Monday, September 3, 2012

All is Well

All is well on our home front.  Isaac turned out to be pretty much a non-event here at our house, thanks to its westward track, but certainly was a major event in other places. 

The shuttered house got to me after a while and my dear hubby agreed to take a few panels off so that light could come in and I could see out.  Of course, by that time, we knew that our weather wouldn't be bad and that it would be safe to do so.  

My sincere thoughts and prayers go out to all those folks affected by this storm. 

One of the good things to come from this storm, at least from a birder's perspective, was a collection of southbound migrants along the coast.  They reach the coast and due to the inclement weather over the gulf they can't continue their trip.  Therefore, they are gathered in our area.  Birdlady and I met up with Mz. B and let our noses lead us.  On the way to the meeting point, Birdlady saw frigate birds, so those were our first targets.  Now, I'd never seen frigate birds before, so I was excited at the prospect. 
Magnificent Frigate bird 
These are normally seen only around the Florida Keys and do not venture to the Gulf Coast except when blown up here by storms, such as Isaac. 

We saw more and more of them all along the sound.  When we went to some friends' house to check out the birds in their yard, Mr. D.  quickly herded us to the pier to look at the large number of birds roosting in the trees just down the way.  There must have been 50 or 75 of them in the trees.  And all along the coast, more were soaring on the currents.   All total, I bet we saw at least 150 frigate birds that day and reports from Dauphin Island show they were over there as well.

Now, after that excitement, we trooped inside Mr. & Mrs. D's home to take a look through their front windows.  My, what a sight to behold.  Their naturalized yard and water feature pond were being thronged by warblers of all kinds!!   I've never seen so many different little birds in one place, and I didn't even have to trek around to find them!!  We sat or stood in air conditioned comfort.  There were warblers of all kinds -- Kentucky, Worm eating, Hooded, Yellow Throated, Prothonotary, Yellow, Canada, Cerulean, Black and White, Parulas, American Redstart and Blue-winged.  There probably were more that I didn't see.  The Canada Warbler was a rarity, and I had never seen it or the Kentucky warbler.  The bright colors were magnificent as they fed, splashed and bathed in the water.  Of course, we had the usual yard birds -- cardinals, chickadees, titmice, woodpeckers of various sorts, doves, wrens, brown thrasher and pewees.  We also had blue-gray gnatcatchers and one yellow billed cuckoo.  This was a real treat and we took our sweet time viewing them.

I have no pictures of all these lovelies.  My camera just won't reach far enough to do them justice, particularly shooting through the windows. 

After we left there, we headed over toward the shore to see what kinds of birds were there.  We didn't even get to our first stop when Birdlady and Mz. B. spotted a struggling bird right on the edge of the road.  The vehicle was quickly turned around and they both jumped out to rescue the bird before it was hit by a car.  Getting soaking wet from a sudden downpour, they scooped up the bird in a towel and got back in.  Birdlady held the poor bird in her lap as we headed back to Mr. & Mrs. D's to get a box to transport it to the wildlife sanctuary.  Turns out that the bird was a Greater Shearwater, a pelagic species, a bird not seen near land except when blown there by the storms or for nesting.  The poor bird was checked out and found to only be exhausted from a three day battle with the wind and no time to feed.  He's in good hands and will be released as soon as he's had a chance to recover and may, in fact, already be gone.  

Mr. & Mrs. D. went over to the beach immediately after we left and found many of the pelagics there.   This is a very infrequent occurrence.  Birders look for these unusual events to bring visitors to the area.  

I'll leave you with a prothonotary warbler that I photographed a couple of years ago in Louisiana. 
Prothonotary Warbler
Y'all take care. 


  1. Glad to hear you guys made it through without any problems!

  2. I hadn't thought about the effects on migrating birds until I read your post. How wonderful that you got to see so many. I'm glad Isaac kind of left you alone. I have some American friends on Facebook who were worried about same and I was watching with interest. Glad you are all ok xx

  3. Birds and animals are the unreported casualties of storms and freak weather. Glad this one had had a happy ending for you all, some great birding opportunities :{

  4. the frigatebirds are neat, but that warbler has major 'wow' factor! :)

  5. I took photos of a flock of frigate birds in Anna Maria last month ... at the time I didn't know what they were, I had forgotten what the boat captain called them. And then, here I am and now I know their name!!! There must have been two dozen or more on a little island in the bay. They were so cool with their red puffed up throats!

  6. So glad to hear all is well! Our Issac "scare" was a non-event, too. We've had two thunderstorms since then that were a lot worse. I'm so thankful it didn't get as bad as they predicted--for us anyway!
    Have a great week!