Wings In Flight

Yellow-legged Gull / Mangrove warbler Chase ~ Feb 7th 2004.

A Yellow-legged Gull had shown up at the Elliott (Greenwood) Landfill just outside of Corpus Christi, TX, so of course a chase was in order. A friend and I left around midnight on Friday to arrive at around 7:30am Saturday morning. We drove into the landfill area and after having signed in and collected our very fashionable bright orange vests we made our way toward the landfill area and waited for the gulls to arrive. There were no gulls for about 20 min and then they started to come in and congregate at the bottom of the landfill on a newly flattened area. We drove closer to where the gulls were and after about 5-10 min found what we were looking for. The gull flushed along with the other gulls a couple of times but after sifting through many first year Herring Gulls with their dull brown plumage overall, we again found our gull with its much paler chest and short fat black bill. We had good looks at the bird standing and sitting although I was unable to get photos with my tiny scope.

After we had our good looks we moved on & while we were down on the coast there was another bird we wanted to try and get - the "Mangrove" Warbler, a subspecies of the Yellow Warbler. Someday this bird may be split but for now is still just a subspecies. So, we drove the 3 hours from Corpus to South Padre Island and arrived there at noon.
We were unable to get out to see the bird that afternoon so birded the local areas and the next morning got on the boat belonging to Fins to Feathers owned by George & Scarlet Colley who have been taking people out to see the bird. We left at 8 am and on arriving at the small mangrove island which the bird had staked out we started to scan the area. Not 5 min after we arrived we located the bird feeding inside a bucket on the ground. He hopped in and out, up onto the bushes and then once again hopped down to the ground where we had good views of his developing chestnut head! We had the bird! After this he disappeared & was not seen again. We got lucky!


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