South Padre Island and other south Texas coastal sites might be better known as birding hotspots in the spring, but they can also yield quite a few birds during the fall. Autumn migration is happening in south Texas and a recent trip to South Padre Island turned up several sightings of warblers along with the usual bunch of wading birds.
The first warblers to migrate south are species like Yellow, Canada, and Black and whites. The Black and white Warbler is always fun to watch because it creeps along tree trunks and branches a bit like a woodpecker (not to mention its striking black and white plumage).
Canada Warblers breed in mixed hardwood forests far to the north of Texas but pass through in numbers as they make their way to wintering grounds in South America.
Lots of other, less colorful birds are starting to arrive and migrate through south Texas including Red-winged Blackbirds.
One of the many nice things about South Padre and other sites in south Texas is the abundance of wading birds. When the small birds aren’t showing, you can always head over to a marsh or other wetland and get good looks at herons, ibis, and other waders.
Another beautiful heron species that stalks the marsh is the Tricolored Heron. It uses its long straight beak to give it a bit of extra reach when hunting for fish.
However, not all herons have long sharp bills. The Yellow-crowned Night Heron has a rather short and stocky bill to help it catch and crush its favorite prey; crabs and crustaceans.
The birding is always good on South Padre Island!