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Birding in May

I was birding with Sheri, my daughter-in-law in the last of April down in South Padre Island where she acted as my guide in seeing a whole bunch of migratory birds as they head north for the summer.  Sheri is a much more dedicated and skilled birder than myself but her enthusiasm is contagious.  So when we had the opportunity to go birding last Saturday at Sparrow’s Way, we both looked forward to continuing our Spring search for birds.  

Sparrow’s Way has been trying to schedule regular monthly “Open House” events to share the beauty and peacefulness of this country setting which combines the Sparrow’s Way Woods, a trail through a thicket of brush and trees, along with the trails of our neighboring Creech Prairie Restoration.  Sheri and I set off shortly after 8:00 a.m. through the Woods while others took trails through the Prairie. 

One of our first sightings was this Least Flycatcher which we watched working the trees.

Later we were led along our return path by a Great crested Flycatcher.

When we got to the “pond”, which no longer holds water but is surrounded by trees and brush, we were busy watching a variety of warblers and other migrant birds busily chasing insects through the branches.  Sheri was quick to identify many of these quick moving birds while I recorded their calls using the Merlin app. 

She is also much quicker at getting photos and captured some of the Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Baltimore Oriole, Catbird, Blackburnian Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Yellow warbler, Magnolia warbler, MacGillivray’s warbler and Mourning Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Painted bunting, and the American Redstart.  We heard and saw many other birds such as Cardinals, Pyrrhuloxia, Mockingbirds, Scissortail Flycatchers, Bob white quail, and Dicksissel to name a few.

What does it say about ourselves when we begin to look past the beauty that surrounds us trying to catch sight of the things that are only here for a fleeting season?  Many of the elusive little birds that are passing through our Woods in Spring will return in the fall or possibly again next Spring, but these Bob white quail, brilliantly red Cardinals, constantly singing Mockingbirds, and even the strikingly beautiful Painted Bunting may well be here all year long.  The array of migrant birds remind us of the seasons and complex interrelations of nature.  They also remind us of the fragility of our environment that makes this place, Sparrow’s Way Woods and Creech’s Prairie, a crucial resting place for these vulnerable birds on their long journeys to their new homes.

What can we do to help along the way?  It would be great to have a constant water feature to provide a bird bath and fresh water dripping for the birds passing through as well as those who make this their home.  The trees and prairie will provide all the food needed.  This is part of the vision for Sparrow’s Way. 

But an even more meaningful aspect of our vision is to replicate this for vulnerable families needing a resting place to restore themselves on their own journeys.  We are working toward having living spaces and facilities which can house a handful of families at a time who need this place of restoration and healing.  This will take many more people sharing this vision and participating in some way to move this forward from vision to reality. Are you interested?

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