Birder's Guide

JAN 2019

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

Issue link: http://bg.aba.org/i/1072320

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Area swallow species right here. For the truly intrepid, keep your eyes open for the white-shielded subspecies of American Coot, Fulica americana carib- aea, which can occasionally be picked out among the dozens of F. a. alai: Look for the more extensive white shield on its fore- head. After a day or afternoon filled with exciting sightings, listen for the possibility of a calling Great Horned Owl as you make your way back to the parking lot. Sabine Woods Sabine Woods, a property privately owned and managed by local Audubon chapters, is a migrant trap that stacks up with the best of them. Passerine migration is phe- nomenal, owing largely to its beachside location along two migratory flyways, but also because of the special habitat found here, known as "chenier" from the French word for oak. Chenier is a raised area, usu- ally a few feet higher than adjacent land, that live oaks can grow on, which warblers and other migrants find irresistible. Both kinglets can be found in winter along with a handful of warblers like Black- and-white, Orange-crowned, and Yellow- rumped. Hermit Thrush also winters here, and a few dozen Greater White-fronted Geese and a few hundred or even over a thousand Snow Geese can be found in ad- jacent wetlands during the colder months. In early spring, Sedge Wrens can some- times be heard singing in the marsh across the road. As the heart of migration ap- proaches in April, 25+ warbler days are a possibility, along with the regular cast of other Neotropical migrants. It's a no - tably good place for Swainson's Warbler. Indeed, with the exception of a handful of birds wintering strictly in the Caribbean— Kirtland's Warbler and Bicknell's Thrush, for instance—virtually every Neotropical passerine migrant that breeds in eastern North America passes through here in numbers, and western passerines like Black-throated Gray Warbler are occa - sionally discovered as exciting rarities. A drip, created and maintained by local birders, might yield your best-ever shots of Kentucky or Blackburnian warbler. Don't be surprised if you find yourself wondering how many different Setophaga top to bottom: n Purple Gallinule. Photo © cuatrok77 n Blackburnian Warbler. Photo © Andy Reago n Piping Plover. Photo © Greg Schechter species you can get in a single frame. Amid all the great birds you stand a good chance for at Sabine Woods, you also see the dedicated group of local birders put down their bins for a moment to fill in armadillo holes, tend the trails, and manage the fire ants, so that they and visitors alike can enjoy this special place. In Sabine Woods, seeing dozens of spectacular Neotropical migrants streaming through is easy, and it's just as easy to see the hard work, care, and devotion that the local birding community invests in this wonderful place. Sea Rim State Park Easily combined with Sabine Woods as a full-day or even half-day excursion, Sea Rim provides excellent access to salt marsh and sand dune habitat. A nicely con- structed boardwalk winds its way through the salt marsh, where Marsh Wren and Clapper Rail can be found. Reddish Egret is uncommon but possible. Ducks like Blue-winged Teal winter, and migrants are a possibility during the appropriate times. The shoreline is a good place to search for shorebirds and gulls. Willet, Sanderling, and Black-bellied Plover should be pres- ent in numbers during the winter, and Wilson's Plover becomes a possibility in summer. Rare gulls are sometimes discov- ered, like a California Gull this past winter. Continuing with the theme of ID challeng- 39 Jamuary 2019 | Birder's Guide to Travel

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