My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Magical Monday

Our spring is continuing with a parade of days with cloudy skies and lots of rain. The big rain storms of Saturday and  Sunday caused migrant fallouts, some in time to be enjoyed by Featherfest tours.  We went outside early Monday morning to find several migrants in the yard: indigo buntings, baltimore orioles, American redstarts, white-eyed vireo, summer tanagers, and even several of our here-to-for missing ruby-throated hummingbirds. A common yellowthroat fell to the ground almost at Natalie's feet.

A Baltimore oriole recharges after a hard night's flight
We had planned a paddle for the afternoon and had been watching the forecasts anxiously, hoping the little window of opportunity - chance of rain under twenty-five percent - would hold up.  By mid-morning the clouds were clearing and soon we were under a brilliant blue sky with a few fluffy clouds drifting about. The temperature was rapidly climbing and it looked like a perfect day to paddle on Sheldon Lake and check out the nesting water birds.  Natalie announced it as a Houston Canoe Club trip and several other people came to paddle with us, some of them my old friends and others new.

I planned to paddle Swamp Sprite, my solo canoe, just out of hospital itself, but, when I got back from doing a little birding with Winnie, before she left, Natalie had already loaded a kayak for me. I was glad she did, because it was somewhat windy and the little blue kayak (Eddyline Merlin) paddles like a dream, no matter what quarter the wind is coming from.

Natalie's car at the put-in 
A cypress tree decorated in neotropical cormorants - couldn't ID the background bird

White Ibis

Will shows off his beautiful paddling style in a canoe I sold him several years ago

I couldn't quite catch the anhingas' conversation but I think they were talking about the deterioration of the neighborhood when that other species moved in

This is not a breeding spoonbill so I don't know why it was in the rookery

Birds are just starting to nest. Some years, most of the trees behind the paddlers are speckled with nests and birds

Little blue herons were abundant and pairing up

Cattle egret 

What could be better?

A few white ibis

An immature white ibis hangs with a spoonbill

The day remained perfect and clear until we were on the way home after eating a delicious scallop dinner with some of the paddlers. Then the sky started clouding over as the rain chances once again began rising. By early Tuesday morning, we were, once again, experiencing thunderstorms and heavy rain.  What kind of magic was that?

Me, the very happy camper, trying to stay in place in a little wind
On the personal front, my friend I was so excited about seeing, had to cancel her trip.  But since we were planning to bird together and with friends, I'm going to do a slightly modified version of the trip. There are more adventures to come. I'll be driving to Corpus Christi as this blog comes out and will be birding in the Valley in a few more days. Stay tuned.

Cattle egrets were starting to do a little hanky panky. This one is dressed in his party clothes.

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