September Bird Forecast

September 12th, 2012 at 1:15 pm by under Weather

What to watch for in September: Majestic migrations

Here’s the Central Texas bird forecast for the month, courtesy of Travis
 Audubon. Learn more about Central Texas birds and bird-related events for all
 ages at travisaudubon.org or by calling 512-300-BIRD.

 Travis Audubon is on Twitter and Facebook. Follow us on Twitter @TravisAudubon and get updates at www.facebook.com/travisaudubon.

Broad-winged Hawk photo by Vincent P. Lucas via Creative Commons

The amazing Broad-winged Hawks are moving through on their way south. Their numbers will probably peak around the third week in September. They breed in the eastern half of the U.S. and in parts of Canada, but migrate through Eastern and Central Texas in groups of hundreds or thousands on their way to their wintering grounds in Central and South America. Broad-winged Hawks have dark faces, reddish chests, white throats and dark tails with one thick white band and one thinner one near the tip.

Mississippi Kites will be prominent for the first three weeks. Kites are also medium-sized hawks but with light gray heads, darker gray bodies, pointed wings and long black tails.

One of the best hawk-watching spots in America is in Corpus Christi at the Hazel Bazemore County Park.  On some days in late September more than 100,000 raptors will pass overhead there. http://www.ccbirding.com/thw/hb.html

Locally, Green Herons are abundant through September and are easily seen around Lady Bird Lake on the south side. Watch for them near the pedestrian bridge at the mouth of Barton Creek.

Blue-headed Vireo photo by Travis Audubon volunteer James A. Giroux

Winter visitors

For some southbound birds, Austin is as far as they’re going. Blue-headed Vireos and bubbly House Wrens are arriving and will stick around into the spring.

Sora photo by Stephen Ryner Jr. via Creative Commons

And the elusive Sora is beginning to arrive to spend the winter in retention ponds where there are cattails or other tall plants. What’s a Sora? It’s a small mottled brown wading bird with a black face and stubby yellow beak, but good luck seeing it. They’re hard to spot in the reeds and tall water grasses, but you might hear their call, described as a descending whinny.

What triggers migration? It’s not always clear. It can be a combination of changes in day length, lower temperatures, changes in food supplies and a species’ genetic predisposition. Learn more at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/studying/migration/

Upcoming events

Travis Audubon’s monthly meeting: 6 p.m. Sept. 20 at First Presbyterian Church, 8001 Mesa Drive. The guest speaker is David Shackleford, a former tour leader for Rockjumper Worldwide Birding Adventures, speaking about “Finding the World’s Birds – Adventures in International Travel.”

7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Sept. 11: Two-hour Tuesday! at Hutto Lake Park led by Dan Callaway

7:30 to 11 a.m. Sept. 15: Hornsby Bend Monthly Bird Walk

7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Sept. 18: Two-hour Tuesday! at St. Edwards Park led by Ken Zaslow

6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 25: Super Tuesday! at Bastrop/Beuscher State Parks led by Terry Banks

Sept. 28-30: Hawkwatch & Celebration of Flight in Corpus Christi

7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Oct. 2: Two-hour Tuesday! at Northeast Metro Park led by Dan Callaway

8 to 10 a.m. Oct. 6: Beginners’ Bird Walk at Brushy Creek Park

8:45 to 10:45 a.m. Oct. 6: Laguna Gloria with Sam Fason

7 a.m. to noon Oct. 9: Super Tuesday! at Aquarena Springs and Spring Lake Natural Area led by Deb and Lee Wallace

And Travis Audubon’s signature event is coming up in October: the Victor Emanuel Conservation Awards luncheon, honoring Carter Smith. Learn more about this event and others at travisaudubon.org.

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