Thursday, April 12, 2012

On the rails

For those who have never done it, the Anahuac rail trudge is interesting. They schedule it while the Yellow Rails are still there and the Black Rails haven't started nesting. Two people hold the ends of a 40 ft rope along which are tied empty gallon jugs with a few rocks in them. The two people pull the rope through the saw grass and other people slog in formation behind the rope to help flush the rails. When we did it several years ago, we spent about an hour and a half trudging back and forth across the area where this rail drag is allowed. We finally flushed a yellow and a black rail! It was a lot of work! Since he couldn't fit this year's scheduled trudges in and they didn't walk across the road for us, John might get Black Rails someplace else, and Yellow Rails up in Minnesota. Maybe.

We went to Bolivar again April 9th and got the Piping Plover while we were driving along the beach to the parking area. Cutie pie. And no walking! At High Island, Boy Scout Woods again, we got the Kentucky Warbler and the Common Nighthawk. Then we went to nearby Hooks which also has a drip. UNFORTUNATELY, I saw a Swainson's Warbler sneak in and out. We sat there a couple of more hours but it did not return for John. Drat!

Motel in Port Arthur TX, morning of the 10th in Sabine Woods, mosquitoes!!!! we added Blue-Winged and Palm Warblers, but missed the Golden-Winged by a few minutes, and there were supposed to be Swainson's wandering about. Not for us. On to Peveto Beach Woods in Louisiana, ravaged by Hurricane Rita, and a Peregrine Falcon was also hanging around so not much to report.

Cameron Prairie NWR yielded a King Rail as advertised. Not a clearly defined species. It is found in fresh water, call maybe slower cadence than the Clapper Rail. John's picture shows bright, defined colors, also.

Cool, the Motel 6 in Layfayette, LA had a business center so we printed out stuff John needed to deal with. Like taxes, and reservations for a Brian Petteson pelagic June 10th.

April 11th, we arrived at Dauphin Island, Alabama. John got his first Green Heron, we got a campsite at the campground and, well, it was a bit noisy from boat engines all night. Other new birds, Northern Waterthrush, Yellow-Billed Cuckoo.  And a Clapper Rail, in salt marsh, faster cadence than what we heard at Cameron. John will drive back at dawn tomorrow just on the off chance he can get a picture to better compare it to the King Rail we saw earlier. Not much in the way of fallout, but the island has some fun birding spots. Some people kindly told us that a Swainson's Warbler showed up 15 minutes after we left a spot, so we returned off and on all day to look for it there. John will get it yet, some time, some way, some where. Tonight, we are in a motel and hope to sleep better, and think better tomorrow.

John is up to 370 species.

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