Anahuac Activities travel blog

Blue-winged Teal crated for banding

Separating hen and drakes

Banding

John transferring

Test line-up

Blood sample

John carrying birds

Releasing in record time

Rainy day marsh

King Rail

Yellow-crowned Night Heron learning to fish

Lantana

Roseate Spoonbill

Great Egrets

Spiderwort

Wisteria, grows wild here


Date: March 26, 2015

Weather: rain early, windy

Temperature: start 69º

High 70º

Wildlife count: Bobcat, Alligator, Mullet

Year List: 213

Birds: Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Fulvous Whistling Duck, Mottled Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Pied-billed Grebe, Neo-tropic Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Tri-colored Heron, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, White & White-faced Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Black & Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Northern Harrier, King Rail, Common Gallinule, American Coot, Black-necked Stilt, Killdeer, Laughing Gull, Forster’s Tern, Mourning Dove, Belted Kingfisher, American Kestrel, Eastern Kingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike, Purple Martin, Barn & Tree Swallows, Northern Mockingbird, Northern Cardinal, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Boat-tailed Grackle,

We were out this am early and watched/helped band 100 Blue-winged Teal. What amazing creatures and so very small – it was cool. Birds are caught in a mist net, then crated and transported to a safe area for testing. First, a metal FWS identification band is installed. The birds are then moved a few feet to a test station that is organized and financed by a university study. The birds have a quick throat swab and fecal swab, and then a small blood draw. From crate to release takes less than 5 minutes – the birds are never in danger, and there is little stress. The testing is for avian flu, to determine the prevalence, as well as area of incidence. It was wonderful to hold those tiny creatures in our hands, considering that we never have the opportunity to get that close to them in the field.

A cold front passed through our area, causing lots of wind and a little rain. We went to explore the heron rookery and then to the High Island woods to see if any warblers stopped here on their migration across the Gulf. This is a warbler magnet, as High Island, a salt dome, is the highest place on the TX coast at 38', covered in trees, and the first place birds land after they have completed their migration. From the VIS, we can see High Island, so we are close and some birds do head this way as well, but we don't have a huge number of trees. So an exciting day to not be working.

The wind must have stopped the migration, as we saw no warblers this afternoon, though a few had been sighted earlier in the morning. There were very few birders at the Boy Scout Woods. The rookery, however, was amazing! We’ll have to go back with better lighting and John’s long lens. We carried the scope all of the way out to the rookery pond, and would not have needed it – the birds were THAT close.

For dinner, we prepared chicken enchiladas, a new recipe for us, and it was terrific! Dessert was spiced bars with butter-cream frosting.



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