2021-04-06 SPI Reruns

Summer Tanager - Piranga rubra
Most of the morning this male tanager secluded itself from view, but it finally slipped up and I caught him. Last year the global pandemic prevented me from experiencing the full effects of spring migration in south Texas. This year the gates are open and I’m venturing to South Padre Island about every second day.

If the show is good enough, it bears watching repeatedly. A second look may teach us something new. We might see something worthwhile we missed on the first go-round. I feel the same way about birding on South Padre Island. I did not meet a new bird species on this visit. However, the birds that were still hanging out from my visit last Sunday provided some fresh angles to enjoy.

I captured images of the following species during my Tuesday visit: Black-and-White Warbler, Hooded Oriole, Hooded Warbler, Indigo Bunting, Louisiana Waterthrush, Orchard Oriole, Prothonotary Warbler, Red-Winged Blackbird, Summer Tanager, and Tricolored Heron. One favorite memory at the Convention Centre was when a Summer Tanager provided a few moments of unobstructed views. Another was finally getting the Orchard Orioles to come from behind the veil of foliage they used last Sunday to prevent me from capturing their beauty.

During a birding lull at the SPI-CC, a friend and I drove a half mile south to investigate the SPI Birding and Nature Center. Neither of us felt like committing the time and effort to tour the boardwalk over the lovely marshes there, but we knew the parking area sometimes hosted interesting birds. Unfortunately, the trees there remained denuded from the deep freeze of last February. We found no passerines moving through their branches. But in front of the Visitor’s Center there is a spectacular ten foot high water feature gushing many gallons per second over enormous slabs of stone. There, dancing through the rivulets running over the moss-covered rocks, was a waterthrush. I first thought it must be a Northern Waterthrush, but after reviewing the images, I saw pinkish legs and feet, and a white, non-streaked throat patch. The bird guides I found called out these markers for the Louisiana Waterthrush. We enjoyed unobstructed, though distant views of the bird as it gleaned tiny pollywogs and invertebrates from the waters running down the rocky slabs.

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