2022-09-11 Sunday on South Padre Island

Summer Tanager - Piranga rubra
The Summer Tanagers visiting South Padre Island during fall migration were eagerly hunting the wasps that the rest of us tried to avoid.
Hooded Warbler - Setophaga citrina
The Hooded Warblers I’d been meeting on South Padre Island during the fall migration of 2022, were all female until this September 11 visit, when a bright male showed up to dazzle us.

After breakfast Sunday, I stopped at Sheepshead, where I met a Northern Parula and a more typical female Blackburnian Warbler than the bird I met on Saturday at the SPI Convention Centre.

When I left Sheepshead, I headed north to the SPI Convention Centre. There were few visitors of the two-legged variety, but a fair compliment of the feathered sort. Early during my visit, I spotted a bright male Hooded Warbler. It was the first one I’d seen this fall season. I was stationed at the upper rail of the shaded water feature, and spotted the bird in the deepest shade at the lowest section of the fenced off area. Patience often pays off here, and I waited at length, hoping the bird would pop into view nearer my position and in decent light. While I waited for the Hooded Warbler, I enjoyed a series of visits by other worthwhile birds, but the Hooded male never approached while I stood watch at this location. 

When things are slow at the water feature, it can be profitable to explore the grounds around the Convention facility. Often one can find interesting birds foraging in the trees. With luck and persistence, it may even produce a photo-op in good lighting. When I sense I’ve found a location where I might have such an opportunity, I may break out the small folding stool that I carry, and make myself as small as possible, waiting for my quarry to approach. One of my rewards Sunday was watching a Summer Tanager bring a wasp to a nearby perch, and work it over in its bill, until the stinger was eliminated and it was safe to swallow the meal.

While I sat and enjoyed the shade and the nearby birds, I spotted the male Hooded Warbler working the grounds under the shade trees. The lighting where the bird foraged was speckled with alternating deep shade and brightly lit splashes. Such conditions are almost impossible to capture quality images. I kept pressing the shutter release, knowing most of the images would get deleted during the cull process. After reviewing the collection, I found a few images to preserve.

The birds that lent their images to me on Saturday, were Black-and-White Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Canada Warbler, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Hooded Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Northern Parula, Red-Eyed Vireo, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Summer Tanager, Vermilion Flycatcher, and Wilson’s Warbler.

Click map markers to reveal further information