2007-09-06 / Island Life

FOR THE BIRDS

Fall migration under way

On the look outSTAFF PHOTO BY MURRAY JUDSON         Nan Dietert and her husband, Lyndon Holcomb are fixtures at Port Aransas' birding hot spots. They'll be reporting sightings as the fall migration gets under way in a new column called 'For the birds.' On the look outSTAFF PHOTO BY MURRAY JUDSON Nan Dietert and her husband, Lyndon Holcomb are fixtures at Port Aransas' birding hot spots. They'll be reporting sightings as the fall migration gets under way in a new column called 'For the birds.' The fall bird migration in Port Aransas is under way. Two experienced birders, Lyndon Holcomb and Nan Dietert, will provide progress reports throughout the period as warranted.

Influenced by the remarkable variety of birds that live, winter, and migrate through the coastal bend and South Texas, Nan and Lyndon devote much of their time to serious birding. Although Nan's background is in fine arts (sculpture), she found her "magnificent obsession" in birding. She helps UTMSI with its birding Elderhostle programs. Both Lyndon and Nan are the bird guides for the Fennessey Ranch, have guided on the Kohootz in Port Aransas during the Festival of Whooping Cranes and Other Birds, and have guided on the River Explorer, a hotel barge that operates in Texas during the winter and runs from New Orleans to Port Isabel in the inter-coastal canal. They also assist their mentor, Ray Little, every Wednesday with the free, guided bird walks at the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center in Port Aransas.

For approximately two weeks, fall migrants have been appearing in small numbers at Joan and Scott Holt Paradise Pond and the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center. But on Saturday, Sept. 1, the numbers dramatically increased.

At Paradise Pond there were Canada, Wilson's, yellow-throated, yellow, black-and-white, blackthroated green, mourning, Louisiana waterthrush, northern waterthrush warblers, and probably the bird of the day, a male blue-winged warbler.

Red-eyed, warbling, and Philadelphia vireos also were spotted.

Possibly all five empids were there in good numbers. Eastern wood-pewees, great crested flycatchers, and blue-gray gnatcatchers also were there.

At the birding center the migrants have not been there in the numbers present at Paradise Pond, but there are, and have been, some good birds, such as spotted sandpipers, Wilson's phalaropes, yellow-crowned nightherons, semipalmated plovers, greater and lesser yellowlegs, dowitchers, and our "peeps": Least, semipalmated and western sandpipers.

On Sunday, Sept. 2, there were fewer birds at Paradise Pond, but an olive-sided flycatcher was a treat and stayed all day.

Fall migrants totaled 15 species on Monday, Sept. 3, with a threesome of best birds: Blue-winged warbler, worm-eating warbler, and a tropical parula!

To report a sighting, contact Lyndon Holcomb at lyndonholcomb@yahoo. com.

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