A Chuck-Will’s-Widow, which is a large nightjar, is the first bird I have ever held. It’s a medium sized bird, but its extremely light and surprisingly soft. I never realized how soft feathers were, they are so nice to touch.
Yesterday, I volunteered with the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory (GCBO) for the annual Hawk Watch on Smith Point. The other Hawk Watch partners include Hawk Watch International and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Not only were we watching for hawks, we were banding birds and attempting to band hawks as well. A cold front had moved in the day before and yesterday was on the chilly side, but the mosquitoes were still out in high numbers. The weather was very cloudy and mildly windy, not the best day for watching or catching hawks. The hawks did come out after a while and we did see huge numbers of hawks as they made their migration to the south. Even though no hawks were caught, a large number of small birds were caught in the mist nets. I was able to help with removing the birds from the nets and taking them to the banders. This was an amazing job and I would definitely do it again if I had the chance. The little birds seemed so delicate when I was removing them from the nets, but they are very hardy little creatures. Some would try to bite (didn’t hurt at all) and some would defecate and they all made a lot of noise because I’m sure its not the best experience. They’re alright though, they didn’t get hurt. Overall, it was an amazing day and completely worth it. The only downside – the two hour drive there and the two hour drive back and having mosquitoes bites all over my face, scalp, hands, and wrists. That’s not fun at all. It looks like I have hives, though I would still do it again. Bird banding (or helping get the birds for banding) is great fun. I took a lot of pictures and I hope you enjoy them!
The birds I was able to see:
-Rufous hummingbird (they were at a feeder on the hawk tower)
-Eastern wood pewee
The birds I pulled from the net:
-Nashville warbler 1
-Wilson’s warbler 1
-Blue-grey gnatcatcher 2
-White-eyed vireo 3
The birds that were banded:
-RTHU – ruby-throated hummingbird – 10
-BGGN – blue-grey gnatcatcher – 28
-NAWA – nashville warbler – 3
-WIWA – wilson’s warbler – 5
-RCKI – ruby-crowned kinglet – 1
-WEVI – white-eyed vireo – 28
-HOWR – house wren – 2
-HOWA – hooded warbler – 1
-BAWW – black and white warbler – 3
-AMRE – american redstart – 1
-EAWP – eastern wood pewee – 1
-YBFL – yellow-bellied flycatcher – 1
-LEFL – least flycatcher – 1
-OVEN – ovenbird – 1
-INBU – indigo bunting – 1
-GRCA – grey catbird – 3
-BRTH – brown thrasher – 5
-NOMO – northern mockingbird – 4
-WPWI – whip-poor-will – 3
-NOCA – northern cardinal – 1
-BLJA – blue jay – 3
-CWWI – chuck-will’s-widow – 2
-GCFL – great crested flycatcher – 1
-23 species total
Smith Point, TX:
The “A” indicates Smith Point. That’s Galveston Bay and I came from Galveston there at the bottom. It was about a two hour drive up and around the entire bay. I could take the Bolivar Ferry, but its under really bad management and you end up waiting about an hour and a half just to take a 15 minute ferry ride.
Here are the pictures from yesterday:
Smith Point has open woodland, a good location for many bird species. As you can see the day wasn’t the best.
Not a good picture, but those are hawks. Mostly broad-winged hawks.
These are the mesh bags with the birds inside them – ready for banding.
Mesh bag with bird – don’t know which species.
This is a mist net. You can kind of see it, which is really to whole point.
Here is a mist net with some birds it it.
Bird being removed from the net.
White-eyed vireo glaring up at me while stuck in the mist net.
Wilson’s warbler. As you can see it was just banded.
Juvenile white-eyed vireo.
Chuck-will’s-widow. Absolutely gorgeous bird. It has great coloring and beautiful feathers.
Brown thrasher wing.
Black and white warbler. He was very feisty.
Black and white warbler wing.
The most common birds of the day were blue-gray gnatcatchers and white-eyed vireos.
‘Till next time – enjoy!