Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Swainson's, Mississippi Kite, Connecticut Warbler, Sapsuckers, White-throats. . .

[Bob Fogg took these amazing photographs (two images are superimposed here) of a flyby Connecticut Warbler at the Higbee Dike Tuesday morning. Connecticuts have the pointed wings of a long-distance migrant. They breed largely across Canada and winter as far south as any of our warblers. Its secretive habits make its exact winter range difficult to know for certain, but it is thought that most winter in the Amazonian region of South America. In the bottom photo, the bird is in a close-winged glide, which warblers engage in often but not with the regular pattern of, for example, finches or woodpeckers.]

Tuesday featured good flights of both songbirds and raptors. 2664 birds were counted at Higbee during morning flight, with Palm being the dominant warbler, though Yellow-rumped Warbler numbers are creeping up. Other signs of the passing season include the two dozen Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, close to 600 Northern Flickers (which meant plenty of flicker shrieks in the woods as accipiters pursued them, usually to no avail), both kinglets, and my first White-throated Sparrow of fall. There were still some fancy warblers passing, for example the one pictured above!

CMBO's Higbee Beach walk Tuesday showed that the site is about more than warblers - 10 raptor species were found, including the Mississippi Kite. The list from that walk, provided by Chuck and MJ Slugg, is below. Higbee birders should be warned that the mosquitoes continue to be a significant presence, so long-sleeves, long pants, and perhaps repellent are recommended.

Mike and Megan Crewe told us about an Orange-crowned Warbler near the Higbee parking lot yesterday.

At the hawk watch , Peregrine Falcon migration is in full swing, with 143 recorded by swing counter Dan Berard yesterday. It was a pretty high flight yesterday, typical of light winds with many raptors in view on most scans, but often in high, mixed kettles. As always, some birds passed right over the platform, or even passed the below the level of the top rail, as did one crowd-pleasing Cooper's Hawk that buzzed that House Sparrow flock. Dan also identified the second Swainson's Hawk so far this fall.

Finally, Mathew Hunt sent me a photograph of a Lark Sparrow taken at the state park on Monday.

Location: Higbee Beach
Observation date: 9/30/08
Notes: We started with Northern Flickers everwhaere and ended with Eastern Phoebes following us along the trail. A nice variety of raptors, including a Mississippi Kite, was icing on the cake.
Number of species: 47
Mallard 1
Double-crested Cormorant 3
Osprey 12
Mississippi Kite 1
Bald Eagle 1
Northern Harrier 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 20
Cooper's Hawk 5
Broad-winged Hawk 1
American Kestrel 1
Merlin 1
Peregrine Falcon 3
Laughing Gull 3
Great Black-backed Gull 2
Rock Pigeon 5
Mourning Dove 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker 6
Downy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 50
Eastern Wood-Pewee 3
Eastern Phoebe 20
White-eyed Vireo 2
Red-eyed Vireo 1
Blue Jay 50
American Crow 10
Tree Swallow 10
Carolina Chickadee 5
Tufted Titmouse 2
Carolina Wren 12
Golden-crowned Kinglet 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2
American Robin 10
Gray Catbird 10
Brown Thrasher 12
European Starling 25
Northern Parula 9
Black-throated Blue Warbler 6
Prairie Warbler 1
Palm Warbler 4
Black-and-white Warbler 1
American Redstart 4
Common Yellowthroat 6
Chipping Sparrow 1
White-throated Sparrow 3
Northern Cardinal 3
Red-winged Blackbird 30
Baltimore Oriole 1

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