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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring 2010 Migration in Review. It was a Very Good Year

Seeing the vibrant colors of the neo-tropical songbirds as they migrate through our state heading north places me on sensory overload. It is good for the soul, therapeutic in nature, and gives me great joy. Collecting pictures to remember these birds is a passion of mine. Sharing these images with the good birders of our state and others is an added plus.

Have you ever wondered, "What triggers this mass migration? How do the birds find their way? Do the birds leave randomly or do like species group together and leave flying over the Gulf of Mexico? If not, do they find each other by their different calls as they navigate northward in the dark?

Peveto Sanctuary's birding this past spring was spectacular. Pictured below are some of the cast of avian characters seen this past spring in SW Louisiana with a couple from the spring before as they migrated north. The vast majority of the pictures are from Peveto Sanctuary. A special hat's off to hard-working Dave Patton for maintaining the woodlot for all birders to enjoy.

I'm looking forward to my third spring migration in a few weeks. Hopefully the third time will be the charm.

Left-Click on Images to Enlarge.

We started off this day with a b-a-n-g at Sabine Refuge. What did we find? We found a rare, Review list female Western Tanager. What a great way to start the day!

We left Sabine Refuge and barely set foot in Peveto when a stunning brilliant yellow bird with ebony wings and a red cast to its head flew by. We were in awe as a gorgeous rare, review list male Western Tanager flew by. Seeing two Western Tanagers in the same day was nothing short of spectacular! If we didn't see another bird for the rest of the day our trip was already a success. The Birding Gods were with us.

A soft-looking Philadelphia Vireo was perched on an outside limb of a Live Oak Tree.

An attractive Cape May Warbler venturing through the woodlot was a spectacular bird to witness. The vast array of brightly colored birds around us was inspirational.

This rare, review list Audubon's Warbler graced us with his presence at Peveto.

A small Least Flycatcher was perched on a limb waiting to ambush any unsuspecting insects flying by.

A brilliant flash of yellow in the dense foilage attracted my attention. Although I've never seen this bird before it was unmistakeable and easily identified as a Yellow-breasted Chat. Its fondness for the dense vegetation made it tough for photography purposes but patience prevailed as it popped out for a shot.

A Veery was on the ground flipping over leaves looking for food underneath when it spotted us and jumped to low lying limb.

A handsome Blue-headed Vireo wearing his white spectacles perched on a giant ragweed stalk posed for a photo.

It was interesting to note the resemblance of the Yellow-Throated Vireo to the Solitary or Blue-Headed Vireo in the previous picture.

This Tanager was tucked away amidst some limbs.

Orchard Orioles were all over the mulberries at Sabine Refuge.

A Western Kingbird was perched on a limb waiting to snatch insects in mid-air as they flew by.

A Canada Warbler was nothing less than spectacular.

A stunning Bay-Brested Warbler appeared from nowhere.

A bright blue Cerulean Warbler peeked out from behind some leaves.

and 'hung around' for a while.

How do you get cuter than the little Chestnut-Sided Warbler with its yellow cap, white breast and chestnut colored sides ?

A Black and White Warbler was in perpetual motion scouring the sides of a limb in quest of a meal.

A Clay-Colored Sparrow perched in the Giant Ragweed Stalks nearby was a great find.

A Lark Sparrow was almost concealed low in the grass.

An Eastern Wood Pewee sat on a branch alert for flying insects.

This Pewee found at Peveto year before last is the darkest looking one I have witnessed. Although its vocalization was not heard it is an excellent candidate for a Western Wood Pewee.

This rare, review list MacGillivray's Warbler looked a lot like a Mourning Warbler except for its broken white eye ring. It stayed close to the ground making it difficult to photograph.

It appeared the sun was rising in the woodlot when this majestic Blackburnian Warbler made his debut decorated in his striking orange and black plumage. This warbler is one my all time favorites.

There is something about the dainty, vibrant Yellow Warbler with its bright yellow plumage and chestnut-brown streaked breast that puts a smile on your face.

and yet another.

A bright yellow Hooded Warbler bounced from ragweed stalk to ragweed stalk through the woodlot at Peveto.

This Kentucky Warbler closely resembles the Hooded Warbler and was in the same area.

The small Wilson's Warbler with its greenish uppers, yellow lowers and black cap was a colorful eye-catcher at Peveto as well.

A soft-looking Prothonotary Warbler, with its sensational brilliant-yellow color working through the woodlot paused for a picture.

A Worm-Eating Warbler with its striking head pattern of alternating black and buff stripes was hanging out in the trees and vines.

An Ovenbird looks a lot like a Thrush except for its orange crown with a band of brownish-black on both sides.

This first ever for me Nothern Waterthrush perused the edge of Dave's Pond bobbing its tail up and down as it looked for food. Occasionally, he would hop up on some of the larger branches providing for a better photo opportunity. Notice his striped throat.

Another first for me, the Louisiana Waterthrush with its white throat (not striped) was entertaining to watch plowing right through the middle of Dave's Pond in quest of sustinence. On one occasion he dipped his head down and came up with an earthworm. These two species are strikingly similar.

The Wood Thrush with its white eye ring, brown back and white chest with dark spots on its breast, side and flanks greatly resembles the above Waterthrushes and Ovenbird.

This Gray-Cheeked Thrush popped out of nowhere last year. It was the first and only one that I have been lucky enough to witness.

How could we forget the rare, review list Sage Thrasher at Blue Goose Trail even though it wasn't a spring bird at Peveto?

Baltimore Orioles and mulberries go together like soup and sandwich.

A Rose Breasted Grosbeak joined the Baltimore Oriole gobbling up the mulberries.

An uncommon Black-Billed Cuckoo stood absolutely still hoping to go undetected.

Yellow-Billed Cuckoos are fairly common at Peveto Woods during migration. They have a slightly downcurved bill with yellow on the lower mandible. The yellow ring around their eye is prominent. They sit almost motionless in a tree once they land.

A Nashville Warbler paid a visit to Dave Patton's Pond.

A Golden-Winged Warbler was hopping about collecting insects.

An uncommon Mourning Warbler was hanging out low in the bushes.

Although not at Peveto, a rare, review list Shiny Cowbird was east of Cameron and a delight to see.

A Common Yellowthroat was straddling two limbs. singing his heart out.

A Blue-Winged Warbler was a great find.

This Common Nighthawk was perched in the open on a pole in broad daylight.

You can see the similarities and differences between this rare, review list Lesser Nighthawk found at Peveto and the Common Nighthawk pictured above.

A tired, inquisitive Great Crested Flycatcher stopped to rest in front of Dave's Pond last year.

An uncommon Ash-Throated Flycatcher is always a great bird to see. As you can see, its yellow belly and gray breast is paler in color to the Great-Crested Flycatcher pictured above.

There were good numbers of Tennessee Warblers at times in Peveto Woods.

A Nothern Parula spent most of its time upside-down as it foraged through the trees.

What spring migration would be complete without a Painted Bunting?

This Olive-Sided Flycatcher was perched high on a snag watching for insects to fly by.

This crimson red, Summer Tanager with no tail sitting on a limb looked different.

A Vesper Sparrow hopping about in the grass was a nice find.

Black-Throated Green Warblers were fairly common this past spring at Peveto.

A Yellow-Throated Warbler is always a pleasant sight.

It appeared this Catbird was more interested in a taking a picture of me than I was of him. The inquisitive expression on his face is priceless.

The small, nervous Ruby-Crowned Kinglets love to hop about in the bushes, vines and trees gathering food at Peveto while at times hanging upside down on branches.

The tiny Golden-Crowned Kinglet is a neat bird to see as it actively hops about in the trees.

Although not found at Peveto Sanctuary the rare, review list Cave Swallow was exciting to see.

I photgraphed this review list Black-Whiskered Vireo my first year birding at Peveto Sanctuary in 2009. All birds were new to me and I had no idea of the ID of this bird. The photographs made it easy to ID this rare bird while obtaining the necessary documentation. Wouldn't it be nice if one showed up this spring?

This Review list Yellow-Green Vireo was another fantastic bird that my Son-in-Law and I were fotunate enough to see at Peveto in 2009. Believe it or not, it was my Son-in-Law's third time ever to go birding. He should have gone to the casino later that night.

The next three pictures are not migratory songbirds but noteworthy raptors seen in the spring.

If I was a bird, the Peregrine Falcon , Mother Nature's Finest Flying Machine, is one raptor I wouldn't want after me.

My wife and I were fortunate to see this rare, review list White-Tailed Hawk on Fabacher Road this past spring.

This uncommon Swainson's Hawk was a noteworthy raptor close to Fabacher Road as well.

Not a bird of course but still found at Peveto. Can you find the disguised Schinia Volupia Moth?

I hope you enjoyed looking back to last year's spring migration plus a few. It's hard to believe such a small woodlot can produce such diversity among birds. I am looking forward to this year's migration to see what Mother Nature sends our way.

Happy Birding,


  1. Thanks for the wonderful pictures. Especially the close-ups at Peveto Woods. You are a super photographer.
    We are going to try to go to Peveto Woods this year for spring migration. Can't wait to see the pictures from this year. Last years photos around the pond are fantastic.
    Great birding. Cheryl and Ron Durand

  2. I'm glad you liked the pictures and wish you all the luck seeing some fantastic passerines at Peveto this spring.