I recently spent a week in Corpus Christi, Texas attending the American Birding Association's Birding Convention. As far as the people go the attendees sport more grey hair than... well... actually nothing I can think of other than a geriatric home. But I'll tell you what I love these folks and they are spritly; up at 4am each day, out on birding spot by 5:30am for hours of birding and once a great bird is spotted its like a bunch of 3 year olds sighting Elmo, they get realy excited.
The convention was the ABA's 40th aniversary so they decided to go to North America's hottest hot spot - Corpus Christi during spring migration.
Litterally each spring millions and millions birds fly through CC blow by strong winds out of South America, through Central America onto their breeding grounds in North America. We missed the hawk migration which is at its best when 40 to 60 thousand birds of prey pass over in 20 minutes; kites, hawks, falcons fly over wing tip to wing tip 40 to 50 birds wide for miles creating flying rivers that blot out the sun.
The birds I did get to see were amazing. The tours I chose concentrated on forests and river areas as I felt this is where I would get birds that were very different to home such as warblers, orioles and buntings. I started off with a very familiar bird but the wild version - the Turkey and it was cool as the male was fanning his tail and showing off for the girls. Audubons and Baltimore Orioles were as always very pretty birds and I wanted more like them. However the two birds I wanted most were male Indigo and Painted Buntings. These are spectacualr birds by any standards and the Painted Bunting is a front runner for prettiest bird in North America. The joke goes that the Painted Bunting is proof that Mother Nature is actually a gay man. From the first photo on this blog you can see it certainly is flambouyant!
Another dawn session brought a bunch of Night Hawks and Olive Sparrow, but suprisingly I found spectacular bird - the Green Jay which I had seen before in Brazil, with its gaudy colours one would have picked it for a South American rather than North American bird. Then the Warblers started rolling in Magnolia, Worm eating, Black Burnian, Black poll, Black and White, Black throated Green all spectacular dots of colour and contrast.
The birds just continued to roll in; how does this sound: Bobwhite perched up and singing, Wilson's Phalarope, first look at Groove billed Anis, Avocets, Sora, White Ibis, White faced Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Stilt, Pectoral, Spotted, Semi P Sandpipers, Red Breasted Grossbeak, Buff bellied, Rudy throated, Black chinned hummers, lots of Ducks and so much more in Corpus Christi. It was a very productive and beautiful week with a list of over 150 birds.
A huge thank you to Seve Baranoff for the brilliant photos, check him at https://birdsbybaranoff.com/ for lots more photos and support him by purchasing a few