Mustang Island

Birds

brochure Mustang Island - Birds
TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE BIRDS OF MUSTANG ISLAND S T A T E P A R K a n d V I C I N I T Y A FIELD CHECKLIST 2010 Cover: Illustration of Piping Plover by Clemente Guzman III. INTRODUCTION M ustang Island State Park covers 3,954 acres of Mustang Island, a subtropical barrier island separating Corpus Christi Bay from the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. The only state park south of Galveston located directly on the Gulf, this park provides an opportunity to view habitats typical of the Texas Costal Bend. These habitats include: open Gulf waters and 5.5 miles of beach, barrier island dunes and grasslands, and estuarine wetlands (bayside waters, marshes, and tidal flats). For more information about the ecology of Mustang Island, see Down to Earth at Mustang Island by Jay A. Raney and William A. White (2002, Bureau of Economic Geology). The geographic area covered in this checklist includes all of Mustang Island, which is some 18 miles in length. This includes the city of Port Aransas, which has certain micro-habitats which are prime birding spots. These include the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Facility, a boardwalk into a pristine marsh habitat, as well as the Scott and Joan Holt Paradise Pond, which features an observation boardwalk into a wooded freshwater pond. The latter is a valuable migrant trap, which produces a host of neotropical migrant songbirds. Also included in the checklist area is the extreme northern tip of Padre Island, which is seven miles south of the park. This area, known as Padre Isles, is the only portion of North Padre Island which is habitated by people. The Packery Channel County Park and adjacent neighborhoods provide an opportunity to view many Trans-Gulf migrants as they stop briefly in the oak mottes there, or in the vegetated lawns of the residential areas on the island. Located at the northern edge of the Tamaulipan biotic province, the park is most suitable for year-round observations of coastal waterbirds. Resident herons, egrets, ibises, gulls, and terns from nearby rookeries and nesting colonies are easily seen feeding or resting on the island’s wetlands. With its relatively mild winter climate, this area is prime wintering grounds for many waterfowl and shorebird species. Large populations of loons, grebes, pelicans, cormorants, and ducks (especially Northern Pintails, American Wigeons, Redheads and Lesser Scaup) spend the winter in adjacent Corpus Christi Bay, the Gulf or on freshwater island ponds. During winter months, bayside tidal flats teem with shorebirds, ranging from oystercatchers, plovers, and curlews to sandpipers and godwits. More pelagic species can sometimes be observed along the Gulf beach or from the Port Aransas or Packery Channel jetties. Northern Gannets or jaegers are the most often encountered in winter; and Magnificent Frigatebird or, on rare occasions, a Masked Booby in summer. 1 Birds of prey also find the island a good wintering spot. Short-eared Owls have been found hunting over open grasslands. The utility poles down the center of the island make good perches for the occasional Peregrine Falcon and frequently for Ospreys, White-tailed Hawks and Red-tailed Hawks. Situated on the Central Texas coast, Mustang Island is an excellent location for observing migrating birds that tend to concentrate along the coastline. On some days, the island acts as a “highway” for streams of migrating waterbirds and passerines. One then has only to sit and watch birds moving by! The beach and bayside trails show such dramatic increases in waterbirds that it is not uncommon to see large flocks of waterfowl, waders, shorebirds, or tern species traveling north during the spring and south during the fall. The same phenomenon is demonstrated by hummingbirds and passerines such as swallows. Migrants are especially numerous and identifiable during passage of cold fronts, when inclement weather forces birds of all species down. Those that land in dunes and grasslands generally survive, while large kills occur in the Gulf, as evidenced by dead birds occasionally washed up along the beaches. During such “fall-outs,” birding can be hectic but extremely rewarding. It is spectacular indeed to see a small bush containing Scarlet Tanagers, Baltimore Orioles, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, and Indigo and Painted Buntings! And of course, there is always the chance for some unexpected rarity such as a Cape May Warbler, Western Tanager or Bobolink. One should remember that the status of a species depends on the presence of suitable habitat. Because of the limited habitat types found within the park (either wetlands or grasslands), some species are not normally expected here, although they may be abundant on the mainland or in wooded habitats elsewhere on the island only a few miles away. This checklist was compiled by Mel Cooksey of Corpus Christi. This edition of the checklist is based in part on the previous edition compiled by Tony Amos of Port Aransas. Checklist nomenclature and organization follows the American Ornithologist’s Union Checklist of North American Birds (1998, 7th edition, 49th supplement, August 2008). Because we will be updating this checklist as additional observations are made, we ask that you report details of new or unusual sightings. Bird sightings can be mailed to the Natural Resources Program, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744. 2 Please help protect the natural avian communities in our parks by refraining from using playback tapes of bird songs. Frequent use of these tapes disrupts normal avian activity patterns, disrupts essential territorial behavior and may lead to nest failure. Thank you for your cooperation. LEGEND Seasons Sp – S – F – W – spring (March – May) summer (June – August) fall (September – November) winter (December – February) Note: Many species have an early fall migration, and may appear in our area as migrants during the summer season. For purposes of separating these species from those which are summer residents, we will indicate an \ in front of the abundance status. For instance, Least Sandpiper is designated as \C for summer, indicating that it is a common species during that period. Though Least Sandpiper is not a breeding bird, and would be rare in mid-summer, its numbers increase noticeably in late July and August as migrants and winter residents arrive. Abundance C – common – should be seen on 75 percent or more of trips in proper habitat and season F – fairly common – should be seen on 50 percent or more of trips in proper habitat and season U – uncommon – should be seen on 25 percent or more of trips in proper habitat and season R – rare – may be seen on 10 percent or more of trips in proper habitat and season X – accidental – only one or two records in the past ten years I – irregular – absent some years, but may be numerous in others 3 CHECKLIST   Sp ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ F W Black-bellied Whistling-Duck................... U U U Fulvous Whistling-Duck............................ U R U Greater White-fronted Goose.................. F U Snow Goose................................................ F F Ross’s Goose............................................... Brant............................................................ Canada Goose............................................ R R Wood Duck.................................................. R Gadwall........................................................ C F American Wigeon...................................... C F Mallard........................................................ R Mottled Duck.............................................. C C C Blue-winged Teal....................................... C R C Cinnamon Teal........................................... U Northern Shoveler..................................... C U F Northern Pintail........................................ C F Green-winged Teal..................................... C R C Canvasback................................................. R Redhead....................................................... C U F Ring-necked Duck...................................... F F Greater Scaup............................................. U R R Lesser Scaup............................................... F R F Surf Scoter.................................................. White-winged Scoter................................. X Black Scoter................................................ X Long-tailed Duck........................................ X Bufflehead................................................... C F Common Goldeneye.................................. R R U U U U R X R R C C R C C U C C C U C F U C X 4 S C U   Sp ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ F W Red-breasted Merganser........................... C U Ruddy Duck................................................. C U U Northern Bobwhite................................... U U U Red-throated Loon..................................... Pacific Loon................................................. X Common Loon............................................ F U Least Grebe................................................. I I I Pied-billed Grebe....................................... C F C Horned Grebe............................................. Eared Grebe................................................ F U Masked Booby............................................ R R Brown Booby ........................................... R R Northern Gannet....................................... F R U American White Pelican........................... C F C Brown Pelican............................................ C C C Neotropic Cormorant................................ C F F Double-crested Cormorant....................... C C Anhinga....................................................... R Magnificent Frigatebird............................. U U American Bittern....................................... U U Least Bittern............................................... U U U Great Blue Heron....................................... C C C Great Egret.................................................. C C C Snowy Egret............................................... C C C Little Blue Heron....................................... U U U Tricolored Heron....................................... C C C Reddish Egret............................................. F F F Cattle Egret................................................. C F C Green Heron............................................... C U C Black-crowned Night-Heron..................... F F F C C U X 5 S F I C R C F C C C C U R C C C F C F C U F   Sp ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ F W Yellow-crowned Night-Heron................... F U F White Ibis.................................................... F F F Glossy Ibis................................................... U U U White-faced Ibis......................................... F F C Roseate Spoonbill...................................... C C C Black Vulture.............................................. R R R Turkey Vulture........................................... C C C Osprey.......................................................... C R F Swallow-tailed Kite.................................... R \R White-tailed Kite........................................ U R U Mississippi Kite.......................................... U U Northern Harrier....................................... C F Sharp-shinned Hawk................................. U F Cooper’s Hawk........................................... U R U Red-shouldered Hawk............................... Broad-winged Hawk.................................. U U Swainson’s Hawk....................................... U U White-tailed Hawk..................................... C C C Red-tailed Hawk......................................... U U Ferruginous Hawk..................................... R R Crested Caracara....................................... U U U American Kestrel....................................... C F Merlin.......................................................... U U Aplomado Falcon....................................... R R Peregrine Falcon........................................ U R U Black Rail.................................................... X Clapper Rail................................................ F F F King Rail..................................................... U R U Virginia Rail............................................... F U Sora.............................................................. F R F U F U F C R C U 6 S U C F F R C U U U C U R F F U C F   Sp ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ Purple Gallinule......................................... Common Moorhen..................................... American Coot........................................... Sandhill Crane........................................... Black-bellied Plover................................... American Golden-Plover........................... Snowy Plover.............................................. Wilson’s Plover........................................... Semipalmated Plover................................ Piping Plover.............................................. Killdeer........................................................ American Oystercatcher........................... Black-necked Stilt....................................... American Avocet........................................ Greater Yellowlegs..................................... Lesser Yellowlegs....................................... Solitary Sandpiper..................................... Willet............................................................ Spotted Sandpiper..................................... Upland Sandpiper...................................... Whimbrel.................................................... Long-billed Curlew.................................... Hudsonian Godwit..................................... Marbled Godwit......................................... Ruddy Turnstone....................................... Surfbird........................................................ Red Knot...................................................... Sanderling................................................... Semipalmated Sandpiper......................... Western Sandpiper.................................... 7 S F W U U F F C C F C U F U U C C F U C U C C F F C C C U C \R C \U U \U C C C U F \U U C U R C \U C U X C \U C F C \F C \C U F C U C R U U U F C F C F C C U C C F U C R F C F C U F C C F C C C C R C C R C C C C C U C C C C C C   Sp ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ F W Least Sandpiper.......................................... C \C C White-rumped Sandpiper......................... U U Baird’s Sandpiper...................................... U \U U Pectoral Sandpiper.................................... F \F F Purple Sandpiper....................................... X Dunlin.......................................................... U U U Curlew Sandpiper...................................... X Stilt Sandpiper........................................... F F Buff-breasted Sandpiper........................... U \R R Short-billed Dowitcher.............................. C \F C Long-billed Dowitcher............................... C \F C Wilson’s Snipe............................................ C F C Wilson’s Phalarope.................................... F U F Red-necked Phalarope............................... X X Bonaparte’s Gull........................................ F Little Gull.................................................... Laughing Gull............................................. C C C Franklin’s Gull........................................... U U Heermann’s Gull........................................ Ring-billed Gull.......................................... C U C California Gull........................................... R R Herring Gull............................................... C U C Thayer’s Gull ............................................. Lesser Black-backed Gull.......................... R R Glaucous Gull............................................. R Great Black-backed Gull........................... Black-legged Kittiwake.............................. X Sabine’s Gull............................................... X Brown Noddy............................................. X X Black Noddy................................................ X C 8 S X C U C C C F X C R X C R C X R R X X   Sp ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ S F Sooty Tern.................................................. R R Bridled Tern............................................... X X Least Tern.................................................... C C C Gull-billed Tern.......................................... U F U Caspian Tern............................................... C C C Black Tern................................................... C C C Common Tern............................................ U U U Forster’s Tern............................................. C C C Royal Tern................................................... C C C Sandwich Tern............................................ C C U Black Skimmer........................................... C C C Pomarine Jaeger........................................ R R R Parasitic Jaeger.......................................... R R Long-tailed Jaeger...................................... X Rock Pigeon................................................ C C C Eurasian Collared-Dove............................ U U U White-winged Dove................................... F F F Mourning Dove.......................................... C C C Inca Dove.................................................... F F F Common Ground-Dove............................. R Black-billed Cuckoo................................... U U Yellow-billed Cuckoo................................. C R C Groove-billed Ani....................................... R U Barn Owl..................................................... U U U Flammulated Owl....................................... Great Horned Owl..................................... Burrowing Owl........................................... Long-eared Owl.......................................... X Short-eared Owl......................................... Lesser Nighthawk...................................... R R 9 W U C C C R C R R C U U C F R R U X R R I   Sp ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ S F Common Nighthawk................................. C C C Common Pauraque.................................... X Common Poorwill..................................... X Chuck-will’s-widow.................................... F \R F Whip-poor-will........................................... R R Chimney Swift............................................ C U C Green Violetear.......................................... X Buff-bellied Hummingbird....................... R R R Ruby-throated Hummingbird................... C F C Black-chinned Hummingbird................... R R R Anna’s Hummingbird................................ Broad-tailed Hummingbird...................... R Rufous Hummingbird................................ R R Allen’s Hummingbird................................ Belted Kingfisher....................................... F F Green Kingfisher........................................ X Red-headed Woodpecker.......................... X Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.......................... R Red-naped Sapsucker................................ X Ladder-backed Woodpecker..................... R Downy Woodpecker.................................. X Northern Flicker........................................ R Olive-sided Flycatcher............................... U U U Eastern Wood-Pewee................................. C \U F Yellow-bellied Flycatcher.......................... F \U F Acadian Flycatcher..................................... U U Alder Flycatcher......................................... F \U F Willow Flycatcher...................................... F \U F Least Flycatcher.......................................... C \U C Gray Flycatcher.......................................... X 10 W R R R X R X F X X R U   Sp ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ S F W Eastern Phoebe.......................................... F Vermilion Flycatcher................................. R Ash-throated Flycatcher............................ R Great Crested Flycatcher.......................... F \U Brown-crested Flycatcher......................... R Great Kiskadee........................................... U U Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher........................ X X Couch’s Kingbird....................................... U Western Kingbird....................................... U U Eastern Kingbird........................................ C \F Gray Kingbird............................................. X Scissor-tailed Flycatcher........................... C \R Loggerhead Shrike..................................... C U White-eyed Vireo....................................... F U Bell’s Vireo.................................................. R Yellow-throated Vireo............................... U Blue-headed Vireo..................................... U Warbling Vireo........................................... F Philadelphia Vireo..................................... U Red-eyed Vireo........................................... F Yellow-green Vireo.................................... X X Black-whiskered Vireo.............................. X Blue Jay....................................................... Horned Lark................................................ U U Purple Martin............................................. C C Tree Swallow.............................................. C Northern Rough-winged Swallow........... C \F Bank Swallow............................................. C U Cliff Swallow.............................................. C \F Cave Swallow.............................................. U \U F R R F R U C R 11 U U U C U X C U F R R U F U F R C U X U F C C C C U U U U R R   Sp ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ F W Barn Swallow............................................. C C C Black-crested Titmouse............................. R R Red-breasted Nuthatch.............................. Brown Creeper........................................... X Bewick’s Wren............................................ X R House Wren................................................ F F Winter Wren............................................... Sedge Wren................................................. C C Marsh Wren................................................ F R F Golden-crowned Kinglet........................... R Ruby-crowned Kinglet............................... U U Blue-gray Gnatcatcher............................... C R C Eastern Bluebird........................................ R Mountain Bluebird.................................... Veery............................................................ F F Gray-cheeked Thrush................................ U U Swainson’s Thrush.................................... C R C Hermit Thrush........................................... U U Wood Thrush.............................................. F F Clay-colored Thrush.................................. American Robin......................................... U U Aztec Thrush............................................... X Gray Catbird............................................... C C Northern Mockingbird.............................. C C C Sage Thrasher............................................. Brown Thrasher......................................... U U European Starling...................................... C C C American Pipit............................................ U U Sprague’s Pipit............................................ Cedar Waxwing.......................................... I I R 12 S X F X C C C F R X F X F X U C X R C C R I   Sp ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ S F Blue-winged Warbler................................. F U Golden-winged Warbler............................ R R Tennessee Warbler.................................... C C Orange-crowned Warbler.......................... U U Nashville Warbler...................................... F F Northern Parula......................................... F \U U Tropical Parula........................................... X Yellow Warbler........................................... C \C C Chestnut-sided Warbler............................ F F Magnolia Warbler...................................... F F Cape May Warbler..................................... R R Black-throated Blue Warbler................... R Yellow-rumped Warbler............................ C C Black-throated Gray Warbler................... X X Black-throated Green Warbler................. C C Townsend’s Warbler.................................. R Hermit Warbler.......................................... X Blackburnian Warbler............................... U U Yellow-throated Warbler........................... U U Pine Warbler............................................... X Prairie Warbler.......................................... R U Palm Warbler.............................................. R U Bay-breasted Warbler................................ F F Blackpoll Warbler...................................... F F Cerulean Warbler....................................... U R Black-and-white Warbler.......................... C R C American Redstart..................................... F F Prothonotary Warbler............................... U U Worm-eating Warbler................................ U U Swainson’s Warbler................................... R R 13 W C R R C R R X R U   Sp ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ F W Ovenbird...................................................... F F Northern Waterthrush.............................. F F Louisiana Waterthrush............................. F \U F Kentucky Warbler...................................... F F Mourning Warbler..................................... U \U F MacGillivray’s Warbler............................. R R Common Yellowthroat.............................. C C Hooded Warbler......................................... F F Wilson’s Warbler........................................ F \U C Canada Warbler......................................... F F Red-faced Warbler...................................... X Painted Redstart........................................ X X Golden-crowned Warbler.......................... X Yellow-breasted Chat................................. C C Summer Tanager........................................ F F Scarlet Tanager........................................... F F Western Tanager........................................ R R Spotted Towhee......................................... R Cassin’s Sparrow....................................... R American Tree Sparrow........................... Chipping Sparrow..................................... C C Clay-colored Sparrow................................ U U Field Sparrow............................................. U R Vesper Sparrow.......................................... U U Lark Sparrow.............................................. U U Black-throated Sparrow............................ X Lark Bunting............................................... Savannah Sparrow..................................... C C Grasshopper Sparrow............................... U U Le Conte’s Sparrow................................... U U R R 14 S C R R R X I R U U U R C U F   Sp ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ F W Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow................ U Seaside Sparrow........................................ R R R Fox Sparrow................................................ Song Sparrow............................................. Lincoln’s Sparrow...................................... C C Swamp Sparrow......................................... C F White-throated Sparrow........................... U U Harris’s Sparrow........................................ White-crowned Sparrow........................... R R Dark-eyed Junco......................................... R Northern Cardinal..................................... F F F Pyrrhuloxia................................................. Rose-breasted Grosbeak........................... F F Black-headed Grosbeak............................ R R Blue Grosbeak............................................ C C Lazuli Bunting............................................ X Indigo Bunting........................................... C C Varied Bunting........................................... R Painted Bunting......................................... F F F Dickcissel..................................................... C C Bobolink...................................................... R R Red-winged Blackbird............................... C C C Eastern Meadowlark.................................. C C C Western Meadowlark................................ R Yellow-headed Blackbird.......................... U U Brewer’s Blackbird.................................... R Great-tailed Grackle.................................. C C C Bronzed Cowbird....................................... R Brown-headed Cowbird............................ C U U Orchard Oriole........................................... C \F C Hooded Oriole............................................ R U R X U C C U X U R F I 15 S U C C R R C R C   Sp ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ S F W Bullock’s Oriole.......................................... U U Baltimore Oriole........................................ C \U C House Finch................................................ X Pine Siskin.................................................. Lesser Goldfinch........................................ R American Goldfinch.................................. U House Sparrow........................................... C C C R I R U C Pelagic Birds: Although certain species of pelagic birds may be fairly common in the western Gulf of Mexico, they are rarely encountered in the Mustang Island State Park vicinity. During and after storms, these birds are occasionally seen, some

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