RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The spectacular flow of colorful migrating songbirds along the lower Texas coast is ebbing.
A trickle of bright orange Baltimore orioles and vibrant Rose-breasted grosbeaks continue flickering thru, but the vast throngs of a week or two ago have sailed far ashore on their northward sojourn.
Southernmost coastal Texas is the most important migratory corridor in North America with literally hundreds of millions of birds funneling thru the area in spring and fall.
The spring migration is more direct, and many birds will fly straight across the Gulf of Mexico, a distance of some 500 miles, in a rush to establish prime breeding territories ahead of their feathered competition.
The spring passage thru the Rio Grande Valley is often of short duration, as birds are pausing only to rest and refuel before winging it northward.
The remnant-wooded lots on South Padre Island and coastal refuges are prime attractions for these intrepid trans-Gulf migrants.
This handsome Eastern kingbird lingers briefly amongst coastal mangroves before alighting on an elbow bush to snatch a few ripe berries, while a Red-eyed vireo rests nearby.
A diminutive Veery perches momentarily on its flight from Brazil before resuming its journey to breeding grounds in Canada.
The female Ruby-throated hummingbird has found a yucca flower to pierce, while a female Oriole clings to the plant while probing blooms.
After snacking on a variety of berries, it is time for a long satisfying drink, and this male Rose-breasted grosbeak seems in no hurry to depart the cooling water.
Next up, a pair of Baltimore orioles enthusiastically bathe, washing the salt spray from their wings before taking off for northern breeding grounds.
Memories of spring migration will linger long after birds have flown, and thoughts will turn to the coming fall flights as the cycle of nature flows on.