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Fall Migration Count, 18 September 1999

In future years, we will probably come to look upon the results of this year's fall migration count as average, with 12,676 individuals of 161 species tallied. We thank the 20 participants for their efforts.
 Of course, the factor that probably needs most consideration in any analysis of this year's count is the drought. The very dry conditions certainly affected the birds in many ways. One phenomenon, more clearly seen when all September's sightings are considered, was the appearance early of many species, from warblers to thrushes. The water levels in Cattail Marsh, never predictable over anything but the shortest time interval, were apparently not conducive to large concentrations of shorebirds. The true birds of the shore -- the gulls, terns, plovers and the like, were present in reasonably good numbers and variety.
 The number of American White Pelicans seen was up, while the number of Brown Pelicans was down. These are, however, gregarious species, and easily capable of flying quite long distances, so it is perhaps a matter of chance as to how many are seen. The number of Neotropic Cormorants continued an upward trend of the past three years, while Double-crested Cormorants, which need fairly deep water, were not present in Cattail Marsh. Fewer Snowy Egrets were found than ever before, but perhaps they were concentrated around rice field ponds that were not accessible. The number of Reddish Egrets was down, but Jefferson County is on the extreme eastern edge of the disjunct segment of the range of this species which is in Texas. he numbers in the past three years may well prove to be abnormally high in the longer term scheme of things. The number of Cattle Egrets was certainly anything but low, although Green Herons and Ibis were both very low, unless, again, they were concentrated near water than was not accessible. Amazingly enough Wood Storks, usually considered a rare species in Jefferson County, were seen for the third time in four years, and by two widely separated parties at that. However, there were no Ruddy Ducks and no American Coots!
 A largish (for the area) kettle of Broad-winged Hawks was included in the nicely varied raptor count. Among the shorebirds, Wilson's Plover, Marbled Godwit and White-rumped Sandpiper were all added to the all time list. Herring Gull was "missed", but Eurasian Collared-Doves were seen both along Highway 87 west of Sabine Pass, and in the Fannett area, where they are clearly becoming established.
 Among the flycatchers, a slightly late Olive-side Flycatcher, and an Acadian Flycatcher were both new species for the count. On the other hand, no Cliff Swallows were noted. Swainson's Thrush is "very rare" in the area during the third week on September, although we have seen the species in three out of the last four years. A Wood Thrush, possibly a summer resident rather than a migrant, was seen in the northwest corner of the county, and was another addition to the species list. 
 A good selection of warblers was seen. An Orange-crowned in Beaumont was early, while Nashville (unusually numerous this year), Magnolia (a little early) and Bay-breasted were additions to the count list. We have been extremely favored by Mourning Warblers over the years of the count, disguising the fact that this species was much, much easier to see this fall. This year they were in Sabine Woods. In previous years they have tended to be way from the immediate coast.
Participants: Andrea Billingsley, Althea Bythewood, Bob Collier, Bessie Cornelius, Nancy and Don Fisher, Keith Hansen, Winette and Brad Hogue, Margo Holst, Rose Ann and Harrison Jordan, Linda Lang, Steve Mayes, Leon Purkey, Ken and Eric Sztraky, John Whittle, and Mary Alyce Wright, plus at least one other participant whose name is not known to the compiler.
GREBE, Pied-billed (41); PELICAN, American White (138); PELICAN, Brown (4); CORMORANT, Neotropic (108); CORMORANT, Double-crested (11); ANHINGA (22); HERON, Great Blue (37); EGRET, Great (258); EGRET, Snowy (107); HERON, Little Blue (19); HERON, Tricolored (14); EGRET, Reddish (1); EGRET, Cattle (2543); HERON, Green (6); NIGHT-HERON, Black-crowned (6); NIGHT-HERON, Yellow-crowned (4); IBIS, White (106); IBIS, White-faced (81); IBIS, Plegadis (29); SPOONBILL, Roseate (59); STORK, Wood (4); VULTURE, Black (18); VULTURE, Turkey (33); WHISTLING-DUCK, Black-bellied (15); WHISTLING-DUCK, Fulvous (15); DUCK, Wood (1); DUCK, Mottled (31); TEAL, Blue-winged (578); SHOVELER, Northern (40); TEAL, Green-winged (2); OSPREY (2); KITE, White-tailed (1); HARRIER, Northern (5); HAWK, Sharp-shinned (1); HAWK, Cooper's (2); HAWK, Red-shouldered (11); HAWK, Broad-winged (201); HAWK, Swainson's (1); HAWK, Red-tailed (2); KESTREL, American (11); MERLIN (2); FALCON, Peregrine (1); RAIL, Clapper (4); SORA (1); MOORHEN, Common (19); PLOVER, Black-bellied (31); PLOVER, Snowy (11); PLOVER, Wilson's (2); PLOVER, Semipalmated (1); PLOVER, Piping (3); KILLDEER (195); STILT, Black-necked (162); AVOCET, American (74); YELLOWLEGS, Greater (2); YELLOWLEGS, Lesser (8); WILLET (57); SANDPIPER, Spotted (10); CURLEW, Long-billed (3); GODWIT, Marbled (2); TURNSTONE, Ruddy (14); SANDERLING (62); SANDPIPER, Western (8); SANDPIPER, Least (6); SANDPIPER, White-rumped (3); SANDPIPER, Pectoral (100); DOWITCHER, Short-billed (1); DOWITCHER, Long-billed (102); DOWITCHER, Species (57); GULL, Laughing (348); GULL, Ring-billed (3); GULL, Species (4); TERN, Gull-billed (6); TERN, Caspian (44); TERN, Royal (93); TERN, Sandwich (1); TERN, Common (1); TERN, Forster's (121); TERN, Least (2); TERN, Black (32); SKIMMER, Black (221); DOVE, Rock (36); COLLARED-DOVE, Eurasian (2); DOVE, Mourning (280); DOVE, Inca (7); CUCKOO, Yellow-billed (5); OWL, Barn (5); OWL, Great Horned (1); OWL, Barred (3); NIGHTHAWK, Common (1); CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW (1); SWIFT, Chimney (59); HUMMINGBIRD, Ruby-throated (131); KINGFISHER, Belted (13); WOODPECKER, Red-headed (7); WOODPECKER, Red-bellied (33); WOODPECKER, Downy (16); FLICKER, Northern (6); WOODPECKER, Pileated (6); FLYCATCHER, Olive-sided (1); WOOD-PEWEE, Eastern (2); FLYCATCHER, Yellow-bellied (2); FLYCATCHER, Acadian (2); FLYCATCHER, "Traill's" (3); FLYCATCHER, Least (6); FLYCATCHER, Empidonax (6); PHOEBE, Eastern (1); FLYCATCHER, Great Crested (16); KINGBIRD, Eastern (39); FLYCATCHER, Scissor-tailed (36); SHRIKE, Loggerhead (87); VIREO, White-eyed (27); VIREO, Red-eyed (3); JAY, Blue (178); CROW, American (65); CROW, Fish (29); SWALLOW, Tree (765); SWALLOW, N. Rough-winged (23); SWALLOW, Bank (10); SWALLOW, Barn (196); CHICKADEE, Carolina (88); TITMOUSE, Tufted (36); WREN, Carolina (25); GNATCATCHER, Blue-gray (38); THRUSH, Swainson's (1); THRUSH, Wood (1); ROBIN, American (53); CATBIRD, Gray (1); MOCKINGBIRD, Northern (189); THRASHER, Brown (2); STARLING, European (494); WARBLER, Blue-winged (1); WARBLER, Tennessee (1); WARBLER, Orange-crowned (1); WARBLER, Nashville (5); PARULA, Northern (2); WARBLER, Yellow (7); WARBLER, Magnolia (2); WARBLER, Yellow-throated (1); WARBLER, Pine (16); WARBLER, Bay-breasted (1); WARBLER, Black-and-white (6); REDSTART, American (3); OVENBIRD (2); WATERTHRUSH, Northern (2); WARBLER, Mourning (3); YELLOWTHROAT, Common (18); WARBLER, Hooded (1); WARBLER, Wilson's (1); CHAT, Yellow-breasted (5); TANAGER, Summer (7); CARDINAL, Northern (202); BUNTING, Indigo (6); BUNTING, Painted (4); BLACKBIRD, Red-winged (315); MEADOWLARK, Eastern (1); GRACKLE, Common (1509); GRACKLE, Boat-tailed (128); GRACKLE, Great-tailed (549); COWBIRD, Brown-headed (331); ORIOLE, Orchard (6); ORIOLE, Baltimore (20); FINCH, House (11); SPARROW, House (128); TOTAL (12676); Number of species (161); Cumulative total species (202); Number of Observers (20); Number of Parties (13); Number of Party-Hours (79.87).

John A. Whittle, Compiler

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