Spring migration is such a wonderful time for watching birds in southern Texas. Not only do you get days when huge waves of thrushes, warblers, tanagers, vireos, and other birds visit local birding hotspots, but they are also decked out in stunning breeding plumage finery.
Large numbers of beautiful Indigo Buntings pass through the area and in doing so, make themselves available for excellent photography opportunities. Waiting near a source of water is usually a surefire way to capture stunning digital images of this smart-looking little bird.
Female Indigos of course also migrate through southern Texas. Although their dull, sparrow-like colors can’t compare with the shining blue of the male, they are still nice to see.
Female Black and white Warblers look much more like their male counterparts and are always a nice little bird to see. These tree-creeping warblers are fairly common during migration.
The tanagers are hard to beat when it comes to being colorful. In certain lights, the red of the male Scarlet Tanager seems to glow, especially when offset by the velvet black wings and tail. Happily, this is also a common migrant in southern Texas.
Although the shades of red shown by the male Summer Tanager aren’t as vibrant as those of the Scarlet, it’s still a striking, beautiful bird. This is another common migrant in the area.
We also get Western Tanagers as migrants. The males of this species are always a treat to watch with their striking combination of bright yellow, black, and red.
We get a fair number of uncommon and rare species in southern Texas, including the Cerulean Warbler. This beautiful little songbird is the only warbler that shows mostly light blue plumage. I was very happy to get pictures of it because not only are they few in numbers, but they also like to stay high up in the trees. This species is considered to be vulnerable to extinction because it has been declining for the past three or four decades. Its numbers may be dropping because it needs tall, old-growth hardwood forest for breeding and intact cloud forest on its wintering grounds; two types of habitats that have become increasingly rare and fragmented.
Migration always seems to go by in a flash of color and song so get out there and watch birds in south Texas today!