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Stop 3 - Alabama Coast : DAUPHIN ISLAND

The following page is devoted to my roadtrip photos of birds I found on Dauphin Island, Alabama. Clearly, I did not photograph every kind of bird that can be found on Dauphin Island, but I have provided a selection of some of my favorite photos of the birds I did happen to see as I passed through.

Birds I saw on Dauphin Island, Alabama

May 1-4, 2008

My travels next took me east along the Gulf of Mexico to Dauphin Island, Alabama. Like the Upper Gulf Coast of Texas, Dauphin Island is a well-known birding hotspot during spring migration, especially after a late-season cold front entering the Gulf of Mexico. Migrants that departed the previous evening from the Yucatan Peninsula or other sites in southern Mexico, Belize, Cuba, and possibly even points farther south on a tailwind may encounter heavy rain and a wind shift to the north or northwest as they near and cross the cold front. A journey that normally might be some 500 miles and take some 15 hours to complete has now become a battle for life, and birds will look for the first patch of trees or brush along the immediate coast.

When I arrived on Dauphin Island, the sunny weather made for favorable flying conditions, and as a result the songbirds stopped only briefly to refuel when they passed over Dauphin Island in the early afternoon (afternoon is the best time to find birds on this island due to its position along the migration flyway). So after finding empty trees at the popular Shell Mounds and the Audubon Sanctuary on the east end of the island, I went to look for some shorebirds on the west end of the island (where I was happy to find some American Oystercatchers, as at home I had only seen Black Oystercatchers). The next day was a bit more productive for songbirds, as a thundershower generated a population boom of Red-eyed Vireos, and a small (but noticeable) increase in warblers, tanagers, hummingbirds, and grosbeaks.

All in all, my visit to Dauphin Island was a success, as I added several more birds to my growing road trip list: Black-billed Cuckoo, Bobolink, Common Loon, American Oystercatcher, Semipalmated Plover, Spotted Sandpiper, Bank Swallow, Great Crested Flycatcher, and Whimbrel. (However, by the end of my birding road trip, the only bird I had see on Dauphin Island that I had not seen anywhere else on my travels was the American Oystercatcher.)

After Dauphin Island, I continued my quest for the Painted Bunting. I had called around and discovered that the Painted Buntings had arrived at their nesting grounds in South Carolina in mid-April, so I jumped in my Subaru and made the 12 hour drive to the Huntington Beach State Park on the Atlantic Coast of South Carolina, visions of blue and red Painted Buntings dancing in my head.

BLACKBIRD:
    Red-winged
BOBOLINK
BUNTING:
    Indigo
CARDINAL:
    Northern
CATBIRD:
    Gray
CUCKOO:
    Black-billed
    Yellow-billed
DOVE:
    Eurasian Collared
    Mourning
DOWITCHER:
    Short-billed
FINCH:
    House
FLYCATCHER:
    Great Crested
EGRET:
    Cattle
    Reddish
    Snowy

GRACKLE:
    Common
GROSBEAK:
    Blue
    Rose-breasted
GULL:
    Laughing
HERON:
    Great Blue
    Green
    Tricolored
HUMMINGBIRD:
    Ruby-Throated
JAY:
    Blue
KINGBIRD:
    Eastern
KNOT:
    Red
LOON:
    Common
MALLARD
MOCKINGBIRD:
    Northern
OVENBIRD

OYSTERCATCHER:
    American
PELICAN:
    Brown
PLOVER:
    Black-bellied
    Semipalmated
REDSTART:
    American
SANDERLING
SANDPIPER:
    Spotted
SPARROW:
    Chipping
STARLING:
    European
SWALLOW:
    Bank
TANAGER:
    Scarlet
    Summer
TERN:
    Least
    Royal

THRUSH:
    Wood
TURNSTONE:
    Ruddy
VIREO:
    Philadelphia
    Red-Eyed
WARBLER:
    Bay-Breasted
    Black-and-White
    Kentucky
    Magnolia
    Prothonotary
    Yellow
WATERTHRUSH:
    Northern
WHIMBREL
WILLET
WOOD-PEWEE:
    Eastern
WOODPECKER:
    Red-Bellied
WREN:
    Carolina

(My favorite photos are highlighted.)


Red-winged Blackbird (male).

Red-winged Blackbird (female).

Bobolink.

Indigo Bunting (male).

Indigo Bunting (female).

Northern Cardinal.

Gray Catbird.

Black-billed Cuckoo.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo.

Eurasian Collared Dove.

Mourning Dove.

Short-billed Dowitcher.

Cattle Egret.

Reddish Egret (dark morph).

Snowy Egret.

House Finch.

Great Crested Flycatcher.

Feeding time for Common Grackle.

Blue Grosbeak (male).

Blue Grosbeak (female).

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (male).

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (female).

Laughing Gull.

Great Blue Heron.

Green Heron.

Tricolored Heron.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird.

Blue Jay.

Eastern Kingbird.

Red Knots.

Common Loon.

Mallard.

Northern Mockingbird ("I'm hungry mommy!").

Ovenbird.

American Oystercatcher.

Brown Pelican.

Black-bellied Plover.

Semipalmated Plover.

American Redstart (male).

Sanderling.

Spotted Sandpiper.

Chipping Sparrow.

European Starling.

Bank Swallow.

Scarlet Tanager (male).

Scarlet Tanager (female).

Summer Tanager (1st spring male).

Summer Tanager (female, Eastern).

Least Tern (small-sized tern).

Royal Tern.

Wood Thrush.

Ruddy Turnstone.

Philadelphia Vireo.

Red-Eyed Vireo.

Bay-Breasted Warbler (male).

Black-and-White Warbler.

bad photo of a Kentucky Warbler.

Magnolia Warbler.

Prothonotary Warbler.

Yellow Warbler.

Northern Waterthrush.

Whimbrel.

Willet.

Eastern Wood-Pewee.

Red-bellied Woodpecker.

Carolina Wren.

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