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Jim Highberger

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  1. Empids are migrating through Houston and Texas Gulf Coast areas currently. One was jumping among lower branches of trees near open area of a Houston city park - in the shade so was only able to get a brief look and three photos. Appearance was yellowish in the throat and belly areas, light eye ring. I am wondering if this is a Yellow-bellied or other type of empid? Suggestions and guidance would be appreciated. Thank you!
  2. I anyone has any ideas or suggestions on this I would appreciate it. Was not able to get any good photos of small bird behaving like sparrow or bunting in ditch with trees, tall grass, weeds, etc. It jumped onto low tree branch where photos were taken with partial side views and front views (attached). We are at a time of year here when birds are molting, juvenile and immature birds are present, and fall migration has begun so some specimens are not easily recognized. This bird's bill is somewhat conical, its coloration is pale and its back is brownish, and there is a pale stripe horizontally across its eye. It one view there appears to be hint of yellow in tail but that could be due to morning sunlight. According to eBird the only two common sparrows to this area are House and Lark sparrows. Again, any thoughts on this would be appreciated. Thank you!
  3. Attached are photos of oriole in tree above me taken 7-17-23 in rural Maverick County, Texas (deep south near Eagle Pass). I was unable to get side view which would have shown wings and possible wing bars. eBird suggests Orchard and Hooded are common. Based on size and that Hooded much more common I am leaning toward Hooded but felt I should consult the Whatbird experts before making final determination. Suggestions and opinions would be appreciated. Thank you!
  4. Thanks - those are good markers to keep on file for future reference! Thank you!
  5. Wings seem dark so I thought this was a Common Tern. But is bill may not be red enough so possibly Forster's Not the best pictures - hazy skies. Please see attached. Any guidance would be appreciated. Thank you!
  6. Thanks all for input! After reviewing online data and bird guides I see that this is llkely a juvenile European Starling. Thank you for help on this!
  7. Photo taken in municipal park in town about 60 miles west of Houston. I thought I had a Cuckoo when it landed in the tree - size, wing coloration (no wing bars), shape, etc. But when I see the photos there are stripes on breast and belly. Is this an immature bird of some specie - or a hybrid? Or am I missing something obvious? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
  8. Rio Grande Valley would probably have greater diversity this time of year (spring migration is over here along the Texas Gulf Coast). If you come in the spring (April or Early May) I would recommend Galveston County - the Bolivar Peninsula, High Island (featured in the movie "The Big Year"), Apfel Beach, Laffite's Cove, Galveston Island State Park, and many others. Note: High Island is a short drive (30 minutes) away from Anahuac NWR (Chambers County). Sorry about the late reply - just seeing this.
  9. Avery - oops - I accidentally attached an extra picture. Yes, that is an oriole, there was a female Orchard Oriole that I photographed immediately after the flycatcher / pe-wee. Thanks!
  10. As noted in my previous post there are a number of flycatchers migrating through Texas Gulf Coast area. On Galveston Island a number of empids were spotted at a lagoon area feeding on swarms of insects hatched recently following heavy rains. Attached photos led me to think this might be Acadian Flycatcher due to coloration, steep head slope, and fact that there were numerous other sightings of Acadians while I was there. Lower mandible color initially made me think Eastern Wood-Pewee but overall shape and wing length led me back to empid group. Anybody with ideas or tips would be appreciated! Thanks!
  11. Thought this might be an Alder Flycatcher but wing bars seem faint and throat / neck area not as pale as I would expect. Wings seem too short for Wood-Pewee and lower mandible not as orange as I would expect. Any tips or suggestions would be appreciated. Note: I am posting another new topic shortly about another flycatcher id request. A number of empids and other flycatchers moving through area currently and feeding on insects hatching due to recent rains. Thank you!
  12. Thank you! This is a specimen I have seen only a few times in my "birding career".
  13. Shot photos of what I assumed was a Vireo. Upon review of pics the cap / crown is gray, no defined eyebrow (as with Red-eyed) and more facial definition and color that I would expect with Warbling. I wanted to check with the experts before posting - is the bird in photos a Philadelphia Vireo or am I missing something? Thank you!
  14. Please help identify this wading bird in shallow water pools near the Gulf Coast in Jefferson County, Texas (near TX / LA border). It is shaped like a dowitcher but is gray (finely patterned gray, black and white), very plain, no eyebrow, and medium length straight thin bill (thinner than what I would expect on dowitcher). Any help with the non-descript wader would be appreciated. Thank you!
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