2022-09-05 SPI Convention Centre

Black-and-White Warbler - Mniotilta varia
I found new players on stage at the SPI Convention Centre, birds I’d not seen on the island this fall. Among those new faces this visit were Black-and-White Warblers and Hooded Warblers.
Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher - Polioptila caerulea
It’s possible this Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher will spend all winter here on South Padre Island. It might even be a year-round resident.

Having skipped one day of birding on Sunday, I was eager to get out and hunt for birds. It was a dreary, drizzly morning on the island, with a lot of standing water on the lawns, the streets, and other low places. After breakfast, I drove out to the South Padre Island Convention Centre, which is just across the road from my campsite at Andy Bowie County Park.

I walked out to the observation area near the water feature and immediately found some new arrivals on the island. Black-and-White Warblers, absent from my earlier tours, as well as a female Hooded Warbler, danced along the walkways and tree branches. A Yellow-Throated Warbler foraged in the trees west of the buildings, and I took a few pictures, but I wished for better light. I had to settle for semi-silhouetted shots of this bird, but hopefully it will stick around and give me another opportunity later on during my stay here..

I’d been hearing rumors of Prairie Warblers on the premises, but I’ve still not seen any here. We suspect they have moved on. Unless new arrivals bring in a fresh supply, I may miss out on meeting this species here.

I’ve found it can be challenging to get quality images of birds when they move through the dense understory, because the shadows are so deep, it is difficult to get them in good lighting. But this morning I was blessed when some of them perched momentarily unobstructed and in perfect light for me. You can’t write a script and have the birds follow the director’s instructions. You can only hope that you will be prepared for those magical moments if they materialize.

I followed up my Monday visit to the Convention Centre with another on Tuesday. I can feel the pace at which I’m gathering new images is faster than my ability to process and share them. I know that sounds like a ‘first-world’ problem, but it’s a familiar situation in my life these days, because the rigors of travel, and the urgency I feel to take advantage of my time at these amazing locations with the birds, conflicts with the duties of image processing and yarn-spinning.

I had a setback emotionally when I learned my dear friend Jerry Goffe passed away Sunday night. The news brought up a lot of feelings and memories that I had to process through my writing. He will be missed.

Click map markers to reveal further information