans-Pecos (m.ob.) and several reports of at least three individuals in various northwest Texas locations with an exceptional six in southeast Lubbock, Lubbock Co 18 May (Sheri Anderson). Above average numbers reached the eastern edge of the Edwards Plateau and south to the Coastal Bend; at least 18 different individuals were found in South Texas. Farther east, three different individuals were seen in various parts of College Station, Brazos Co 20 Apr–12 May (Donald Brightsmith, Simon Burton, ph. Dianne Robinson) while one was at Lake Somerville Birch Creek Unit, Burleson Co 8 May (Gregory Lewis, m.ob.). On the UTC, male Lazuli Buntings reached High Island, Galveston Co 11 Apr (ph. Simon Kiacz, ph. John Garrett et al.) and Dickinson, Galveston Co 26–27 Apr (ph. Clayton Leopold, m.ob.). Varied Buntings were at several sites in the Indio Mountains Research Station 1–2 May (ph. Michael Harvey) in southeastern Hudspeth Co at the western edge of its typical range in the state. Farther west, a pair was at Hueco Tanks SP, 30–31 May (ph., Liz Walsh), its lone outpost in El Paso Co. Early for so far north were three Dickcissels near Booker, Lipscomb Co 9 Apr (Barrett Pierce). A much scarcer migrant in spring versus fall in the Trans-Pecos, the only Dickcissels there were from southern Brewster Co where singles were found at Christmas Mountains Oasis 3 May (ph. Carolyn Ohl et al.), in Big Bend NP 12 May at Cottonwood Campground (Jesse Huth et al.) and at Santa Elena Canyon (Barry Lyon, Brooke Smith). A furtive Yellow-faced Grassquit visited Estero Llano Grande SP, Hidalgo Co 8–29 Mar (ph. Cindy Haugen, m.ob.).

Photos–Texas: Spring 2021

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